Yesterday, there were reports that severe storms with tornadic potential were possible for our area. I left work just after lunch to get home and get the dogs inside. I did not want to get caught driving in hail, or have my pups outside in the weather. Within about 30 minutes of me getting home, the tornado sirens blew. I was watching the weather, and they reported "cyclonic activity" beginning in the Bridge Creek area, which is just west of us, heading my direction. Josh hadn't left work yet, and I texted the info to him. The storm predictor said it would hit Newcastle at 2:33pm, which was only minutes away.
I got everything ready I could, and got the dogs and myself packed into our closet. The sirens were very loud. The electric went off, and as I huddled in the dark with our 3 dogs, listening to the weather broadcast on my iPod, I tried to remain as calm as possible, while tears began to stream down my cheeks. They kept reporting the location of the swirling clouds, and it was directly over our house. They kept repeating that it would "definitely hit" a landmark just about a mile from our house, and how nasty the storm had become. They were reporting that it would be a deadly, destructive tornado, and to get out of its path. I was terrified, but kept calm. Griffin laid next to my leg and I stroked his soft fur, which soothed me. I was so scared that in Josh's race home, that he would run right into its path.
The air changed. Gracie began barking. I knew it was close. It happened a couple of years ago, and the stillness is indescribably eerie. And then the reports came that it was crossing the highway, and I knew we were out of danger. My in-laws, who live about 3.5 miles from us, came to check on me. My FIL took video from their front porch, and it touched down just across a tree line from their house.
The reports kept calling out streets where it was crossing, places that were being hit, leaving a path of rubble behind it. Josh couldn't get home. It had crossed the highway near a bridge into Newcastle, and they were diverting traffic. He ended up getting his truck stuck in muddy grass, then had to go on a 15 mile detour with traffic backed up. It took him nearly 4 hours to get home. Our electric was out for about 5 hours.
Even though we were still listening to the radio reports, nothing could prepare me for seeing the actual footage of the destruction. When we finally got satellite and internet back up, it hit me very hard. The same areas that were hit 14 years ago in the F5 May 3, 1999 tornado, were hit again. I had watched that tornado tear across the land from my parent's backyard, when it was about a mile from us.
My heart is broken for all those that lost everything, especially the families of the children caught in Plaza Towers Elementary School. As an Oklahoman, it is in our blood to pitch in anytime we are needed. We have seen our fair share of storms, wildfires and terrorism, and know how to band together and help each other. If anyone wants to help, please text "RedCross" to 90999. It will add $10 to your cell phone bill, and all money goes directly to helping victims with shelter and basic needs.
For those interested, there are a couple of videos on my FB page.
Thanks for stopping by today.