Monday, March 13, 2006

How Bad Was It?

Well, here's a recap, via the Springfield News-Leader.

Personally, we were lucky. It could have been much, much worse.
But this was the first time ever in my 20 years here that I was actually scared enough to wake the younguns and flee for the hideyhole. (A large closet, northeast side of the house, concrete cinder block on 2 sides.) We all fit and it was hot & stuffy-adding dogs to the mix didn't help, but they're 'family' too.

I had stayed up to watch the weather guys. They live for nights like this. The radar image of our area was like a close up of lava flows-there was that much bright orange and pink splattered about. Orange means bad You don't ever want to see pink. That's Def Con Armageddon. Massive hail and monster tornadoes live in the pink. And there was a gianormous blob of pink hovering over Branson on a direct path to us. The boys at the station called it a supercell, and they were getting very anxious about it. They said it was moving about 55 mph but it just seem to sit in the same spot for the longest time, barely creeping along...that's bad too, btw. I knew we were in for it.

All hell was breaking loose in Springfield and you could actually hear the wind and the hail beating down on the TV studio on the audio. The weather boys were getting nervous and rightly so. Their signal was getting all weird. The satellite dishes outside the station were getting all beat to hell. Tornado touch downs and sightings were coming in so fast they couldn't keep up. If it wasn't for the fact that me and my little brood was smack dab in the middle of all this, I'd say it was some of the most entertaining reality TV I'd seen in some time. But my attention was focused on that beast that was creeping along towards us and I was running the mental "Oh Crap!" checklist. I went to make sure that closet was ready for guests. Had to move one box out to make a space large enough for all us to squeeze in. Got a bigass flashlight and the kids shoes and a pair of mine and tossed them in there. Moved the important document firebox in there too. A few other checks and I was ready as I could get. Now, we wait.

Right at midnight the thing was barreling into Ozark Co. Our lights flashed for a moment, but remarkably stayed on. By about 12:10 the weather boys were giving coordinates and telling everyone who lived near Hiway 95, Wasola, Rockbridge, Squires and so on to find shelter NOW!
OK, ya don't have to tell me twice! I could hear the madness building outside, it had got much louder...the wind was really picking up, I could hear things getting thrown about outside. I woke the kids-It's Go time guys! Now! Let's go!
All six of us huddled up in the closest. Just in time. The hail began just as the last dog was hauled in. The noise was unbelieveable! I had never witnessed hail that bad...or that large. You literally had to shout to be heard. My girls began to cry and hug the dogs. I was just about there, myself. I was genuinely frightened for the first time in a long time but I had to keep it together. I told the girls to pray. Pray for protection.

The bombardment from the hail and wind seemed to last a long time, then it quieted. That was only briefly because in about 2 minutes it began again. Much louder than before.
"Mom!" my eldest shouted, "What about Jellybean?" Jellybean was our name for my car, The Big Green Jellybean. Due to circumstances beyond my control (and too long a story to get into here) I couldn't pull the car into the garage. The poor thing was out there, exposed and no doubt getting it's windshield smashed as we sat there. new car is toast, betcha.

The second round didn't last as long as the first. And much to my amazement and to the credit of the local electrical co-op, our power had stayed on the whole time. We had lost the satellite signal on the TV when it had begun and I had a battery radio in the closet with us, tuned to one of the stations that was carrying an audio feed of the tv channel we were watching. I didn't declare the all clear until the signal was back on the TV and we could hear the weather guys yammering away. We didn't have a tornado...but it was purty damn close to one. And I was sure that somewhere nearby somebody was having a far worse night than we were. The kids didn't want to come out, dogs sure did though! Once they did, the kids followed suit. They were shaking and scared. We all did the group hug-I held them close and kissed them all and tried to reassure them in the best Mom way that we were ok, that we had made it. I really didn't want to go outside, afraid of what I might see. But I did. Have to. There was yet another string of storms sweeping into the region and I had to see how our roof held and check the status of Jellybean.

One window on the back porch was broken from the hail-it's one of those double paned jobbers that are a mutha if they break. OK, that was the only window damage. Cool.
Went car was still there, intact! (Daylight showed a bunch of shallow dings here and there that are easily fixed-no biggy.) Thank ya Jee-zuz!
The house roof looked ok. Barn roof showed some pullage, but was'nt peeled back like I feared. The yard was a mess. Limbs and crap and hail bigger than chicken eggs piled up all over. (grade A, extra large) Whew! Like I said, it could have been much worse.

Took well over an hour to get the kids settled down enough to go back to bed-they slept in mine the rest of the night. I stayed up to keep an eye on the second wave of storms. By 3:30 or so it looked like they weren't going to pose a big threat and I called it lights out. Got up at 5:30 to get my little one up for school. (eldest still has chicken pox) Our creek is up, but the bus was able to get through. I'm gonna hit the sack for a bit and then do clean up later today. I'm whooped!

Around these parts, I don't think there's anything scarier than twisters that hit at night! My heart goes out to everyone who got slammed bad last night. We just had a teensy bit of the terror that goes with all that. Thanks be to God Almighty, we got lucky again.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank goodness all is well with you!

3/13/2006 12:10 PM  
Blogger Lemuel Calhoon said...

I saw this on the news and thought about you. I'm glad you and yours made it through OK.

3/13/2006 4:37 PM  
Blogger Appalachian Gun Trash said...

Whew Doggy! Glad to hear y'all came out okay with just some minor wind damage and nothing serious.

I was stationed in Missouri for a few years, just south of Kansas City and remember them rascals popping up during the spring and summer. I don't miss 'em one bit!

3/13/2006 8:58 PM  

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