Monday, April 9, 2012

Tornado Tuesday

I went to work on Tuesday morning just like any other. By lunch time was starving and ready to lean back in my chair and relax my aching back. I was heating my Lean Cuisine in the microwave and leisurely eating my peanut butter crackers while I was waiting for the main meal to get hot. I started hearing muffled sirens outside. I work in South Dallas so sirens aren't really anything new. I kept hearing them and had the thought cross my mind several times "that is such a weird sounding police car/ambulance". The assistant came back and was eating lunch with me and chatting when her husband called her and said there was a tornado in the town right by us and heading our way. That's when I realized they were tornado sirens not ambulance sirens. We went out to the front to look out the windows and it was barely raining. Our internet wasn't working and I decided to call B to see if he had heard anything.

He was studying at home (15 minutes from where I work). There were no sirens and the weather was fine where he was. He started looking it up on the weather channel. He found a live view of the storm and confirmed that it was in Lancaster, which is a town very close to where I work. Everyone was on their phones trying to figure out where exactly this tornado was and we were getting info that it was coming from Lancaster toward Pleasant Grove/Balch Springs. B had told me that it was/is headed straight for us, but predicted to turn right before coming to us. He started telling me how crazy it was, and how it was tossing semi trucks in the air. I stayed on the phone with him and he then said that it was not turning. Confirmations that it was touching down and headed right down Hwy 20. Then it was crossing over Hwy 20 and toward Hwy 175 (or LBJ, or 635- Why does each hwy have to have 3 names?). This is very close to where we were. We decided better safe than sorry and went over to the Walgreens because their building is a lot stronger than ours. We stood outside watching for awhile and all the sudden I could see IT. It was moving pretty fast and we watched for awhile and then decided to go into the bathroom and wait for a few minutes.

There were several people huddled in the large handicapped stall. I was still on the phone and asking where it was and if it was passed us. Finally B said that it had dissipated in our area and it was safe to go out, but the storm was still moving towards Mesquite/Sunnyvale (where B was). He said the sirens had started to go off at home by this time.

There was a bit of damage in Mesquite, I didn't hear or see too much in Sunnyvale except some 2 inch hail. Then this storm had re-gained momentum to touch down in Forney and rip it up.

Later we heard that the tornado actually touched down on Elam road which is literally 2 streets south of where we were. It dissipated above us, but the same storm cell headed over to Mesquite. Since it had dissipated, it was trying to gain momentum again, and hit across the street from my Dad's office. Only one building, but that one building was completely torn up. The roof is gone, the back and side wall gone. Its so weird that tornados can be so random. From there, that same cell gained the momentum needed, and hit Forney with an EF-3 tornado.

In 18 years of living in Texas and hearing the tornado sirens go off at least 2 times every summer, I have never been in the eye of the storm. I love the sound of tornado sirens, maybe that's weird. I love the strong wind and the crazy color changes of the sky, and I've been through enough tornados to know that even if the sirens are going off it doesn't mean that your town is 'for sure' going to get hit. The likelihood of a tornado actually hitting the house or building you are in is slim, but this time hearing how powerful it was and where it was (2 blocks from where I was) was enough for me to actually take precautions. The last count I heard was 14 tornados in the DFW area that day. Crazy! Its so easy to feel silly after something like this happens and you don't get hit, but the fact is you never know. Tornado have a mind of their own and can change directions so easily. This made me realize that you can never be too safe. We have some family friends who's neighborhood was destroyed by this tornado. What a blessing no one was killed in these tornados!

And this is only the beginning of tornado season.


Megan said...

Yikes! So glad you're all unharmed!

AmyJ said...

I know what you mean about liking the storms...I do too! It sounds weird, but I do, and I almost miss that about living here. Those storms made national news here, and I texted your sisters to see if you all were ok down there, and thankfully they said you were! I heard it was pretty scary for a while. I heard the Earl's home/subdivision in Forney suffered some pretty severe damage! I'm so glad no one was seriously hurt or killed! How scary!!

Tyler + Zahara said...

Thats freaky! I would be running home ha ... So glad you guys are fine :)

Anonymous said...

Yikes, yikes and yikes!!! I forgot about this part of living there. I was so grateful you guys were unharmed that day (especially after we saw the news clip).
I do understand what you mean about the sirens and the colors...I remember it being rather exciting!!
Stay safe little Hansens. We love you!

Mom Hansen

Kendra said...

That is so scary! I'm glad you are all safe. I think they are incredible (although I've never seen one in real life) but I think people are crazy when they go tornado chasing. That's just playing with death. Again, glad you are safe and didn't experience any damages.

Carrie said...

oh my goodness! like you said, the storm is always kind of fun, but i think the fun would stop if i actually SAW the tornado. i never saw one growing up but that would be the factor that would change my attitude from excitement to fear. just seeing your picture put a little fear in me. tornados are so unpredictable. i'm so happy all my family is safe and that no one even got killed! that really is such a blessing!