Not really sure what I can say today. Here in the South, we grow up with bad storms, tornadoes, hail, etc. I have been used to it all my life, and have spent some of those storms in a closet or storm shelter. Sunday afternoon we were at Hadley’s first ballet recital, and it was the cutest thing.
When we came outside, we knew the weather was getting bad, so my mom and sister-in-law headed back to Texas while there was a break, and made it safely home. We were going to start driving back to Edmond until we heard that there was a tornado that was developing just to the west. So we turned south and went to downtown OKC to wait out the storm. It touched down in Edmond and took the roofs off of about 12 houses, last I heard. Then it went on out to the east and really did some damage in Shawnee. We felt really lucky when we pulled into our driveway that night.
Yesterday, Monday, I knew there was going to be bad weather. The news was saying there was a high probability for tornadoes, and to stay aware of the weather. I took Brent’s mom and aunt down to have lunch with him in OKC, and then we went to the Myriad Gardens to let the kids play. We had a spontaneous romp in the splash pad and then put two sleepy kids in the car to pass out on the way home.
As soon as I got home I thought I should check the weather, and realized that there was a huge storm just to the south of town, and we probably just missed it in downtown. Then it was like out of nowhere that this massive tornado formed on the tv screen. The meteorologist was staying calm, but he was really concerned. Watching the tornado go from a thin one out into the country into this massive 2 and a quarter mile wide monster tearing through a town 30 minutes from us was heartwrenching. I’m sure you’ve seen pictures of how big it was. Two miles is a long way. The tornado was like a lawn mower. It literally wiped out neighborhoods and business, schools, anything in its way, down to the foundation. Even a hospital. Can you possibly imagine? Total devastation. The news is calling this the worst tornado damage in the history of the world. It looks like an atomic bomb went off. Hearing that there were children in the schools was some of the worst news of the day. However, overnight they were still searching for and rescuing people. Digging through debris and pulling people out of the rubble, uncovering storm shelters so the people could come out. They are still doing the same today, finding people and pets. The fatalities have stayed low miraculously, only 24. Obviously that number could change, but for going through the middle of a city, I am thankful that it isn’t higher. Everyone got in their storm shelters. Guess what is going in our new house? A big underground storm shelter. I can’t explain to you how blessed I feel to be able to hold my kids, have dinner in my house, and sleep in my bed. I let them stay up late and snuggle a little bit longer last night. I watched them sleep and prayed for those parents who can’t do that.
I will tell you, I am totally blown away by all of the people coming together and donating, volunteering, cleaning up, and doing everything they can to help. Millions of dollars in less than 24 hours has been raised. Businesses are donating supplies and trucks. People from out of town are helping too. Even a baseball team from West Virginia University here for a baseball tournament has been collecting supplies and taking them to Moore. It makes me proud to live here, even if I am a transplant from Texas. As we usually hear in the South, “We will rebuild.” That is what so many people are saying, and they will. The sense of community in Oklahoma is strong, and although there is so much destruction and loss, there is still hope. There is always hope.
“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” Psalm 34:18
If you feel inclined to donate, which I hope you do, please text “Redcross” to 90999 to donate $10. You can spare $10.
Or “Food” to 32333 to donate $10 to the OK Regional Food Bank.
Or “Storm” to 80888 to donate $10 to the Salvation Army.
Everyone always feels helpless, like they just can’t do anything. Thanks to technology, you can do something. Please do something.