Friday, May 27, 2011

My mom did call.

But she wasn't asking about the weather the first time.
After she checked the weather, she called a few times.
The problem is that the television channel she was watching from so many miles away is a national channel and they don't give as detailed information as our local channels do.
Our local news gives very detailed information about when the storms should arrive and what their paths will probably be.

Tuesday late afternoon & evening the storms rolled in. From what I've gathered living here, tornados and the severe weather are caused by two very different weather patterns colliding. Tuesday was a hot, muggy, grey day. Wednesday & Thursday-after the storms blew by-was beautiful. The temperature was mild and it was sunny & bright (except for a couple of little storms that passed quickly through Wedsnesday evening).

I can not believe the power those storms hold.

This is what happened at our house on Tuesday:
-around 3:15pm opened our storm shelter, swept out the cobwebs & a couple of spiders, put bottled water & some chairs in it, left it open, went and checked on immediate neighbors
-around 3:30pm the calls canceling piano lessons started (miss s teaching and our teacher coming)
-around 3:45pm my mr calling to let me know their office was shutting down and he was on his way home
-later-quick early dinner
-then the gathering of our 72 hour emergency kit with a bit of additional food & I told the kids to get their shoes (which is a big deal, because we don't ususally wear shoes in the house) on and be ready to go when we gave the word
-little mr. j was looking bewildered, so I told him to go pick one toy that he loves to bring with him if we were getting in the shelter.
-the girls gathered their "stuff"
-little mr. b grabbed one item
-the tornado sirens went off
-a couple of different times
-my mr. kept talking to the boys about what was the worst that could happen

That's when it really feels real. The sirens and the almost ready to get in the ground-ness.
Those sirens go off every Saturday at noon. If they go off any other time, that means somethings going on.
It means that a tornado has touched down in our county. Now our county is quite large, so it doesn't mean the tornado is right by us, but it does mean "stop-pay attention-something is going on."
We use a small satalite for our television. We've been really fortunate with our reception. It only goes out when the rain/wind/wild weather is really bad.  When it goes out, we use laptops or radio to get our information about the path of the storms.

-I told the kids to use the bathroom (if we were going to be stuck in that hole for any amount of time, it would be nice to not have to deal with that issue-I think I know what's next in our emergency prep. supply purchaces).

Our shelter is in the floor of our garage-between two car stalls. Basically it is a concrete and steel cellar. Our door hinges up and has large pins we can push in to hold the door tight. I can stand up in it, but I think my. mr would have to hunch over. Our friends (who live way north of us) had 10 people in theirs Tuesday. It would be tight, but I think we could fit that many in ours.

It's best to get below ground if possible-they tell us & after watching the news, I totally beleive them.  For people who don't have below ground shelters or safe rooms (rooms above ground that are fortified to withstand the storms), they are counseled to go to a room at the inside most of their home-preferably without windows. Lots of people take pillows or mattresses to put on top of them. It seems like some are joking when they say put on helmets if you have them, but they do. Some folks have to hide in the bathtub.
Even with those precautions, there were still a few fatalities this week. It's heart wrenching and sad.
I think I saw a report that only 3% of houses in the USA have storm shelters. I hope (& think) that number is much higher around here. (Our "fraidy hole" has only been used one time by our builder while the house was still under construction. It's been open and ready a few times & I am glad we have it.)

There are community shelters available. A friend of mine (cute newlywed) & her husband went to a school near their apartment. Many schools and some other places open their doors for people who don't have shelters in their homes. I think the scary thing with that is getting there before the storms come.

In our Family Home Evening Monday night, we had talked about what we should do in emergencies. I think we were all well prepared (that's the one blessing we have-we know the storm is coming).  They all handled it very well.

But, one thing my mr. kept saying really got my attention.  He kept telling the kids, "It's just a house, it's just things, we can replace things. What's most important is our family." "It's just a house. It's just a house. It's just a house." It seemed odd to me that he would keep saying that to them & I later asked him why he kept saying that. He told me that they were worried about our home being destroyed. I asked him if he knew that's what they were worried about. If he had asked them what scared them the most. He hadn't but he was convinced that was what they were most scared about.

my mr.'s family lost their home in a fire when he was about little mr. b's age. He was the one that woke up and discovered it and had to wake the rest of the family so they could all get out of the house.
I think I know what worried my mr. the most.
He was right.
It's only a house. It can be replaced.
Our most valuable item is our family.
And we were together.
And we were safe.

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