I didn’t grow up in Kansas, so storm season is very scary to me. Sunday afternoon, seemingly out of no where (it was a beautiful, sunshiny warm day), the tornado sirens started going off. I immediately ran downstairs to check our emergency bag. It’s not much, but there’s a big flash light, a big bottle of water and some pop tarts in it. It sits next to a small dog kennel in the corner of our basement. There’s also a mattress downstairs that’s become part of our emergency kit. When I knew everything we needed was downstairs, I went up and got the puppies. We all sat on the mattress, with Alex and I on our phones watching live streams of the weather coverage. After about 30 minutes, it went completely black outside and the lightening and hail got super loud. There was a confirmed tornado touch down at the airport, which is a few miles from our house. Here’s a photo I stole from my sister in law’s Facebook page, which she stole from someone at work. She works at the VA hospital, just a couple miles down the highway from the airport:
The weatherman said the storm was headed for downtown, just down the road from us, so I decided it was a good idea to get under the mattress. Because Alex is a good boyfriend, he humored me. I was texting family while all of this was happening, and my mom requested a picture:
Obviously it’s hard to see- it was dark. The glowing little blobs in the bottom left are our puppies- they were in a little kennel under the mattress, too. Luckily, the tornado lifted back up in the sky and never came back. After another 20-30 minutes, the weather guys said it was all clear.
The wind and hail caused some damage to our neighborhood. There was some large tree branches knocked down in pretty much everyone’s yards. Luckily, the only house damage we suffered was a shatter light bulb on the front of our garage. Here’s some photos of the aftermath:
We were counting ourselves pretty lucky, and I think Alex thought I was a little ridiculous for putting us under the mattress.
Then the tornado struck Oklahoma yesterday. A 2-mile wide EF4 tornado demolished the town of Moore. An elementary school was completely knocked down as almost 300 students sat inside. People’s homes were destroyed while they sat underneath them. Cars were thrown all over town. Current numbers show 24 have died, hundreds injured, and not everyone has been found in the wreckage yet. It’s insane.
I think people in the Midwest get a little complacent when it comes to storm season. Some coworkers were talking yesterday about standing outside, watching the clouds roll in while the sirens were going off. That picture outside the VA hospital- someone left the safety of a building to take it. Obviously there are a ton of warnings each season, and most of the time nothing terrible happens. But it only takes one storm, one tornado to destroy a town and take lives. Yesterday morning I was feeling a little silly telling my coworkers about hiding under a mattress, but now I just feel smart. Thank goodness nothing happened, but if it had, I was prepared. I hope the Oklahoma tragedy reminds people how dangerous tornadoes can be. It might not be cool or fun to hide in a basement, but I’d rather be safe than cool.