I thought when I moved here I'd be sheltered from tornadoes. Our small town sits right at the base of Monteagle Mountain, which has usually protects us from the worst storms.
Not so Wedneday night.
I left for church (which is right beside my house) at a quarter to seven. Jeff was at work, and it had just started to sprinkle. I wrapped Bebo up in a jacket, even though it was ridiculously warm. I knew storms had been forecasted, but had no idea there were tornado warnings for our area. No sooner had we sat down and begun services than the power went out. It was pitch black in the auditorium. Everyone that had cells turned them on, and we decided to sing a bit, say a prayer, and wait for the lights to come on.
We'd gotten through the first verse of the second song, and one of the deacons burst through the back doors screaming "Get under the pews! Get under the pews now!"
Those of you who know me well know how terrified I am of tornadoes. All I could think about was getting Braeden safely under the pew, but he was frozen in place from fear. I finally wrestled him down to the floor and wrapped my arms around him as tightly as I could. There wasn't room for both of us under the pew, so I scrunched in as close as I could without pushing him out the other side. One of our elders said a prayer, and in just a few moments, they told us it was okay to get up.
I thought it had all been a false alarm - but I was very wrong. I'm still not sure which direction the thing went, but I know that it hit all the houses on the street behind me. It skipped over the corner where house and the church sits, and hit the Baptist church across the road.
I immediately began trying to call Jeff. Almost everyone around here uses Verizon, so the network was busy. I finally got through and we exchanged "I'm okays." I went to the house to inspect the damage. The power was out everywhere, and the police and ambulances were just heading to the Baptist church. I couldn't see much, though a huge limb had fallen by our old Lumina. At first I thought it had escaped harm, but I realized later that it had gotten dinged up quite a bit - though it was just body damage. Around midnight we discovered that the power meter had been ripped from the back of the house, but thankfully nothing had caught fire.
Amazingly, the house was okay. I really expected there to be nothing left - but God was really watching out for us. In fact, I think He was keeping an eye on the whole town. No one had life-threatening injuries. One woman did have a broken pelvis - but she survived being in her house when the tornado tore it completely from its foundation.
I took pictures when the rain let up, and then some during the daylight hours yesterday. You can see them on my photo blog. I've seen worse - but it's rather unnerving to realize your sense of security in a place was a false one.
Somewhere around 3-4 pm yesterday our power and phone lines were restored. Today has been (at least for me) business as usual - though I'm still offering little "thank you, Lord!" prayers every time I think of how much worse it could have been.
Oh, one more thing - the bludgeoned, half-burned recliner was still sitting in the yard, and despite debris flying all around it, it did not budge.