01 July 2011

Our First Midwest Tornado, Almost

Yesterday, I had the children in their room dressed after a bath and we decided to go say good night to their Dziadek before he went home.  It was supposed to be an early bedtime with Mama feeling a bit grumpy for no good reason.

I glanced out the window and saw a dark cloud over the house but since the storms normally come from West to East, in other words, toward the Lake, so I figured a storm just missed us.  But the sky looked yellow.  And the trees were moving differently under the abuse of the Prairie Winds.

"There is storm coming from the Lake toward us, I just saw it.  It was starting there and looks Nasty."  My father proclaims while holding his youngest wnuczka (granddaughter in Polish) while his older wnuczka was singing for him in her nightgown.

I look back outside the window and all the sky is black.  This was much faster than normal.

The power went out and suddenly, a squirming toddler froze in her Dziadek's arms and a school aged child sat next to them without speaking. 

The power didn't return as we held our breathes.  "Alright, time for bed.  Dobra noc, Dziadek!  Ja cie kocham!  Buska!" I called out as the children repeated the words and kissed him goodnight.

We walked upstairs and a sudden gust of wind slams against the front of the house, blowing curtains through the seams of the windows.  My heart leaped in surprise.  The wind never blows against the front of our house.

The tornado siren went off.  I listened, knowing it was the tornado siren because they go off once a month here testing that they work properly.  But my mind was still in Maryland and thinking that it was a call to the volunteer fire department.  A second wail of the siren and I told the children, "Back downstairs, in the bathroom, it's the tornado sirens."

My oldest ran down the stairs and on the floor of the bathroom, kneeled, bent down with her face over her head, like she was taught in school.  The baby sat in my lap as I listened. 

I could hear my older daughter whispering "Dear God, please don't let there be a tornado."

The men went outside to see.  I comforted the kids and said, "Don't worry, if they run in yelling, do as you are told, but don't worry.  The siren goes off if there is a chance of a tornado but doesn't always mean one."

My father and husband came back in to comfort us that they had not seen a tornado but to be safe, we should sit on the sofa nearby the bathroom for now.  The tornado sirens had ended.

On the sofa, the toddler continued to stay quietly in my arms looking around and not wiggling as she normally does.  Eventually, the dark and the quiet made her fall asleep.  My older daughter hugged me and asked questions every so often.

The men came back in and said that the storm was just lightening and not to worry, the sirens were gone, go to bed.

I laid down the toddler and tucked in my older daughter in her room, who was so terrified still that she wanted me to sleep with her.   After a while, the power flickered back on, then flickered again and went out.  I saw outside a shower of sparks around a tree.  A power line was broken.  There would be no electricity for a while.

After a time, she fell asleep and I went outside to look at the lightening that was clustered around a point a bit away from us, the same spot over and over flashing with lightening for at least a half hour.

I went back inside but a few minutes later, an opossum walked by our open garage and by husband and father standing outside.  The opossum glanced into the garage and wandered off.  Darn, the kids could have had a pet.

Electricity was restored late this morning.  But it will take a lot longer for my older daughter to forget about that day.

I share this per the request of Dine and Write, also known as @thepolishviking on Twitter, who is an amazing cook and apparently secretly a fan of "storm chasers".  The post I was planning to share about curry rice and Chicken po Staropolska can wait for another day.


Liv V. said...

I loved reading it! Grazie mille :)

Luisa Rodríguez said...

I must have been really scary. Thank God you guys are all right!