Yesterday marked the 2 month anniversary of the terrible outbreak of tornadoes in the South. Today, I watched workers put a new roof on my neighbor's house.
Authorities have said that three tornadoes started in our little town...an F1, F3 and F4. On April 28th, my son and I spent much of our day sheltered in a coat closet.
Waves of warnings went on throughout the day. But it was the last round of the storms that hit us. A good friend who is a meteorologist gave me a heads up two days earlier about the rash of storms that were going to hit. The day of the storms, he updated me when to take cover on Facebook. Brian warned me that the later storm would be the worst one of the day. Our cable went out around 6 p.m. and we lost our TV and computer. We still had our lights. Just after 8, I was putting Ben to bed when our lights flickered and our TV did a weird zap thing. I heard the wind blow really hard against the wall I was leaning against and something inside of me told me to grab Ben and go. My husband met us in the hall and told us to get in the closet quick. My ears popped and I heard the wind howl along with snapping of branches outside. It was all over in under a minute. When we emerged from our closet, we were scared of what we might see. But we were blessed, our roof, walls, windows were all there! We walked over to a big window in our living room and saw the transformer outside blow. It looked like the 4th of July right in our front yard. Later, we discovered that a phone line snapped in two also. By then, all of our lights were out and we went around the house with our flashlights. Adrenaline rushing through our bodies, we were excitedly going through the house making sure it was OK. Then, we headed outside to check on our neighbors and see if we could see what happened. By then, it was pitch black outside and we couldn't see a thing. Early the next morning, we saw the damage.
(Literally knocked off it's rocker)
(City and County crews were on the scene right away)
(Our yard...and our driveway is under there somewhere)
(One of several phone lines)
The Weather Channel along with other authorities said we were hit by the start of what turned into an F4 tornado that ran up the mountain and into the next town, killing four people. For the rest of the week, friends from church stopped by and helped us clean up. When he saw our house, my friend's son said angels were all around us and the church.
I felt that was probably the best answer and most reassuring thing I heard that day.
Here are pictures of that day. I have tried to match up pictures of today to compare.
(Looking at our house and our neighbor's, street view)
(These were replaced in a couple of days!)
(No more house....
There was a barn there as well, but the storm blew that away, so it's not in either picture.)
(There was once a line of Bradford Pear trees between us and our neighbors. This was the only one left after the storm. It's not there anymore either)
And here are some other pictures that I didn't know where to place in this piece, but they are interesting.
(I was told this was an 80 year old tree)
(One of our maple trees that I hope we can save. I cried when I saw how badly damaged our trees were. It use to be HUGE. And in the fall, it has the most brilliant color. It seems silly that I cried over trees when others lost so much more.)
(Strangely, the smallest middle tree had the least amount of damage)
(Our neighbor's garage was blown away.
They had a brand new 1-week old riding mower in there! Guess what, the mower was just fine.)
(The garage was blown to the other neighbor's yard)
The Chattanooga Times Free Press has written several stories about survivors and the towns hit. They had a heartfelt piece in Sunday's paper about those who were killed. Here is a link to part of the story Chattanooga Times Free Press "We all lost so much." Here is another part of the story that really touched me: "Precious Lives"
So, where were you during the storms?