Thursday, May 26, 2011

All OK in OK

I live in Oklahoma and in case you have not seen the news, about 6 different tornadoes touched down in Okla Tuesday. It was an anxious day.

I am happy to report that we are just fine! No damage to our home either.
Picture from by ulocal_mobile.

I will add that we were given a heads up about the possibility of a tornado outbreak the day before. So we knew it was possible. I made sure we all had shoes on at 4pm. I felt like I was racing against the clock to make dinner and clean up and get the kids to pee one last time before it was our turn to take cover. I hurriedly flipped pancakes (breakfast for dinner) with a tornado 45 min away. All fed. We did the paper plate thing so kitchen was cleaned up. Garbage out. Cloth diapers in the dryer. Kids had their lovies. This time we actually took our hard drives which containing all of our photos and put them in the shelter ahead of time. We were ready.

See, we are not from Oklahoma. But I knew when I saw Oklahomans getting ready and taking cover that this was no joke. In tornado seasons past, our neighbors stood outside and watched. Some took pictures. Some just joked it up and socialized. But they were usually contemplating the severity of the storm and debating the need to take cover. (We see them when we peek out of our shelter in our garage.)

Finally, the siren went off, we calmly exited the house and promptly shuttled our kids and the three kids next door underground.  Neighbors who have never before in the three years we have lived here, ever asked to use our shelter.  Ten of us nearly filled our storm shelter.

We spent a good bit of time Tuesday evening in our storm shelter. Sitting. Perspiring. Listening. Waiting.

We have been sent to the shelter before, but never when an actual tornado was on the ground and headed right for us! In the past it has been because we were experiencing a storm that looked like it could become tornadic at any moment, meaning it was lowering and rotating but still not on the ground.

We sat with a weather radio tuned into our favorite TV station and listened to the meteorologist pinpoint the tornado's location in between the blaring sirens and the national weather service announcements. We, and our neighbors, sat in our shelter and waited as we heard the words that the tornado was headed our way. The intersections that were identified as next to get hit were those within a 1mi radius of where we sat. We got the hail. It got quiet and still. Then a sudden strong sweeping wind that made the basketball hoop lean, teeter, and pop back upright. Watched a few pieces of debris fly by. Lots of rain. We waited for the "freight train" but it never did come. Thank God!

When we got out of our shelter, there were a few random pieces of debris and leaves in our yard. But essentially nothing had happened.

I found these storm pictures (and the one above) that were taken one block from our house.  One block. They show the tornado starting to fall apart.
Picture from by yankee214.

Picture from by shawnteague.

Below:  Two pictures my 6-yr old son took yesterday on our way home from school.
This road is closed because all the telephone poles snapped and fell in the road.

And this is a big tree uprooted at a golf course, 3mi from our house.

In my opinion, we in OKC, had enough warning and time to prepare for the possibility of a tornado. Considering the size and strengths of the many tornadoes our state had, it is a miracle more people aren't dead. (Last time I saw, 8 people were confirmed dead.) But these tornadoes destroyed everything in their paths. They were incredibly strong and violent and far-reaching. One tracked on the ground for 70 miles! The number of survivors is truly a testament to our excellent warning systems and meteorologists we have.

What will be hard to see is Joplin, MO when we drive through that area next month.

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