Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Night of the Twisters

It's taken me a while to sit down and write this. Saturday was such a scary night.

I should begin by saying that I have a weakness for those crazy made for tv disaster movies that the SyFy network likes to show. They always seem so outlandish. Saturday night felt like one of those movies. All day we had been hearing about the storms hitting central NC. The weather men kept telling us the rain would start at 2 and then 5, but still nothing. I kept looking at the radar to see when it would hit because I had a moms' night in with one of my playgroups that night that I didn't want to miss. At around 7, it still had not begun to rain and it looked kind of like the storms would go around us, so off I went.

As soon as I got to my friend's house, about 3 miles away, it started raining. Then it started raining harder. Then it really started storming. It was windy and lightning was popping everywhere. We couldn't even see their neighbor's house, that's how hard it was raining. About this time the electricity went out. At 8:20, in the midst of the storm, my phone rang. It was Rob. The electricity was out at the house too and he needed to find the candles. I was kind of upset, because Asher should have already been in bed, but they were just cleaning up downstairs. This turned out to be a good thing.

The storm finally died down around 9 or so. At this point it was pretty warm in the house with the power out, so we went outside on the deck and watched the lightning storm that had moved off shore. We kept hearing police sirens, but we didn't really think anything of it. People's phones started ringing with husbands calling to check on us. Then they start relaying the fact that a tornado had hit the base and destroyed some houses. Then someone else calls to tell us that it had also hit on Piney Green Rd. The road I live off of and the road my friend lives off of. All of us are in disbelief. There couldn't have been a tornado. Surely we would have heard it! Everyone has a smart phone or so it seems, so practically everyone is checking Facebook to get updates and sure enough, the calls are true.

By now people start to head home since the weather has cleared and the power is still out. A few people have to head to base to pick up their kids at the Saturday night daycare. A few of us stay to chit chat. The people headed to base start calling us. Houses have been completely destroyed. Trees are sheared off at the top and all less than a mile away from where we were and less than a mile away from where my house, where Rob and Asher were. I kept checking Facebook to make sure tha people I knew were ok and then I hear that road I have to turn down to get to my neighborhood is closed. I finally leave around 11 and luckily that road is open now, but where you turn there are probably 10 cop cars and fire trucks all with their lights on. I can see that the canopy at the gas station is twisted from the wind, but the darkness makes it hard to see anything else.

Turning into our neighborhood you can see limbs, pieces of wood, and other small debris, but the drive in is long and by the time you get to the actual houses, it looks like it never even rained. It was like there was a bubble put around our neighborhood. Everyone is safe and the power finally came back on around 5:15 am. The next morning was the first time actually seeing the damage and I cannot tell you how devastating it is. It makes me sick to my stomach to even think about it now. The tornado was so close to us. The funnel cloud barely missed us. The thought that something could have happened to my family and I wouldn't have been there makes me distraught even now. Luckily no one was killed, but it really hit home even more so when I heard about the 23 month old boy who sustained major injuries after a wall fell on top of his crib. He had to be air lifted to a hospital about 2 hours away. We were so lucky, it's unbelievable. It's hard to even describe the mix of emotions I feel now. I do know one thing. As soon as I get a chance I am buying a weather radio so I will never be unaware of what's going on so close to me again.

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