Friday, May 27, 2011

Tonado Watch

This has been quite the Spring for rain in the Dayton area. One of the reasons we love our house so much is because of the HUGE back yard. We have two dogs now and it's like they have an entire park back there to run and play in. They've been in the back yard a total of...count 'em...5 days since the snow began melting this winter. That's one day per month this year. Seriously, we can't even let them out there to pee because they come back covered in mud from toe to belly just from walking out. Turns out our gigantic yard tuns into a swamp every time it rains and it takes a good 3 or 4 sunny days to dry it out enough for the dogs to go out and play. We haven't had many sunny days this spring... We take them on the leash in the front to potty. The other drawback is the fact that Dave can't mow a swamp. The grass was knee high when he finally busted out the push-mower (the riding mower would have sunk). Needless to say, we've been slightly annoyed with the constant rain this year. Spring isn't nearly as fun when you can't enjoy your awesome backyard.

Being human, we have definitely moaned and groaned a few times about the constant rain and how annoying it is. Then, earlier this week, Dave said, "You know, with all the natural disasters this year - tsunamis, tornados, flooding, etc - we should be happy that we just have rain and mud to complain about. There are worse problems than tall grass." "Yeah, you're so right. We should be thankful for the rain." I began saving milk containers and collecting rain for my vegetable garden. I think I have about 10 gallons sitting by my garden right now ready for the summer. It's funny how you can change your attitude so quickly. I'm hoping to get just a few more gallons before the rain stops. And potty breaks for the dogs are now quick training sessions.

No sooner had we changed our attitude than a major storm came to town bringing with it the threat of tornados. The girls and I were finishing up dinner. Solana was singing. Chloe was chattering. The dogs were close by wrestling. Suddenly, Dave yelled from the back room, "Turn on the news!" I recognized that urgent tone in his voice that means, "Don't ask questions...just do what I say." "OK!" I jumped up and turned on the TV. The local weather was on and they were tracking a storm and talking about tornados. How did he know? He hurried in and cracked the window. All motion and sound ceased when he came in. I think everyone else recognized that something important was happening. We immediately heard the tornado sirens. I'd never heard tornado sirens before. It was eerie. Creepy. My chest and throat tightened. My eyes got shiny. I was (very dramatically) inwardly suppressing my fear.

For the next 15 minutes or so we watched the storm on the news as it came toward us. They told us that if tornados formed they would be along I75 near the Dayton mall. That's not too far from us but seemed far enough to be safe. We were in the path of a heavy hail storm, though. They mentioned Centerville Station Rd. and Solana recognized the name. "That's right near us!" She exclaimed. "Are we going to SURVIVE?!?!" She was scared and it was difficult to answer all her questions while listening to the weatherman but I think we did a fair job. We showed her on the news that IF there was a tornado it would be DOWN here and we live UP here. I thought that would comfort her but then she was immediately worried about all the people who live DOWN where the tornado might land. "Will those people survive?!?" She's such a sweet caring kid.

Dave wanted to get his car in the garage but he didn't have time to move the riding mower, bikes, strollers, etc. He had to run and warn our neighbors - who he saw happily hanging out in their kitchen, the other riding along on his mower. I made him promise to run! (Dave doesn't normally run but I did not want him out there during a hailstorm and tornado.) At least the van was inside. We had a plan to get into Solana's bathtub if a tornado arrived. Dave would toss blankets and pillows over us and then toss the animals in the van. In the meantime, we moved away from the windows, sat on the couch, and watched the sky get dark. Rain drops started to fall. The trees started blowing around like crazy. And then the hail. Big hail. Scary loud hail. I was listening intently for the sound of a train - that's what I think a tornado is supposed to sound like. Solana snuggled against me and hid under a pillow as I held Chloe. Chloe stared out the window and seemed to think she was watching a show. The hail lasted just a few minutes. As soon as it ended Chloe clapped and cheered. Dave went out to bring Solana a hail stone. She loved it and declared, "I love hail!" "I don't," two voices replied in unison. Then we giggled with relief.

Dave's car is completely dented - every single panel will need to be replaced. The roof of our older shed is completely demolished. One pane from our big lamp in the front yard is shattered, a few slats from our shutters are smashed, and some of the small lamps in our landscaping are broken. One hail stone hit a shingle in the perfect spot to bust right through a knot in the wood supporting our roof creating a small leak and we noticed a wet spot on the ceiling in our dining room. Our yard is coverd in branches and leaf debri. All in all, not too bad. I'm glad we had already changed our attitude about the rain. Now we can double our thankfulness.


carol anne said...

Really scary! You all handled things so well -- I have a question though. If Dave was covering you guys and then putting the dogs in the van where was he planning to be? LOL


A Goldsworthy Note said...

This post made me remember the first time I heard the tornado siren in Del Rio. Joe was TDY and it was very erie outside. I was watching the news ( San Antonio news since DR doesn't have a local news) and the weather man showed where the tornado was and whee it was headed. Holy cow! That's Del Rio! Then he went on to say for people in those areas to listen for the sirens and if heard to quickly move to safetly and have a plan. What in the world? I had lived there for less than a month, Joe was gone, and I immediately began thinking of what I learned in elementary school during our drills. I decided I'd grab the cats and we'd hide in the pantry in the middle of the house. I even began emptying the shelves. Suddenly the power went out (luckily I had plenty of flashlights ready) and I was unsure if I should get in the pantry. I didn't was to have to chase the cats around at the last minute so I out their food and water in the pantry and locked them in there. I think they felt safer in there because they never complained. I was actually pretty nervous outside of the pantry so about ten minutes later I grabbed a deck of cards and played solitaire in the pantry for about 40 was hot! Turns out the tornado hit the outskirts and it took a couple of lives in the neighboring town.
I could feel your nervousness while reading your blog. I remember in Corpus Mommy brought in hail for me to look at and said I liked the hail. I kept asking her to bring in more. She, too, said she didn't like it and I didn't understand why. It was clearly super cool. Haha.

A Goldsworthy Note said...

I was thinking faster than I could type. I forgot to mention that immediately after the weather man said to listen for the sirens the sirens began. It was weird. As if the guy in charge of the siren was watching the news, too.