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Life In General

What The Tornado Taught Me

The rain was falling in big, heavy drops, driving onto the ground and making the mud splash up.  Dark clouds loomed overhead.

I rushed the 4 kids into the house with our McDonald’s takeout in hand, laughing as we went.  I set the kids up at the table with their fries and burgers, squeezing ketchup out of their packets while the sky grew darker.  The kids, laughing and talking over one another, stuffed their mouths, enjoying the rare treat of McD’s after a school day.

My cell phone rang, and I answered it.  My husband was on the other end.  He was working at a remote location that day, 2 hours away.   He said something about watching the weather radar.  I couldn’t hear him over the kids and with the oddly bad reception I was getting, so I moved toward the sliding glass doors in our living room.  I opened the door, hoping to get better reception.  When I could hear him again, my husband said that it looked like there could be a tornado close by, according to the radar.  I teased him about being overly cautious, and laughed off his concern.

And then I looked up at the sky.

The clouds had taken on a shade of green, a shade I had never really seen before.  And they were suddenly swirling, rotating around in a the most intimidating way.

“The clouds …” I said, still on the phone, “they’re rotating!”.  I immediately realized that the radar might be right, my husband might not be overly cautious after all, and that I needed to get the kids to the basement!Tornado1

Without hanging up, I rushed back to the kids and told them that we were heading downstairs … Now! … and to leave their food behind.  My husband, on the other end, heard some semblance of “Kids, get downstairs!” followed by banging and crashing as we rushed down the stairs, followed by my phone going dead.

In the meantime, the kids and I huddled in the basement.  The sound of rushing water sent me investigating.  There, behind our basement electrical panel, was a steady pouring of rain water past all of my husband’s computer equipment onto the basement floor.  I told the two oldest to call 911 if something happened, and flipped the switch to turn off the electricity.  Nothing terrible happened, so with the lights now out, I headed back upstairs to get our basket of flashlights and their food.

The wind howled outside and things blew around on the other side of the window.  With the glass door cracked open, I looked outside and heard the most eerie sound.  It was a low roar — I can see how people compare the sound to a freight train.  It didn’t stop, it just kept roaring.

Heading back downstairs with the food and flashlights, the kids had no idea how bad it was outside.  They laughed and joked while finishing their burgers.  I told the boys what to do if the basement window blew in — pull the futon mattress and couch cushions over us — in case I couldn’t do it myself.

It felt like we were down there forever, but eventually the sound, that low roar, stopped, and we ventured back upstairs.  The sky was still green, but the roar was gone and the rain and wind had died down.

And then the phone calls and the texts started.  And people started showing up at our door.  And the emails and facebook messages came in.  Everyone was checking to see if we were okay, if our house survived, and if we had any damage.

When my husband got back into town a couple of hours later, they wouldn’t let him into the neighbourhood, even though he was driving an Environment Canada vehicle.  The damage was that severe.

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I didn’t realize until watching the video the next day how bad the tornado really was.

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Houses were destroyed.  Vehicles upended.  Trees torn down.  Branches, backyard furniture and bicycles were everywhere.  Roofs and walls were ripped off of houses.  Fences were tossed around.

And everyone was still alive.

If the tornado had happened a couple of hours earlier, babies and toddlers would have been sleeping in their bedrooms at naptime and kids would have been on school buses.  If it had happened a few hours later, children would have been having baths and getting ready for bed.  They would have been taken quickly by the same winds that ripped the roofs off.

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Instead, the tornado happened at dinner time when families were on their main floor cooking dinner or eating by windows where they could see the storm coming.  As a result, there were minor injuries reported, but nothing serious.

That’s when I realized how protected we were in those moments.

In the minutes, hours and days following, neighbours helped one another, communities far and near sent money and clothes and household items to provide for those families that were left with very little.  And we took care of one another.   None of the families displaced by the damage was without a place to sleep that night.

The tornado taught me that nothing is certain, nothing is guaranteed.  A normal spring day can turn into one of the worst.  Possessions can be lost in an instant.  Life can be lost in an instant.

That storm has left me nervous in rainy weather, pacing and listening for the roar, just in case.  But it taught me to be grateful for our blessings, thankful for all that God has entrusted to us.  Thankful for His protection, His provision, and His grace in the storm.

A few days later, I asked my daughter if she was worried while we were in the basement during the storm.  She’s the type that normally panics first and thinks later.  But do you know what she said?  She said “No, I wasn’t worried.  I asked God to take care of us.  And He did!”.

That He did.

He took care of everyone that day.

