Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The hail and the "tomato"....

Blogging and my life seem to be in conflict these days.  There don't seem to be enough hours in the day to accomplish all the things on my "to-do" list and still try and fit in a few blog posts here and there. My son's school fundraiser (the one that I've mentioned a few times in previous posts that I'm helping co-chair)---well thank goodness it's almost here, it's taking place at the end of this month and and so that is going to keep me busy these next few weeks with having to make extra trips up to his school for planning meetings.  Also, we registered Noah for t-ball this spring--he starts practice this week and his first game is this Friday. We're super excited about him starting baseball.   So as soon as I pick up our little guy in the afternoons from school, we are usually off and running to either gym class, Karate and/or now t-ball-- all of which last until the early evening.  And then when we get home its dinner, homework, bath and bed.  And I'm sure all you mothers out there know who have your own busy schedules---I'm so pooped out by the end of the day---I'm usually ready for bed myself and don't feel like staying up late to work on the 'ole blog   After this month is over, life is hopefully going to slow down a bit and my goal is to catch up on my blog posts after that.  So please bear with me friends if my posts continue to be sparse through the month of April...

One recent event that we experienced that I wanted to share is this crazy weather we had recently.  We had a terrible storm blow through this way two weeks ago.   It ended up being a really nasty one that left widespread damage--something that we really weren't prepared for.    To make matters worse, it came upon us late at night and since it was a slow moving storm---it settled in and stayed for a few hours.  We were pummeled with golf-ball size hail, severe high winds, and as Noah kept calling them...."tomatoes!"...(a/k/a...tornadoes).  Oh how I love my son's descriptive words...I'm going to miss them when he gets older.  :-)

Within about 10 minutes of the storm hitting us around 9pm the night of the storm, we heard the first tree in our backyard snap in two and hit the ground.  It was scary to say the least.  We then almost immediately lost our power and it was about that time that we decided we better take cover in our little laundry room with the flashlights, as many pillows as we could find with our cell phones and iPad in tow.  The storm was brutally loud--every time I heard another tree branch hit the ground loudly, I just prayed that the next one wouldn't land on our roof.  Or even worse, that the tornado would not come in our direction.  When the hail started to rain down---it got even louder.  We decided at that point it was best to all three say a prayer together.  Jody offered it and almost immediately my worries and concerns for our safety seemed to dissipate.  Isn't the power of prayer amazing?  I had a sense of peace wash over me and knew that we were being watched over and that everything would be okay.

One funny moment I have to one point while we were waiting out the storm in the laundry room, I stepped out to get some was getting pretty hot with all three of us cramped in there!!   Noah yelled out and grabbed me, "No can't go out there---the tomato will get you!"  Jody and I just cracked up.  Little man didn't seem scared at all though during the storm----in fact, he was pretty excited by it all.  I was surprised that the loud noise didn't scare him--so I was extremely proud of him.  He seemed more concerned about our well being than any fears of the storm.  It was really sweet.

After spending something like 45 minutes cramped in the hot laundry room, the storm eased up a bit, so we moved out into the den area with our flashlights to see if we could get a look outside at how many trees and branches we had lost.  It was still raining pretty hard, but as we shown our flashlights in the backyard, we were alarmed to find one of our big branches laying on the electrical line in the alley---it had snapped the line above the back fence in  in two and sparks and flames were flying everywhere--the tree was actually on fire.  Jody called 9-1-1 and Noah was all excited by it---he even tried to grab the phone from Jody.  He said he needed to tell the 9-1-1 operator what was going on.  Of course we didn't let him talk on the phone, but I assure you--he would have if we had given him the chance.   ;-)  No firetrucks or police ever came to the house to put the fire out---.that was a little disconcerting for us, but I'm sure there were much more severe problems they were dealing with than our little tree fire.  Thankfully the rain kept coming down and it finally doused the fire.

At around midnight, Noah finally passed out in our bed but Jody and I stayed awake a bit longer to keep a watchful eye on the tree to make sure the fire was completely out.

By the time Friday morning came, we were finally able to go outside to fully assess the damage.  Thankfully our home and front yard were all in good condition--it was mainly the trees in our backyard that suffered most of the damage.  We were surprised to find that the umbrella and Noah's play equipment had not been damaged by the storm.

The only real inconvenience was that we didn't get our power back on until about 24 hours after the storm passed and let me just say, I have a renewed appreciation for electricity---we are so blessed to have it.  You realize in times like this how you too often take for granted such things as air conditioner, working lights, running water, etc.   Everything in my refrigerator and freezer spoiled and had to be thrown out.  But given the fact that we were not hurt and our home and cars were not damaged--we were so, so very blessed in the end.  Absolutely no complaints here.

If you look closely at this picture below, you can see the electrical line behind our house that is broken in two and just laying in the alley---it laid this way for over 48 hours before the electric company was able to send workers out to repair it.

