Last night, Darrell and the boys went down to help friends clean out their house and try to find their stuff that had been blown to kingdom come. Darrell took these pictures of their neighborhood. This town is just south of us and it's basically wiped out. It was the hardest hit.
The town we live in did not get a direct hit, but still took some damage here and there. Most people around here have hail damage, and there are some blown out windows.
Something kind of funny... After the guys got home last night, we all started talking about our little adventure in the van and comparing stories- what we each saw, heard, how scared we were, etc. As we started to share our own personal take on the whole thing, we began to realize that we saw two different tornadoes! This makes sense, because we now know there had been multiple tornadoes touching down (I believe I heard there were 4), and the one that hit the little town in the photos above actually split into two, with the smaller one that split off going a different direction. However, we didn't know any of that at the time, and until last night, we assumed we had all seen the same thing.
There was a point in the van when Darrell said, "There it is. I see it."
When he said that, Evan and I both looked to the side and saw a tornado across the road in a field, on the driver's side. I was looking out Darrell's side window and there it was, directly across from us. I discovered last night, that the tornado Darrell was looking at was out the front window, in front of us and off in the distance a little. He knew nothing about the one right next to us, because he was so focused on silly things like trying to see to drive through all the water, hail, and leaves, find a spot where it would be safe to pull over and get out, and of course- trying to keep an eye on the tornado ahead. I knew nothing about the huge, looming tornado in front of us because I looked out the side window first, saw a funnel-shaped cloud, and of course assumed that was the one he meant. It didn't occur to me to ask, "Do you mean this one right here beside us, or might there be another tornado you are referring to?" Darrell and Mike were looking at the larger one that caused all the destruction in the photos above, while Evan and I saw the one that split off from it.
Darrell has been thinking I was confused each time he heard me say it was right across the road, but he was trying to be nice and not say anything to correct me. I am a poor judge of distance, so I can't blame him for assuming I didn't know what I was talking about. Then he learned last night that Evan saw exactly the same thing I did. Darrell had been confused about how and why that window behind Bri's seat blew in, since the actual tornado was off in the distance in front of us. Now he knows. He was so shocked to realize he had been driving right alongside a tornado the whole time. I was shocked to hear we were driving into a tornado right in front of us. I'm glad I didn't know that at the time. One more way God protected us, I think- spared us from knowledge that would have sent us over the edge into breakdown mode. We were having a hard enough time keeping our wits about us as it was.
Darrell was talking last night about how helpless he felt- how much pressure he felt to make a decision quickly and make the right one. It had to be the right one. I can imagine how frightening and horrible that must have felt for him as the driver, to think that the fate of his family is going to hinge upon when and where he decides to stop. Of course he knows that he fate of our family was (and is) in God's hands, not his. But still... to be right in the middle of that kind of situation and have to make a snap decision that will affect everyone else with you, makes you feel as if the weight of the world is resting upon your shoulders. It just makes me even prouder of the way he handled the situation.
Anyway... I won't keep blabbing on and on about the tornado. I'm done. We will return to our regularly scheduled overshares about my undergarments, shopping dramas, and such. Thank God for that.
My mom arrives in two days and my house looks like a tornado hit it- lol. I wish I could use that as my excuse. I have to get crackin' and get this place in shape for company. I'll post some pictures after Alex's graduation next Saturday, and let you all know how the upcoming dress shopping trip goes. Wish me luck!