Friday, April 13, 2007

Whew...That Was Close

Well, we've just had an interesting night. The weather forecasters have been talking all day about the imminent threat of severe thunderstorms and tornadoes. Living at the bottom end of tornado alley, you probably think it's no big deal, right? WRONG! While we're no strangers to severe weather, I honestly cannot remember a time when forecasters spent so much time talking about the tornadoes that WILL touch down. To say that this induces a type of panic that is difficult to describe is ... well, difficult to describe. The storms were supposed to reach us mid-afternoon. However, those storms took their sweet time getting here.

I called Derek as I was leaving work to be sure he knew the plan for evacuation--he's at Texas Motor Speedway for the weekend NASCAR races. Wouldn't you know he hadn't a clue what the TMS severe weather plan was. And he was in the RV rather than at the track. I had heard TMS was planning what to do with the 300,000+ people camping on the grounds. But apparently, they weren't good a disseminating the information to the people who needed it most. Anyway, I told Derek to get to the track before the weather got to him b/c the publicized plan was to evacuate fans to the grandstands restrooms and pit garages. So nearly two hours later, as the tornado warning is issued for TMS and the surrounding area, I call Derek to see that he's left the RV for shelter. NOPE! Great, we've got a confirmed tornado on the ground & you're a sitting duck in a tin can. Long story short, he calls about thirty minutes later and says he's made it to the safe zone and the storm had passed, leaving them with nothing but rain and wind.

Meanwhile, I'm at home glued to the coverage of the approaching storm, barreling its way to Dallas at about 30 mph. Best I could tell, the worst part of the storm--that with the wall cloud and confirmed rotation that spawned a tornado in Haltom City--was headed straight for Rowlett. And sure enough, it was. As the storm approached, the sky got green and the already whipping winds picked up in intensity. As I'm gathering cats into crates to put them in the hall bath, the tornado sirens begin sounding. According to radar, the storm isn't overhead yet so I go outside to watch as it comes in, hoping to get a good look at the wall cloud. All I could see was driving rain and hail. The sirens go off a second time. Derek calls to see if I'm in the bathroom yet. Nope, I'm watching the storm. As I'm standing on the front porch, I notice a change in the wind. It begins whipping the trees in circles. The sirens go off a third time, and Dori and I now head for the hall bath. Here we are, all five of us in the smallest room in the house. Dori's happy I have treats. The cats are pissed off b/c they're in the carriers and have been for 30 min. So they're screaming at the top of their lungs--"Let me out, you foul woman!" The lights are blinking. The wind is roaring. The rain is pouring. And the hail is still coming down. It sounds awful. Then it's quiet. The sirens go off a fourth time. Everything starts up again--wind, rain, hail. Altogether, we were in the bathroom about 30 min or so. After talking to Derek, I knew the worst of the storm had passed and that we were likely in the clear. And really, as quickly as conditions had worsened, it was quiet.

I saw that the storm was close to my brother, so I tried to calling them to see if they were alright but all the circuits were busy. Then I remembered that David was working, so I called his work phone and got him. He was sitting in his car watching the storm. His wife was at home freaking out. I then called mom & Granny to let them know we were fine. As I was talking to them, I began inspecting for damage--none, at least by all appearances.

So ... now I have to find a way to settle down after all of that adrenaline went pumping. Now that it appears the same storm, still as intense as it was when it hit us, is on its way for my parents, that might be difficult.

1 comment:

maggie katzen said...

that sounds very similar to my evening. two cats in a crate in the bathtub and much hissing and growling.