This post begins the first in a series I’ll be writing about our tornado experience.
The day after Christmas. This day is traditionally a pretty laid back day in our household. It’s a day to sleep in, tidy up around the house and mess around with all the new gadgets and goodies everyone got from Santa!
We woke up that morning to an unseasonably warm day. Temps were predicted to be in the mid-70s and the air was thick and heavy with moisture.
The weather forecast predicted storms to roll through so we postponed travel to see some relatives to avoid driving through the storm front.
The day unfurled as expected. Pretty quiet day with the kids playing with their new toys and Don (my husband) doing a little grocery shopping. I stayed in my PJs all day long – don’t get to do that too often!
My husband loves to cook and had found a new fried chicken recipe to make that evening. He was also SO excited to return from the grocery store with a special find. We love Filet Mignon but don’t eat it often due to the price. He had found a whole uncut filet for a steal – $120 and he could slice it into steaks and freeze them for future meals! We don’t typically spend that kind of money on food but decided to splurge! Little did we know within hours our house would lose power for the foreseeable future!
Anywhoo – having grown up in a suburb of Wichita Falls, TX, devastated by a large tornado in 1979, I’ve always been wary and watchful when they are predicted. So as the afternoon progressed I turned on the local news station to stay aware of the alerts.
The boys were both playing video games and my daughter was practicing on the new digital piano we got as a family gift. Don was frying up chicken in the kitchen and I was sorting and organizing paperwork.
As the front rolled through after the 6 o’clock hour, I watched on TV as tornado warnings rolled up through Dallas proper – west of our location. Based on the radar it was going to roll past us, but I have lots of friends and coworkers in that area so I was watching it all raptly.
Sometime around 6:30ish, I hear that there is another ‘area of concern’ and looked up to see the weatherman circle an area South of us, heading our direction. I alerted the family that it was time to just move into our downstairs half bath – it is in the center of the house with no windows, so is our designated safe room. We turned off the electronics in the game room, moved a comforter in the bathroom and the kids gathered in there. I brought our dog, Spike, into the laundry room which is also a secure space.
I’m listening to the TV all the while and hear that there is rotation and a ‘possible tornado’ near I-30 and Bobtown – about 6 miles driving distance from our house. Very close and per the reports, heading our direction.
I went into the bathroom with the kids and hollered at my husband to come on already! He wanted to finish frying up the last batch of chicken! Then we heard a confirmed tornado on the ground at I-30 and the George Bush Turnpike. It was considerably closer! My husband came into the bathroom and we left the door cracked open a few inches to listen to the news. I posted a photo of all of us hunkered down on twitter:
We still had the door open to listen to the TV and hear the news anchor say that everyone in the path of the storm should be sheltering and then there was a noise.
My daughter asked, “What is that noise?” and my husband replied, “Sounds like the rain is hitting”.
I looked at my husband, said, “That’s not rain!”, pushed the door closed and continued, “That’s the train! Come here!” and hugged the family tight as the roar of the freight train grew louder.
Stay tuned for the next part of the story…