We’ve lived in Oklahoma for 39½ years, and our residence has never been hit by a tornado. I say that with all humility and thankfulness to God, because there are so many who have lost everything in such storms. On May 31, 2013, a devastating tornado wiped a huge part of Moore, OK, off the map. We have a rental house in Moore directly across I-35 from the Warren Theater and Moore Hospital. The house lost its roof and was almost totaled, but we were not living there at the time. Thankfully, our renters went to a shelter nearby and were unhurt. These pictures show a little of before and after the storm condition.
It so happens that I posted our experience that evening on Facebook, and it came up in my memories today, so I decided to share it. I must add that we had no idea at the time how bad things were elsewhere until the next day since power, phone lines, and most forms of communication are sometimes among the casualties. If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to be expecting a tornado to hit, read my account of three years ago today. It’s long, but it will give you an idea of the emotional roller coaster that’s a part of the impending storm. Here is my account posted that night, May 30, 2013:
We’ve had a wild day and evening, but are safe and sound…thank you, Lord.
3:00 Started watching storm coverage and sending msgs to family members to warn them
5:20 Friends from Woodward, OK, were in OKC for seminar and called from their hotel on the west side of OKC. They are coming over to get out of the storm’s path
6:00 Friends called saying they were close by, but stuck in traffic
6:10 Scott & Lancia called saying they were coming down to get out of the storm’s path – they live about ten miles north of us
6:25 Friends from Woodward arrived
6:30 Ordered three large pizzas, started baking cookies and brownies, made tea, and put out soft drinks, paper plates and cups
6:45 Cookies done
7:00 Lancia’s family arrived
7:10 Marci called saying she, Adam and a friend were coming over. Her friend had to leave work and head south, so she came to Marci’s.
7:15 Pizza delivery arrived
7:20 Everyone started eating
7:25 Family of four arrived, two from Iowa, and their daughter who lives here. Darcy was supposed to babysit for him, so they all came here. We knew none of them.
7:30 Marci, Adam, and her friend Lisa arrived
8:00 Everyone finished eating
8:15 High winds and swirling clouds, along with TV news convinced us the storm was almost here, and nine people went to two neighbor’s storm shelters
8:25 Lights started flickering and TV went off – we had torrents of rain and swirling wind, so the rest of us got couch cushions and throw pillows and went into the two inner bathrooms
8:30 Tornado passed over Norman, according to the reports on Jim’s Iphone, so we came out into the house. Sent msgs to those in the shelter to stay put because it looked like a hurricane outside. Sent messages to out-of-town relatives and friends that we’re okay.
8:40 Some of those in shelters came home and toweled off.
9:00 Everyone back in the house dripping wet!
9:15 Everyone leaving in their cars, but there is still lots of rain, hail, and flooding.
9:20 Cleaning up the kitchen and rearranging the house.
9:30 Our Woodward friends have decided to spend the night since road conditions are so bad.
9:40 Posted notes on Facebook and checked on our church family.
10:30 Saw lots of things on TV that make us thankful to be here and safe. I began checking
11:00 Everyone is worn out and getting ready for bed.
11:30 Signing off for the night
Thank you EVERYONE for your prayers, and THANK GOD for our safety.
Well, that doesn’t sound so bad, but remember, we were the lucky ones! Seven lost their lives and hundreds lost their homes. We have been blessed, indeed! When you hear accounts of tornadoes, take a moment to pray, even if you don’t know someone in the area of the storm. Most likely, they will not have the relatively pleasant outcome we had in this one.