Bad Weather

Let’s see – major storms hit the area, power is off for a few days; What are you going to do?  Well Jack, we are going to Disney World!!

That’s right – the older kids already had a trip to Disney World planned with their middle school band and I was up in the air on what to do – do I go or do I stay?  The night they were supposed to leave came a major tornado outbreak.  I remember the tornadoes of 1974 and I think this storm was far worse.  Although I will admit I didn’t realize how bad the night was until the next day.  I may not have realized it until I got to Florida but it finally did pierce my perception that the storms were a major event in my life.   The departure was delayed from Wednesday night at 7:00 pm due to tornado warnings to the next morning at 6:15 am.  A very good move in my opinion.

On Wednesday night, our power went out at 5:20 pm.  That was the last the power was on until the following Monday.  In fact, all of Huntsville was without power.  This was unprecedented.  The picture below shows part of the “why” the power went out everywhere and “why” it was off so long:

Storm damage after April 2011 Tornado

So, on Wednesday morning , school start was delayed for 2 hours due to storms the night before.  So I dropped the kids off at 10:00 and headed to a doctor’s appointment.  Lucy forgot her jacket so I went home after the appointment to find a jacket for her (even though it is already getting pretty warm, her classroom gets chilly).  It was sunny and I thought the bad weather had passed already.  By the time I got home, the sky was clouding over and schools were dismissing at 12:30 in preparation for the storm.  I was surprised but I’ve been around long enough to know that just because schools close early for storms, it doesn’t mean we will get storms.  But I did click on the TV long enough before leaving for school and found that we were under an actual tornado warning.  Hmm – don’t trust the sky!!  I had to wait to pick up the kids until the warning was over – about 20 minutes past the school closing time.

Driving home from school, the skies literally opened up (can I say literally?  Because what does ‘skies open up’ really mean?!!).  I had the kids with me and all I could think of was getting home.  I was driving a road I have driven since I was 16 (34 years!!) and the rain was coming down so hard that I did not know where I was.  I was crawling along the highway looking for my turn when hail started raining down on us.    I didn’t think visibility could get worse but it did.  I started to turn when I realized I was not where I thought I was.  I don’t know if I’ve ever driven in heavier rain.  One of the kids suggested stopping at the hotel where I had made my premature turn but I pressed on.  In retrospect, I probably should have stopped although nothing bad happened to us but I wouldn’t have known it was coming since I couldn’t see more than 10 feet in any direction.  I did hear later that some tornadoes dropped out of the sky during the hail storm so I do feel lucky.

When we got home, I opened my bedroom window so I could hear a tornado if it came (not the best method but I figured I would hear a train!) and the kids finished packing for their trip to Disney World.  The weather seemed to clear up so I ran a few errands for the trip.

I wanted to give the kids some cash but was running late – I stopped at the bank anyway.  It turns out that if I  hadn’t stopped at that time I wouldn’t have been able to use the ATM once the power went off.  That was one good decision anyway!  I just wished I had thought to fill up my gas tank.

We went to the school at departure time but there was another warning in place.  We reconvened a few hours later but it seemed to be a bit dangerous to leave still.  They left at early o’clock on Thursday.

Lucy and I followed a few hours later – we weren’t sure if we were going to go or just hang out in Huntsville but once the power went off – the decision was easy!  I do have a lot of pets but my ex-husband took care of them while we were gone.  He also called to let us know the power situation.  We didn’t start for home until the power started coming on in the city.

I feel for the multitudes of people who lost family, friends and/or property.  We were incredibly lucky in many ways.

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