I apologize for not having responded quickly to some of the comments on the book study, but it’s been quite a crazy week. As some of you know, I live in Oklahoma City. I live on the far west side of OKC and teach on the far east side of OKC. If you haven’t heard by now, there was an EF5 tornado pass through a city just south of OKC called Moore. Here’s my story of the day’s events.
When I was younger, we never once even thought about going into a basement. We never really had a tornado come close to where I was. I can remember once watching one from a far distance, but it never dawned on me that we should be taking shelter. I can remember one other time, on a Memorial weekend, as we were taking flowers around to graves, my dad turned the car around and went the other way because we were heading into one. But other than that, that’s all I can think of. Since then, I’ve had a few more scares. Enough scares that we finally put a shelter in the floor of our garage this last year.
Nowadays, the weathermen can predict having “conditions that could cause tornados.” In fact, there have been a few times when they say, “We will absolutely have tornados, we just don’t know the exact location.” The term “stay weather aware” is the new lingo around here. Well, they had been telling us that we were going to have three days of tornado type weather, starting on Saturday and going through Monday. I don’t think we had any on Saturday, but on Sunday a tornado took out several houses and a mobile home park east of Oklahoma City. That was bad enough……
In fact, here is one of my posts on my personal Facebook page on Sunday afternoon…..
Monday morning was crazy enough because it was the next to the last day of school. Around 10:00, they started sending messages to parents in my school district, telling them that the NWS was warning of bad weather conditions, and that if we were in a tornado warning, the busses wouldn’t run. They advised parents that it might be a good idea if they picked their child up before 1:00. In hindsight, this was a fabulous idea. At the time, however, it seemed a little extreme. Do you know how many terrible thunderstorms we have at this time of year? MANY….. Do you know how many times in my 38 years of living we’ve ever been in a tornado warning during school hours? NEVER….. I don’t think we’ve ever come close to thinking we should take our tornado precautions. We practice them several times a year, but have never gone in an actual situation.
A little before 3:00 (our school lets out at 3:20), the weather turned ugly. I was in our ISR room (where there is working tv), watching the weather. There in front of our eyes started a tornado. We sat there in wonder as the thing just kept growing. At the time its path, while still a good distance away from us, seemed to be heading straight for us. I, personally, started to get a little nervous. They finally started saying on the tv for people in the Tinker (Air Force Base) area to start taking tornado precautions. We are straight north of Tinker, so that was our cue to start heading the remainder of the students (approximately 150 or so out left out of about 650 we normally have) down to our underground locker rooms.
The locker rooms were TERRIBLY hot and sweaty with absolutely no air circulation. The students were fine and were perfect little angels. I had never had to ride out a storm without being able to watch the news or even be able to look outside. Sitting in there, clueless, was one of the worst feelings. I have a smartphone, so I asked on Facebook if any one was watching the weather. I text my husband and my mother who were both at work. My friends on Facebook were able to keep me updated. Finally, I realized that I could Live Stream the news channel from my phone (hello…..). I was able to feel a way more secure, knowing where it was at, and then realizing that it had dissipated.
Here is a map that shows the approximate location of where I live and work in comparison to the path of the tornado. The path was around 20 miles long.
Finally a little after 4:00, we were able to run the busses and release the remaining students to go home. After getting home, all of the television stations were showing the devastation. The information they kept telling us was getting worse and worse. Thankfully, the death tolls they kept releasing ended up far better than what they were giving that night.
I had many friends affected in one way or another, but thankfully none of them lost any lives. The wonderful Orr Family Farm that my son’s class had just visited as a field trip, the week before, was devastated and lost around 100 horses. Here is a picture and a link to their Facebook page.
Storms and tornados are a part of Oklahoma. I guess you can love it or leave it, but it’s a part of our life. Storms and tornados are so much a part of our lives, that we have a long time meteorologist, Gary England, that has a “drinking” game named after him. Click here for the details of that one. You need to at least read it, it’s quite funny honestly. We even had a movie made in Oklahoma about our tornados. It you’ve never seen it, you need to. Here is an Amazon link to get you a copy.
Your continued prayers and good thoughts for our little state are welcomed and appreciated. Thanks!