Beware The Ides Of May……..

Yesterday I survived my first-and hopefully last-tornado. 

Being from the east coast, I have had my share of hurricanes, but not tornadoes.  Hurricanes give you several hours, if not days, to prepare.  Tornadoes do not.  They give you mere minutes. 

Picture it:  May 15, 2018.  Connecticut.  I got off work around 2PM because the office A/C was not working and the temperature outside was a very humid & stifling 85 degrees.  I went home, put on the A/C, had a snack and fell asleep.  I was awoken at around 4:45PM because both my cell phones were blasting the EAS (Emergency Alert System) tone.  I keep an old cell around with my TV app on it since I am too lazy to download it to my new phone.  (I know….please don’t judge).  

Tornado OXFORD

 

At first I thought it was the usual-an  amber alert-so I did not panic.  Then the automated voice came on:  

“Tornado warning in this area until 5:15PM.  Take shelter now.”

“What?????????????”, I thought.  

Then the voice repeated itself. 

“Tornado warning in this area until 5:15PM.  Take shelter now.”

I grabbed the phone to check the time.  I had less than 30 minutes to prepare.  Then I put the TV app on to watch the local news.  I heard every other word because my mind was still reeling from the shock……until the phrase “this is the kind of storm that has the potential to take the roof off a house” was spoken.  Then, panic set in.  My heart began to race.  And I started to cry.  I was never much of a crier, but in the last few years it has become my go-to thing.  And I began to pray.

Tornado WALLINGFORD

I unplugged my computer and TV because I was taught to always do that in a hurricane in case of a power surge.  I live in a small cottage and every room has windows except the bathroom, so I threw whatever necessities I could grab-like Snapple bottles, my meds-into my pocketbook, grabbed a folding chair from the closet and went into the bathroom.  

I was terrified but tried to focus on how to stay as safe as possible during the next few minutes.  I texted “We are under a tornado watch WTH” to my dear sweet cousin, Gina, who lived in Alabama for over a decade and knew the tornado drill like the back of her hand.  She is also a former nurse and one of the best moms I have ever seen so I knew she would help me just by answering my text so I would not feel so alone.  But when she texted back “OMG”, I think I threw up a little (I can’t really remember…..it is still a blur).

Then the Gina I know, love and admire started texting me instructions:  “Bathroom safest place if there is no basement.”  Check.  “Watch means conditions are favorable.  Warning means tornado has been spotted”.  Check.  “Plug in all your communicative devices-phone, computer.  Keep things plugged in in case you lose power.”   Leave bathroom to plug in computer and grab phone chargers.  Check. 

Then I heard the rain & hail hitting the windows and heard the glass bottles in my outside recyclable bins rattling.  I heard something heavy hit my roof and the lights began to flicker.  “It’s here” I texted Gina.  In the past she told me that when a tornado is close it sounds like a train.  The lights started flickering so the news app went off.  Then the power went out and, as Johnny Cash sang in “Folsom Prison Blues“, I heard the train a-coming.  Except for when my dad died and I felt like an orphan (despite being way over the age of 21), I have never been so scared.   I texted Gina that the power went out but miraculously it came back on less than 10 seconds later.  Then I told her I was scared.  And I started praying even harder. 

Tornado A-DAMAGE

Then, oddly enough, I remembered Cloud Nine’s manager & resident Baptist, Glenn, praying to Allah in the Superstore episode where they were hit by a tornado.  That must have given me enough momentary peace to slow my heartrate down for a second and suddenly the news app came back on.  The lights flickered a few more times but the power remained on.  Thank you, Jesus.

More texts from Gina:  “R U listening to weather?   Do you have sirens?”  (Where she lived they have tornado sirens, but we only have the EAS.)  

“Just listen to weather and stay in bathroom.  It has more support.  Trying to see on radar when the rain storm will pass.”

Then the weatherman said the winds were down to 85 from 100 so I texted Gina this development.

“It is passing.  10 more minutes it should calm down”.

“Can you hear the wind?”

“What is your zip code?”  (I knew she was checking the online reports of the storm for me.)

“It says it will continue to rain but tornado warning will cease.”

I thanked her for staying with me while I was so scared.

“It is very scary.  CT NBC has a site.  Put in your zip code and you get alerts and watch where the storm is moving.”

Tornado CHESHIRE

Then her wonderful news about the storm diminishing was confirmed by the news team I was watching.  The worst was over.  I was OK, so was my house, and so was my car.  Thank you, God.

The pictures in this post are ones I found online of some of the storm damage.  These towns are not far from me.  As the saying goes, it could have been SOOOOOOO much worse for me.  I could have been in the car driving, or at a place that was not as safe as my house.  Scary.        

Thank you, sweet Gina, for ALWAYS being my hero & my biggest cheerleader.  And hats off to all you southerners who deal with tornadoes as part of your lives.  I have no idea how you do it.   

Until next time, happy digging!!!  And stay safe!!!

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2 thoughts on “Beware The Ides Of May……..

  1. Thank God, you weren’t hurt and your house wasn’t damaged! I live in N.J. and we’ve had some weird storms in recent times too. It’s good to know what to do, in case! It’s great that you have Gina, to comfort and support you, and even greater- is your faith in God, who will protect you and always be with you!!

    Like

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