Sunday, August 9, 2015

Too Late to Take Shelter

Friday night I checked the Doppler weather radar website to see what my chances were of being sucked up into Nebraska or blown into Oklahoma while I slept. There was an ugly storm in Northwest Kansas but it appeared to be tracking north, missing Wabaunsee County - if it made it this far east. I went to bed and slept like a baby - if we are talking about a grumpy, cussing baby with aches and pains in every joint and muscle in her body.

Eventually I fell asleep only to become conscious sometime later of a howling wind raging outside. It has to be loud for me to hear it inside my snug little house. I could see the trees thrashing violently in the constant lighting. The tones in the wind were frightening.

I got up to look west out the front door, the expected direction of most tornadoes. The wind was driving the rain into a blinding white maelstrom. It was too late to take shelter in the basement in the north end of the old garage, a football field away from the front door.

I was not afraid (yet) but the thought did cross my mind of a headline: Old Kansas Woman Dead in Tornado - What Are The Odds?

I paced from window to door while the storm raged, listening to things slam against the side of the house. I turned the computer on but just as the Doppler radar page was about to open, the electricity went out. I went back to bed and listened to the angry winds escalate until the worst was over. When I got up Saturday morning and looked out, the world certainly had a bedraggled look to it. Jake was safe, and I could see the horses were alright. I could hear the last little hen clucking in her pen. We all made it safely through the night  but I could hear my neighbor's dog mournfully howling and that worried me.

It was too early to call, in case they were perfectly fine and still asleep, so I thought to simply drive past their house, just in case. There were two large uprooted trees blocking the road between my house and theirs, so I had to go out to the interstate then take Snokomo Road, a trip of about 13 miles. When I got to their house my neighbor was already in the yard. A very large tree was down across their driveway to the west, too. They were trapped in their own yard, but their house was fine, my neighbor was fine and so was his dog.

It was not long before the farmers were out with their big tractors and heavy equipment clearing the downed trees. The rural electric employees were already on the scene. They came to my house to make sure my lines were up, and shortly afterward the electricity came on. A bit after that another neighbor stopped by to make sure I was okay.

It made me feel good to know that if a tornado had blown me over into Missouri, someone would have eventually been looking for my dumbass.

Evidence of the roaring winds

Big healthy trees were broken

This tree was uprooted and blocking Vera Road

Over 3" of rain in a short time turns a ravine into a roaring "creek".  You can see from the downed grass how deep the water had been just a few hours earlier.

The rushing water scoured a wide patch out of Vera Road

Another uprooted tree blocking my neighbors from leaving their home


AndaRFitz said...

Glad you were okay mom! And your critters, your neighbors, and their critters too!

AndaRFitz said...

Just for the record your daughter and brother would come look for you!

Kathleen Gault said...

Wow -- glad you are ok!

Jackie said...

It's always exciting to live in big storm country!