Thursday, July 29, 2010

Tornado - Yuppers!


The week seemed fairly normal.

Michael needed new shoes, so we went shopping for them.

A very dear friend sent me an incredible selection of vanilla beans, which I can't wait to use!

Michael managed to block a toothbrush shot.

He flew at gymnastics.

We had a nice Shabbat, with another trip to the blueberry farm and a visit to my folks, where I got to make my dad some CC cookies.

Sunday, after church, Michael went on a paintball wargame with friends, and I stayed home and sewed.

It was Monday that got a bit unusual.

We did regular morning stuff, had lunch and did school work...

But in the afternoon we got a surprise cloudburst. I'll copy what I wrote in an email to save some time here... (There's a lot of 'and thens' in there.)

I looked outside and it was raining. Michael ran out to make sure the van windows were closed, by the time he got back it was pouring. The lightning was hitting about every 30 seconds and we had several very close strikes. Then the wind got really strong. Then we got hail stones about 3/4 inches across - the biggest I'd ever seen. And then I wondered about tornadoes. We don't get them very often or very strong in this part of the state, though I'd seen one when we first moved here. But I never expected one to hit right here, where it is rolling hills and large patches of woods.

We saw the debris begin to fly over the house down toward the garden. I turned around to look out the family room window and saw the trees being whipped violently. Then a tremendous crash and the whole house shuddered.

I said "Tornado." to Michael, thinking it has slammed up against the side of the house, as I've experienced wind do before. But we saw the tornado progress along the front, then disappear.

The tornado didn't even move a plastic chair on the front deck, but 30 feet away it lifted and overturned a heavy oak table set, with all the chairs fastened securely on the top. It was a good 5 feet away and upside down. So it was a small tornado, but definitely bigger than the one I'd seen previously.

The big thud turned out to be a huge oak tree, about 80 feet high. We later discovered it must have been hit by lightning, but held until the tornado arrived and pushed it right toward Michael's bedroom. Gladly, it did not reach the house with the trunk, but only the lighter top=most branches fell on the house and back porch, wrapping around his room. I don't think the house sustained anything but superficial damage, though I lost several things out on the patio.

I called my dad, the hero, again, who came out as quickly as he could, considering the storm was still very active with heavy rain, wind and lightning. He brought out a small chain saw to cut the branches away from the house and see if there were any damage.

Here's the top of what's left of the trunk. It's about 25 feet high and 25 feet into the woods, down the slope.

The oak truck diameter is about 2 feet across. It was a tall straight one, having grown up in the woods.

Underneath that pile of greenery is an untouched mower! YAY!!!!

Here lies my beautiful stainless steel BBQ kitchenette. May she rest in pieces.

The checker bench I built for my children 20 years ago. I loved that crushed pile of painted pine lumber.

Dad worked for quite a long while. Others came to help and Dad got to take Mom back home.

Then still more arrived and worked into the night.

We had another work crew out here last night. The guys handled it all and I went to where all of us ladies packed some gift bags for needy kids, then went off to office cleaning.

I'm in need of a nap! We've got a bit more to do on the firewood cleanup. We keep having to work around the afternoon and evening thunderstorms. We are so grateful for all the help we've gotten over the past few weeks of mini-disasters!

When it rains, it pours. Wonder where that came from...?




  1. I'm glad you and your house made it okay.

    I've thankfully never been touched by tornado, flood, or blizzards or any awful natural thing. I'm thankful.

  2. Too bad about the tree and the damage!! We've had lots of rain but no big storms. Ours was a little one with a quick burst of over 70mph winds that took out part of a tree.

  3. You know that panicky smiley? If img codes worked in these forms, that's what i'd post here!


    Even we've had tornadoes spotted up here! So glad it missed your house, both the lightening and the tree. \A tree behind our house got hit a few years ago, freaky!

    At least oak is good for firewood, having it come down and be usable is at *least* something of a trade-off.

    Sad about the bench, it looks like the top part that has the checkerboard might be salvageable? I get like that with things that i have held on to, i look at it and try and decide if its worth saving or if its time to let go. Its usually not an easy decision.

    Its so nice how everyone just jumped in to help you like that, between your dad and neighbors... i keep thinking, wow. :o)

    On a side note, your back porch looks a lot like my side step. Miles of garden hose, 2 big bags of MG potting soil, i have one of those Rubbermaid or Sterilite cabinets, boots, pruners and a blue bike....right down to the Roundup pump sprayer.

    i still wish i could post that panic smiley!


  4. Faith,Glad all is ok. Very scarey!!!

  5. "It rains on the just and the unjust." The Bible.
    Been "rainin' here, but not the wet kind. A rough year, for sure.
    "Tho He slay me, yet will I serve Him." Job
    Praise God you are both safe.
    Your boy is a real doll face!

  6. So glad you both are okay, scarey! :o( I dislike storms, especially thunder and lightening storm. When I was a kid lightening hit a tree in our yard while I was outside playing, it really hadn't begun to rain or storm, just lightening hitting the tree out of nowhere. It threw bark and pieces of splintered wood approx 100yds, over into the neighbors yard and I remember( was 5-6 yrs old) feeling funny inside and my hair stood on end.

