the close call

So, we had our first REALLY close call with a tornado the other night. And I’m still shaken up about it. Maybe I’ll feel better about it if I write…I don’t know. I have had my fair share of weather related drama. I’ve already wrote about it because that’s how I roll. 

I’ll wait for you to catch up.

Good?

Great.

So, about the other night.

I’m upstairs sleeping with our little 5 month old and Tim is downstairs with Kellan.

I had been trying to stay awake because we were under a moderate risk for bad weather – namely hail and wind they said.

So, I get tired around 9:30 and decide to turn the volume all the way up on my phone (I usually put it on airplane mode at night).

I go to sleep.

And then….you see, I have the emergency alerts on for my phone…and that emergency alert goes off blaring and jolts me awake not two hours later.

I grab my phone and look at the alert.

Tornado warning it says.

Seek shelter immediately it says.

(I am literally getting shaky even writing this because that is just how freaked out I was and my nerves are obviously still struggling to recover).

I grab our little who is peacefully asleep. I grab my phone. I run down the stairs yelling, “HONEY” the whole way to the master bedroom, fling open the door and Tim is like what?

TORNADO WARNING LET’S GO.

Tim was like the alert didn’t go off?

I don’t even think I responded.

Sidebar: When we moved here, I insisted we have someone install an underground shelter in our garage. I didn’t care how much it cost. We were having a shelter because there was no basement.

I raced out of the room and into the kitchen to slip on shoes. 

I was not at all prepared for or expecting this, so the few things I think to grab are the ergo carrier and Kellan’s iPad. I turned off our alarm and went into the garage and opened the shelter. All of this while holding a baby.

Once the shelter was open, I raced back inside yelling for Kellan because he was nowhere to be seen. 

He finally (probably like 30 seconds) walks in the kitchen in his pajamas and I hand him his shoes and say, “Put on your crocs and let’s go NOW.”

We get out into the garage and over to the shelter and I’m like GET IN. And Kellan is like it’s dark!

And it is, I mean its basically a big metal hole in the ground. So I turn on my phone light so he can crawl down the steps and I follow. 

Finally, Tim comes out and I’m like, “Where are the dogs????”

(In his trying to wake up confusion thought I had already gotten them)

He goes back inside to get them out of their crate and then we have to manhandle them in because it’s hard for a dog to figure out how to go down the steep steps. Maddie, our golden retriever, figures it out and comes in.

Lexi on the other hand was like a cat trying to avoid water. Literally spread all four legs out and gripped the sides like NO WAY IN HELL I’M GOING DOWN THERE.

So Tim had to literally shove her in.

Then he climbs in and slides the door shut.

And the sirens are going off in our neighborhood. Our phones are going off with the warnings.

We watch the radar and follow twitter with what’s going on (I love using that because of the state weather hashtags – whatever state abbreviation plus “wx.” So like California is cawx or New York is nywx). 

And all of the meteorologists are like TAKE COVER NOW THIS IS BAD. Extremely dangerous. Get to a safe spot immediately.

 BI’m literally shaking sitting in the shelter. I text our neighbor to make sure they’re up and getting to a safe spot. Tim is texting work to make sure everyone is safe.

And we watch the radar.

And we see the storm.

And we see it form a hook echo. A debris ball. All of the things you absolutely do not want to see.

We watch it as it tracks directly toward us.

The alarms and sirens continue to go off. 

The thunder is so loud.

A few pieces of large hail are whipped against our garage door (leaving dents).

Tim wraps a chain around and through the latch that opens the door to the shelter.

We put on our bicycle helmets.

I put our little in the ergo and hold him close.

We let Kellan play a game on his iPad.

And we wait.

Tim tells the dogs to stop breathing hot air on him.

I tell Kellan to turn his iPad down.

And we wait.

I sat there feeling sick to my stomach. 

I know we were in an underground shelter, which is as safe as you can really be, save for not living in a tornado prone area, but I have zero desire to experience a tornado firsthand. No thank you.

It’s funny….when I was outside earlier that afternoon playing with Kellan, I thought it felt funny outside. It got so warm so fast and the air was just so thick with moisture. Too thick.

And so here we were. The atmosphere was angry and showing all the rage at 11:00 at night.

We continue to check radar and twitter.

It keeps edging closer.

I’m praying for it to miss us. To go south or north or anywhere else.

Then…they say that it has stopped rotating as much. It’s still there and still dangerous and may still drop at any point, but it’s not *as bad* as it was.

And then somehow, by the grace of God, it fizzles to the point it just spits out giant hail around a half mile from us.

We watch the storm go over us on radar. We wait for the all clear and then we get out and go check outside to make sure we don’t have hail damage.

Thankfully, we do not.

We all try to go back to sleep, but I couldn’t sleep. I was so shaken. I didn’t want to be alone. I didn’t want it to be dark. I didn’t want to hear any of the thunder I had to hear.

That was too close. 

We had bad weather forecast the following day, but somehow we only ended up with a few thunderstorms. It didn’t make me feel any less rattled, and I was awake again for half the night, watching the radar and praying we wouldn’t have to make another trip to the shelter.

We didn’t. 

But I think it’s going to take me some time to recover from this. I guess that seems silly but I was very frightened. I really, really dislike tornadoes. I’m a sensitive person as it is, so these kinds of things are hard for me to be like it’s okay and have my brain accept the words I say and calm down. Instead I just get worked up thinking about it, which is why I’m writing about it to help it come out so it’s not stuck inside rattling me.

UGH TO THIS AWFUL WEATHER!!!!!!!!!!! (There are not enough exclamation points for me to properly describe this sentiment)

And the emergency alert sound now literally ties my stomach in knots and make me start shaking. I discovered this when it went off the following day and I was just like here we go again.

But it was for a flood warning.

Breathe sigh of relief.

They really should differentiate those sounds….

Someone tell me a funny story that is not weather related.

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9 Responses to “the close call”


  1. 1 Joann April 30, 2017 at 7:42 pm

    So scary! Glad you are all safe!

  2. 3 lucindalines April 30, 2017 at 8:28 pm

    Glad to hear all of you were safe, and the dog thing might be funny in a spoof movie. I have been in at least two tornados, but not super dangerous, and I can’t say I went to the basement with either. I sent the family there, but I had to stay and watch out the window to see if it was really coming. Some of us are weird like that. So very glad to hear that you are all fine, and it seems the alerts worked for you in the long run.

  3. 4 Casey April 30, 2017 at 8:43 pm

    this is too scary, I’m glad you’re all safe. I am terrified of tornadoes, I grew up without a basement which made my fear even worse. I think my fear has gotten better until we get tornado warnings, they’re one of the reasons I don’t love summer.

  4. 5 Sanibel May 3, 2017 at 9:14 am

    I cannot imagine living without a tornado shelter/basement. Seriously, scary. Thank goodness you guys have that. We go to the basement, under our stairs, line up animals in crates and tuck ourselves in. Ugh. I’ve heard best place for babies are in their car seat carrier so we did that last summer/spring. I like your Ergo idea though! Glad you guys are safe and hopefully they stay away from you now!

    • 6 Jessica May 3, 2017 at 11:42 am

      Yes, I actually had that as my plan – the car seat – and normally when we have bad weather coming I put it by the door to the garage…but I didn’t that night because I had zero expectation that was going to happen. I guess my brain only thought of the ergo in that moment.


  1. 1 fallen down the croc hole | booshy Trackback on May 7, 2017 at 5:19 pm

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