Thursday, April 10, 2008

We're not in Kansas anymore, but we're close...

With a 3-week old baby and two six-month old puppies, I was enjoying a rare stretch of REM sleep Thursday morning when tornadoes hit the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Officially, the top wind speeds of 75-87 mph makes this a category 0 or 1 on the Fujita Scale, but I would not want to be around a category 5.

Perspective from the ground

I was sound asleep when the lightening flashes began at 3:30am. I laughed as the thunder rolled in, because I knew that the sleep was too good to last, but this time something was different. The sky was darker than usual, the lightening increased until it flashed without stop, and through the streaks I saw colors of blue and black that belong in bruises, not the sky. Next, I heard the sound of an onrushing train, followed by the shrill scream "Mommy!" coming from my 5-year old daughter upstairs. My wife was nursing our newborn so I ran upstairs, realizing that the power was out and with it our night lights. It was fire drill time - I sent Izzy crying down the stairs and pulled Cade out of his bed to follow. Then into Kyra's room to jerk her out of bed and drag her down into the tornado shelter we have under the stairwell in our closet. Mommy and baby sat in a heap of clothes while the other 4 of us huddled around the flashlight listening to the roar of the storm.

It was over in less than 5 minutes.

I went out to the garage to listen to the car radio (note to self: put an emergency radio in the shelter) and heard the news of the storm front travelling at 45 mph, already east of our town. The sirens had stopped, although frankly I had barely noticed them in the first place, and we began to lay out futons on the floor in our bedroom for the kids to sleep.

A New Day Dawns

The morning commute to school was a complete mess, with power lines and fallen brick walls blocking every other road. But we had a beautiful sunny day, and by noon my phone, Internet, and power were restored. I got to meet many of my neighbors as we all cleaned up the mess, and apparently no one was injured in the entire DFW region, which is amazing.

Here's a sample of photos around my neighborhood.

That's my 75-pound propane grill tossed into the middle of the yard.

There's a reason no sports teams choose "Fences" as their mascot - last night the score was Tornadoes 89,000 and Fences 0.

"Chimneys" wouldn't make a good team name either - this one didn't do so well.

I wonder if this is why my power was out...

This trampoline went through the bedroom window.

That black circle in the tree is my neighbor's trampoline, landed on the fairway 250 yards from home. Those who know me remember that's farther than any tee shot I've ever had.

But all's well that ends well - this is Wilson at 2.5 weeks old.

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