    Our son got shocked by lightening 6-7 yrs ago, when I asked him to run outside and turn off our pump because a storm was rolling in, just as he was shutting off the faucets lightening struck a big ole cottomwood tree at the end of our property and we guess the elctricity came up through the groundwater and bit him good. He said he felt like the man on Home Alone 2, that grabbed the faucet hooked to the generator. We did laugh about that and still do a bit.

    Sorry for the loss of some of your stuff, and I know you realize this, it could have been so much worse. Praising the Lord for your safety, both of you.

  7. Yay! hardly any were given many gifts here. Free firewood. That large tree stump will attract all kinds of cool birs. Michael can get a ladder and get up there with a large drill bit and drill holes all around the stump and you can mix dried fruit, p nut butter and bird seed and fill the holes and watch the birds flock in. you can also take slices of oranges now and then and hammer a large nail in the trunk for fruit eating birds. Put a bird bath near the base.

  8. wow, you all have had an adventure, (if you could call it that), for certain. Some storms scare me very much. I have leaning trees. I haven't heard of any tornados in or near the Tricities. That tree will make some beautiful firewood. Makes me wish for a wood heater. What wonderful warmth it will make. Sorry about items you lost. They're replaceble, lives aren't. Our guardians are always on duty.

  9. Faith, We keep praying for you but we aren't sure if it is working. You keep having all these disasters......yet, on second thought they could all have been much worse.

    There was damage, but nothing critical. The disaster presented and opportunity for your friends and neighbors to bless you with true acts of kindness.

    We will keep praying for you, but you need to do something about avoiding a few of these disasters.

  10. Alyse,

    Thanks. I hope you don't either. I must have needed more practice on finding joy in hardship. :oP


  11. Gramma,

    Yeah, I know several of my blogging reads have been dealing with storms as well, and in many parts of the country. It's been so hot and dry for so long here, now the summer afternoon storms are kicking in.

    Friday night, as we were driving home, we were sure there was another tremendous storm over our house, the lightning was constant, but we heard no thunder. When we finally got home, relieved that it was not there, I got on and found it was a huge thunderhead about 50 miles away. The stars were all out except all around the huge anvil in the sky. I have no idea how bad it must have been for them over there.

    Praying all my friends stay safe.


  12. Icebear,

    Tornadoes up there this year? I'm not surprised. And this is the anniversary of a tornado that killed 27 people up in Canada about 20 years ago. They do happen almost everywhere, just not with the same quantity and ferocity as in Tornado Alley.

    Yeah. I have not decided if I should repair things, or assume that God was cleaning house for me... LOL As soon as all the wood is cut and split, I'll get out there and decide what to attempt to repair. I don't think I can replace much.

    Oh, no neighbors showed up, though I'm sure if my helpful neighbor had known about it he'd have done his best to help.

    I called my dad first, then I called the families we are closest to to let them know what had happened and to ask for prayer. (This was when I still did not know the extent, as the storm was still raging.) Then, as soon as the rain had cleared, people began showing up from church. They are a wonderful blessing, our Heavenly Family!

    Somehow, I'm not surprised our back porches look very similar. LOL

    Thanks, and you ARE still the smiley queen. LOL

    (((HUGS))) right back!

  13. SBF,

    Thanks so much. :o)


  14. Cyn,

    Though He slay me... That's another of my key verses. I used it on a forum for a long time. It has been a rather Job-like month, on a smaller scale. I know and love our Father though, and know He has only the best for us. We will rejoice together when we see the end, won't we! :o)


  15. Kelle,

    Wow! So glad your son was OK. I'm sure that taught him a lesson in lightning he will always remember.

    I once nearly got electrocuted as well. Got 220 going through my torso while one hand was gripping a knob and the other gripping a handle. A short was somewhere. It is remarkable how badly you want to let go of something but simply can't. LOL Happily, my will did manage to overcome the juice before it took me out.

    I think I still twitch from it. :oP


  16. SM,

    You are always full of cool ideas! :o)

    I'm glad for the firewood. My folks paid for the flood damage, so this will help them out next winter.


  17. Sissy,

    Yeah, big leaning trees next to the house always bother me. I marvel at those who build right in the middle of the woods. But actually that might be better than right on the edge. These edge trees always lean right out at you.

    Still it's lovely to have the shade in summer!

    I hope you can get a wood stove or heater. That will be helpful if you are all electric. That bothers me if the power goes out in the winter during a snowstorm. Brrrrrrr.


  18. Chai Chai,

    Make sure you are praying for the right things. LOL You know, few challenges, rather than patience; few challenges rather than strength; few challenges rather than trust; etc.

    Seriously though, life is ALL about Him and my relationship with Him. We'll see what He's doing eventually. But it's been an interesting month. :o)


  19. Wow!!!I'm glad nobody was hurt. It could have been a lot worse. But, you already know that. lol.

  20. Wow, that was a close call Faith, glad you and Michael are okay and your home made it through the storm! Thank goodness for friends to help you out! You are truly blessed! R Dean

  21. SFG,

    You and me both. Stay safe and out of the paths of really big static electricity charges.


  22. Dean,

    Yup, pretty close. But a close miss is as good as a mile. Glad to see you posting again!


  23. Faith, Just hoping everything is OK since you have not posted for a while. We are praying for you.


I always enjoy hearing from others. If you become a regular commenter, I'll assume you are being friendly and pretty much comment regularly right back. :o) God bless and have a terrific day!