Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Sitting in a bathtub....with 4 people and a dog

At this moment, one week ago, I was having a first time experience. It was my first time ever being huddled into a bathtub with 3 other people and a dog.
Spring has just begun, and weather experts are saying Oklahoma is in for a wild tornado season. Last week we had the first twister of the season. It was almost a complete disaster, but a miracle happened.

I was driving when I saw the lightning begin. About 5 minutes later the hail began coming down. It was a normal pea shape sized, but I saw later that just 10 miles away it was coming down baseball sized.

Here is a picture of the hail that was 10 miles away from me:

Just as I got inside the house, the sirens began to blare out. At ORU there are underground shelters. In my 3 years of living in Oklahoma, there has only been one time that a tornado was ever close enough to sound the alarms. When the alarms sound, in means that there is a tornado and there is potential of it hitting where you are at.

Last week was my second time having the sirens sound, but there was no underground shelter. So I followed the lead of my 3 companions who have lived through many tornadoes. They took part in what I am told is an Oklahoma tradition, of standing outside watching.

They said on the radio that a tornado had touched down in Sand Springs (About 15 minutes away from me) and that there was potentially another one forming over Tulsa near the airport (really close to me...too close).
We were out in the back yard looking out in the distance towards Sand Springs, trying to figure out if we could see anything.
All of a sudden one guy, Michael, says, "Uh, guys..." I turned back to look at him. His jaw was dropped and he was looking up, pointing at the sky right above us.
When I looked up, I realized that there was a massive circular cloud in the sky all around us. I later heard that it was a low and wide formation, about half a mile wide. They said if it had touched down, it likely would have wiped out half of the city.
I don't remember who said it. Everything in those moments after seemed to happen in less than a second, even though it was longer. I just remember someone shouting, "Get inside!" and almost instantly all four of us, and Lily, had run through the house and shut ourselves in the bathroom, and were huddled in the bathtub.

There was a loud roar, that amost had me believing it was a train driving by, that rattled the house. I was gripping on to my dog, and closing my eyes, and holding my breath thinking any second the top floor of the house was going to be ripped off and I was going to be soaring through the air. The power went out and the radio station and all of our cell service died.

After a few minutes of sheer panic, the roar went away. A few more minutes and the radio came back on, saying one of their towers had been knocked over by flying debris. About 10 minutes later the radio announced that the storm was moving away from the city, and we felt safe enough to come out of the bathroom.

It took about an hour for our power to come back on, and my cell service was out for about 3 hours.
There had been some strong wind that damaged some things, but everyone agrees that the tornado  forming miraculously dissolved before something horrible happened. I might not be writing this now if it had.

It was extremely cold the next two days. Now, it's been extremely hot the last two days. Tomorrow they are calling for more severe weather that may produce tornadoes.

Please keep Oklahoma in your prayers. 

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