WhatTheTornadoTaughtMe

 

 

Article written by:

Megan is a WAHM to 3 (and then some) kids, who spends the majority of her time working as an Administrative Assistant, blogging and washing dishes. She loves to write about her adventures in parenting, running a home daycare, adoption and whatever else strikes her fancy!

26 Comments

  1. Robin Rue (@massholemommy)

    OMG. I can not even imagine. We don’t get tornadoes here, so I wouldn’t know what to do.

  2. citymomsecrets

    OMG my father was in a tornado when I was a child and this brought back terrifying memories. I agree with all you say. Glad you were safe.

  3. Amy G

    Wow that sounds really scary. Glad you’re okay.

  4. Liz Mays

    I love her faithfulness and trust that you’d be protected. That is so sweet! I’m really glad you were all were safe. That was scary!

  5. Stephanie

    Praise God you guys are okay and that your hubby called or you may not have noticed until it was too late. Great post and really something that everyone should think about band be prepared for. We all make fire escape plans but no one really considers a tornado plan.

    • Megan Elford

      That’s very true. In our area, they’re not terribly common (this is the second in 30 years), but because they hit so quickly, it’s good to be prepared.

  6. listen2mama

    I would be terrified. In Miami we get hurricanes, so they give you a bit more of time to prepare.

  7. crysta911

    Wow, you seemed so calm and collected. I think I would have flipped. Maybe not since I would have to be calm for my kids. Scary!

  8. parisbypaige

    Merci for sharing your story. It is so important that others know that weather can be a powerful thing and not to underestimate it! Blessings that you and your family are here to tell the story!

  9. kungphoo

    What a scary situation. Glad you and your family were safe and fast acting.

  10. firststepstogreatstrides

    It’s so crazy. I remember that so well. I am so glad you and your family were safe!!!

  11. Vicky

    Wow! How scary!! We don’t really get tornados where I live now, but I grew up in an area that would have ‘tornado’ season every spring, so I remember being terrified about tornados as a kid, but fortunately never experienced one. How amazing that this one hit just at the ‘right’ time so that nobody died!

  12. Sojourner Williams

    Wow. What a story! Life lessons come in all forms. I’m happy everyone is okay. Good thing your husband called you at the moment he did.

  13. The Pinterested Parent

    We got hit badly a couple of years ago. You can still see the damage. We were fortunate as well. There were no casualities in our area despite some people being sucked right out of their homes & thrown. I am happy that you were all safe.

    • Megan Elford

      Oh wow, I can’t even imagine! I’m glad to hear that there were no casualties. Do the children in your area (and the adults I suppose too) deal with PTSD at all? That’s been a big concern at the schools here.

  14. maggiesblog2

    Oh my! So glad everyone is safe! We live in Ohio and we get a few scares every season but have been lucky so far! Thank God for your husband calling you!

  15. Dhemz

    Oh my! So heartbreaking to see these photos and reading your post. God is good! Glad to know that you guys are fine.
    http://www.gregdemcydias.com

  16. Yona Williams

    Oh wow…that must have been a scary experience. Seeing the photos of the homes with their roofs ripped off is extremely unsettling. Mother Nature is incredibly powerful.

  17. Kat Khatibi

    So glad everyone was alright!

    I still remember coming home after Hurricane Andrew. Everything was flat. No signs or landmarks just debris. I was still a kid back then and my mother calmly told me about how this was just a place we lived and these were just things, not people. Everything but people were replaceable. Sadly we lost a few lives in the community. People who did not want to leave their things and home unattended. Many sad stories, but we took what little was left and started over. Not tear was shed for our home or things.
    xo,
    Kat
    http://www.TheBusinessDarling.com

    • Megan Elford

      Wow, that’s such a huge thing to deal with! I love your mom’s response: “These were just things”. That’s a big lesson to learn when you’re young!

  18. Hollie Black-Ramsey (@MC_Knocked_Up)

    Oh my! How scary! I live in a mobile home so I am TRULY terrified of tornadoes!

  19. Eliz Frank

    Holy Cow! What a scary incident. My God, I am thankful for your safety and all the folks in your area. Grace comes at the right time, never too early or too late. God is good all the time! Amen. 🙂

  20. Karen

    omg… How terrifying! I am so glad to read that you all are ok… but so frightening. I appreciate you sharing this story with us! http://www.GlamKaren.com

  21. Erica

    Oh my goodness!!! I cannot even imagine going through this at all. Literally gave me chills as I was reading it, especially at the end with your daughter’s response. Truly, incredible. HE does protect us when we need it most. xo

  22. Jennifer Pennington

    Oh my Gosh that is so terrifying, yet, so eye opening. It’s amazing how truly blessed we are every single day, isn’t it? Great story. Thank you for sharing honey.

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