Most of the schools were cancelled in our area the next day due to all the damage and since we were without electricity all day Friday, we drove around town for a while to see how bad the damage was.  It was a bit weird and euphoric to see so many people driving around on a weekday.  Everyone seemed to be in a bit of shock.  An abnormal amount of people were walking down all the streets in the center portion of town sweeping, shoveling --there were massive joint neighborhood efforts to try and clean up the mess and begin repairs.  Contractor trucks were parked everywhere all down the neighborhood streets doing estimates and starting roof and window repairs.   We were shocked once we hit the center of town---it was quickly apparent that they had received the brunt of the storm damage.  Office windows were blown out everywhere and it was unbelievable how many cars were covered in hail damage. The picture above is our local Sonic that we usually go to....their sign was completely blown out...and across the street from this is the BMW dealership---I don't have a picture to show you unfortunately, but every single car on their lot was completely totaled by all the hail damage.

Hail damage outside Jody's office building --- all the leaves were blown off every single tree and plant outside his office.  The bust stop was bench was damaged severely as you can see above.  In the picture below are the piles of hail from the night before--what's crazy is this picture was taken mid-day in 80 plus degree weather.

 All through neighborhoods we saw brick wall/fences around homes completely knocked over from the wind damage...

Hail packed high around people's homes---one home had hail packed all the way to the top of their front door---they were having to shovel through to get their front door open--just crazy!

The 80 degree heat didn't seem to be melting the hail anytime soon...

We saw so many beautiful homes that had their windows completely blown out....

Both of these neighbors cars---their windows were completely blown out and you can't see it well in the picture, but both vehicles were also covered in hail damage.

Most of the homes and businesses in the center of town that have stucco--they look like this --as if  someone just shot them up with a machine gun.  

It was really sad when we drove through this's one of our favorite---every single home had severe water damage, all the windows were blown out of most homes and the landscaping was demolished.

All in all...we're tremendously grateful that we only had the minor tree damage and temporary loss of power to our home.  It could have been much, much worse.  It's times like these that make me grateful for all the little things that we so often take for granted in this modern world we live in... clean, running water in our homes, electricity to power and cool our homes, refrigerators/freezers to store our food, the overall safety and security we feel from having the shelter of our home.   How vulnerable you feel when these things are taken away or diminished in some form or fashion.

  It was also a reminder to us of the importance of having 72 hour emergency kits in place for our family.  And equally so,  having adequate food storage in the event there is a natural disaster and you are left without adequate resources.  The nearest big city for is 5 hours away and so if the grocery stores and restaurants are impacted along with access to gas stations---all too quickly I could see through this experience that if this storm had been any worse, we really might have found ourselves in a tough situation.
It's pretty humbling when you are in distress and call 9-1-1 and they tell you that due to the high volume of calls they are receiving, most likely they won't be able to send anyone out to help you.  That is what we were told when we called in the second time about our tree being on fire during the storm.

Our little family learned multiple lessons through this experience about the areas where we are lacking when it comes to emergency preparedness.  I am now fully committed to ensuring that if we are faced with something like this again, we will be more prepared.  There is no denying that natural disasters are occurring more frequently in this world --  our weather in general is becoming more and more unpredictable.   I definitely think it's time to take heed to the counsel I have heard for so many years about establishing an adequate food storage for our family and ensuring that our 72 hour kits are always in place by doing regular 2-3 month inventories.

Lessons learned from this experience.....

Oh, and there's no doubt, we'll always remember and smile when we think back of Noah calling the tornadoes....tomatoes so excitedly. Too precious.  :-)

We're super grateful that Heavenly Father watched over us on this night during this scary storm....



  1. Wow I can not believe those pictures. I bet that was a very long night for you. So strange to see all of the demage and then you umbrella was still standing.

  2. Wow Jennifer those pictures are so scary. I'm glad you and your family are safe but I feel sorry for all the damages. We've heard about the tornado (tomato..=) ) here but I didn't think that was that serious. Heavenly Father really protected your family!

  3. i sometimes dream about tornadoes (love that your little guy calls them 'tomatoes'), but i've never actually encountered one. i'm sure that was a nerve-wracking experience. i'm so glad your family was protected, and what a precious demonstration of your son's love for you. :)

  4. Wow. Those pictures are incredible. I cannot imagine the discouragement of emerging from a storm to that kind of damage. I am glad that you and yours are safe and sound. What an experience!

  5. oh i am so glad you guys are safe! i grew up in missouri and know what that is like! your pictures are incredible. amazing, jaw dropping, humbling. you and jody are so neat - helping with the clean up, always doing things for others with your busy lives. what an example you are. so glad you are okay! xoxo

  6. Okay--so last night I dreamed there was a "tomato" out my way. My whole family went down to the basement for safety... Glad to know it was only a dream! I think your post made a big impact on me. :)

  7. Thanks so much everyone....Jen--sorry you had that dream about the "tomato"--those aren't fun. :-(


Copyright @ .. Blog Design by KotrynaBassDesign