3.19.2012

The storm


It had been a lovely Sunday afternoon. We were laying next to each other on our bed, listening to the sounds of The Big Bang Theory and the gentle tap of the blinds on the open window. The sun had hidden behind a grey cloud, and the breeze was starting to carry a slight chill. We didn't think much of it since we've had some small spring storms over the past week.

We put the laptop up and walked downstairs to do some cleaning and laundry. I was looking for the George Foreman grill so we could grill turkey burgers, and James said he was going to run a quick errand. The lightning and thunder were starting to pick up. I was a little nervous about James leaving, but I figured it was a small pop up cell that would quickly pass.

James closed the door behind him, and as I stepped upstairs to grab the laundry, the tornado siren went off. Blaring. We've been through some scary storms and some tornado watches, but the siren has never once gone off. I opened the front door and ran down the flight of stairs. The wind was strong, the sky green, and the clouds were churning and rotating above me and toward the west. I yelled for James, and he ran back inside. I knew it in my gut. There was going to be a tornado. The weather app on my phone confirmed it. Tornado warning. I ran through the apartment, franticly closing windows. We live in a three story building, and our townhouse is on the second and third floors with no truly safe room to hide in. I threw winter coats and a pilates mat off the floor of a small closet in the hallway upstairs.

I grabbed our squirmy, meowing cat and our laptops as I begged James to tear himself away from the news and join me in the closet. We crouched on the floor, hugged by James' drum set stacked in black canvas cases and swatted at the clothes hanging in our way. I tried to look up the weather on my iPad, but I was shaking and trembling so bad I couldn't make my fingers obey. The sound of the news downstairs started to fade as the wind whipped around the building, trying to drown out the battle cry of thunder.

I called my parents to let them know what was going on. They pulled the news up and confirmed our suspicions. The storm and tornado were both headed directly toward us. My shaking got worse, and I pet the cat in an effort to calm us both. The closet was hot and sticky and I felt like I could hardly breathe. My mom gave us constant updates on the weather as my dad told jokes in an effort to keep us calm. Just fifteen minutes ago we were relaxing, talking about dinner and dreading work in the morning. And here we were, huddled in a cramped closet, begging God to protect us. The tornado siren blared on. I got word that my former coworkers at Verizon were huddled in a stairwell several miles away.

About twenty to thirty minutes later, the first major storm cell had slowly passed, but the second cell was on its way. So far, so good. James peeked out the window, and  I craned my head out the closet door and could see the trees bending backwards, as if succumbing to the green sky. The rain was falling every which way and was so bad I could hardly see the tall grey building directly across from us. I could barely hear the TV downstairs confirm the ping pong ball sized hail. It was so loud outside I couldn't even discern the different sounds.

 My mom said a tornado touched down at the Ohio State airport, about a cornfield away from us. At this news, James ran back to the closet. The wind picked up again, along with my shaking. Another tornado touchdown, less than a mile to the east this time. Once the wind subsided, we knew we couldn't stand the humid closet another minute. We slowly creeped our way out as the storm continued east. I had never, ever in my life felt so relieved. The tornado(s) missed us by a hair. James wasn't quite as scared, as he experienced one destroy part of his house as a small child in North Carolina. For a girl who was raised in earthquake country, it was the most terrifying experience.

And somehow, I didn't seem to mind the laundry or the cleaning as much last night. Because I was less than a mile from not having any laundry to do, or a kitchen to clean. And this morning, the sun is a little more brilliant, the air a little crisper, and life altogether a little sweeter.


bits of splendor monday

10 comments:

  1. Praise the Lord you're alright! I grew-up & still live in the midwest and we have our fair share of tornado warnings every year. Thankfully there hasn't been a tornado that's touched down in my city since long before I was born. Doesn't mean that tornado warnings don't freak me out every time!

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  2. Oh my gosh!!! That is terrifying, I am so glad you guys are alright!!!!!

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  3. Only in the Midwest would we describe something as "a cornfield away." :)

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  4. I'm so glad you're alright! I heard about these storms, sounds like we live close to each other!

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  5. That sounds so scary! I'm in the same boat as you. I grew up in California but now live in Houston. Earthquakes and tornadoes are very different, I'm sure! I'm so glad you're all right. The bright side? You had a great story to tell -- very eloquently, might I add. :-)

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  6. That's terrifying! Last June, we had at 3+ tornadoes touch and and cause a lot of devastation in the Springfield, MA region. I live right in between Springfield and Westfield, where two of the tornadoes hit, and it was horrifying. When I heard (and watched) on the news that a tornado had just touched down in my hometown and that we needed to seek shelter immediately, it was one of the scariest moments of my life! Oh my goodness, I know completely how you feel. It's like your heart has made permanent residence in your throat!

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  7. Gosh, I know those tornado moments well!

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  8. That is really scary! So glad y'all were okay, hopefully tornado season treats you well this year and stays far away from your home.

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  10. wow, I'm not sure how I missed this post. But I am SO SO sorry you had to experience this. I am very glad you got through safe!

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