Saturday, May 3, 2008

Just Call Me Dorothy

Once more yesterday Arkansas was ravaged by more tornadoes and storms moving through our beautiful state. As of late last night the fatality count for our state was a total of 7 deaths with several injuries. My heart goes out to all the families who lost loved ones and whose homes were damaged or destroyed during this disaster. It was a long stressful and nerve racking day for my family as well. We are lucky today to be alive and to still have our home we have fought so hard to keep. We are lucky and blessed that we received no ill happenings from the storms. God was truly watching over all of my family scattered throughout our state.

If you have never seen a tornado except in pictures and on television it is a sight to behold. It is mother nature at her finest hour. It is awe inspiring, an adrenaline rush beyond what you can imagine and immensely scary all at the same time. It is hard to put into words
how captivating one is. You see it in all it's monstrous groaning and twisting, hear it very much like a freight train without the horn, and watch it's movements and if like me, then you are totally rooted to the spot, mesmerized in place, time and not hearing anything else around you. Yesterday trucker and I seen our first tornado up close and personal.

All over the state watches and warnings were taking place. I spent much of the day doing nothing but watching the television and the weather reports as well as staying in contact with trucker on his cell phone. At this point we were under a watch only and let me tell you I was being watchful I have no fingernails left in which to pick at. Trucker was driving in the lower half of the state and was around and very near several of them. The trucking company called all of the drivers in early
because of this weather and I left our home to pick him up around 2 pm. Not long after leaving our house and listening to the radio in the car I heard our town not just our county but specifically our town placed under a warning. Should I turn around and go back home or continue driving away from it? Part of me wanted desperately to go home and pick Princess up from school but she was under lock down at this point. I drove on and watched the skies listening to the ever present radio DJ giving reports. After picking trucker up and crossing back over the Memphis/W. Memphis bridge we heard that another warning had just been issued for the county we were in. A tornado was on the ground not to far from where we were headed and in fact would be at some point directly in our path home.

The DJ was saying it had almost completely destroyed a factory in the town of Earle and was heading in the path of Gilmore, Joiner and Turrell. All of which we where we were going on our way home. Trucker decided we should pull over and cash his paycheck and sit it out for a while. We done this and the skies looked somewhat better. During this time I was also on the phone with my father and hearing his reports as they were given on TV. We decided to continue on and try to get home safely.

We were on the interstate and approaching the town of Turrell when trucker pointed to the left of us. There it was!! A tornado on the ground and it looked massive to my eyes. I started to panic somewhat and we could not take our eyes off of it. Trucker was looking for a safe as safe as you can find place to pull over at this point. I grabbed my cell phone and was taking pictures as we were driving and after stopping. We pulled over at a
convenience store just off the highway. Now we could hear the sirens going off. Police were passing us speeding down the side roads in their efforts to warn others driving. Their sirens were blaring as well. Before trucker even got the car safely to a complete stop I was out the door and still taking pictures. As I said it was mesmerizing to see. I was scared to death but unable to do more than watch and snap pics of it. Now mind you had it came our direction I would have ran into that convenience store in a heartbeat.

In this first picture you can see a white funnel to the left and another much larger funnel on the ground. At this point the tornado we estimated was about one half to one mile from us. These first two pics were taken in the car before we got stopped. It lasted about a total of 15 minutes or so and then it picked up after crossing the interstate we had been on and went back up into the clouds. After leaving and once more heading home we never took our eyes off the skies. Once we got home safely and was watching the news last night we found out that when I had left our house to pick trucker up, that one came directly over our town but luckily never touched down. On one of the local news channels we were able to watch a video of that particular one that was posted. Our town as well as my family were very lucky.

My friends have all changed my nickname now to "Dorothy". I could so be a storm chaser.


Mental P Mama said...

Wow. You all are so lucky. Glad you are safe, and so sad to hear about all the destruction and loss.

Anonymous said...

Wow, wow, wow. I'm glad that you're okay. I think I'm going to call you "Storm Chaser Dorothy". Since it just happened here this week, I know the devestation and pain this brings. Hugs to your community!

Blogarita said...

I'm so envious! I want to be a chaser, or at least see a tornado for real.

Glad you are safe!

TSannie said...

I would chase storms with you any time! (I grew up in Columbia, MO so know a thing or two about tornados).
Also - Loreena McKinnett - LOVE her! Wish she would get more exposure - she's much better than she's given credit for.

BTW - Mental Pause Mama told me about you, (she loves your site) and I'm glad she did!

Treasia said...

Mama-The fatality count was more this morning. I believe either 8 or 9. My heart goes out to all of the families.

Suze-How is your state recovering? I read about it on your blog when you posted it as well. It happened only in Feb. to the town my son and grandbabies live in. It was almost completely destroyed.

Blogarita-Come on down we have plenty of room here at the house. It is that time of year for them now.

tsannie-Then you are familiar with storms like these as well. Like I told Blogarita we have plenty of room and you're more than welcome to come chase as well.

A dear friend of mine introduced me to Loreena McKinnett's music and I fell in love with it. Have you also heard of Darby Devon? Love her as well. I find this sort of music so relaxing and since I'm Irish decent it's almost as if it talks to me.

Anonymous said...

wow Dorothy! How scary! Great pics though. I'm so glad you and your family is okay!!

Treasia said...

Thanks Kacey. I do remember (briefly) wishing I had the digital camera with me. During all the excitement I'm surprised I even had this thought.

Carolyn said...

Oh Treasia, I am soooo glad you and your family are OK. Living in Kansas, you would think I'd be an old pro at seeing tornadoes. But, nope. Not a one. And quite honestly, I want to keep it that way. The house we live in, no basement, and I just have no clue to what the best place would be. In the old church, I knew where to go, but in our new one ... the bathroom maybe?

The pictures are amazing. You did a good job getting them, under the circumstances!

Stay safe!

Meg said...

OMgosh T!!! Glad you guys are okay!!! What a great job with the pictures!

My heart goes out to all of the people who lost loved ones...keep us updated!

forsythia said...

I hope never to see a tornado up close and personal. Some kind of miniature wind storm passed by near our cabin in Ohio 3 or 4 years ago. Trees knocked down and scattered around like so many match sticks! Just looking at them and imagining how it happened was scary enough. I'm glad you are safe, but I feel sorry for the folks who lost friends or family or houses.

Snooty Primadona said...

I don't know if anyone remembers being taught @ school to file into halls, curl into a ball with our hands tightly wrapped around our heads. Growing up in Oklahoma we all knew what to do in case of a tornado, lol. Don't they still do that?

I once saw one making its way down May Avenue in Oklahoma City. My grandparents lived 5 blocks off May so we watched it until it got too close, then headed for the storm shelter. I hated that storm shelter with a passion. Still hate them. We have one that I've never been in & never will. Creepy.

Guess I'll just have to take a ride on the tornado

Treasia said...

Carolyn-I really don't blame you one bit for not wanting to see one of those. Had I had been home, my butt would have been in our crawl space. You can bet on it.

Meg-Considering it was a cell phone camera I don't think they turned out to bad either.

Forsythia-My heart (as well) goes out to all the families in this time of need.

Snooty-Our school was in lock down during earlier in the day. They go out into the halls and do exactly as you are describing. No one gets in and no one gets out as well. I grew up with a storm cellar and spent many many nights in it. Ours was quite nice actually. Mom and Dad had it set up with stackable cot bunk beds and lanterns and all the essentials. If it got ugly out we simply went there and went to bed. If we had a house when we woke up then that was great.