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Nov 19, 2013

30 days of thanks: surviving the mid-west storm

I've always enjoyed living in Northern Indiana for the most part.

If you know me, one of my biggest "fears" is experiencing a natural disaster. I even held this fear long before I was a home owner.

What I really like about Indiana is, we don't have hurricanes and coastal flooding. We do have the occasional river flood. Not a lot of mud slides since we lack mountains. Every now and again we experience "blizzard" type conditions and chillier than usual weather but our winters really aren't detrimental. There typically aren't issues with naturally wide-spread forest fires although we will have a common grass fire but that's mostly due to a careless person tossing a cigarette out their vehicle window. We have earth quakes but they are very minor compared to those experienced across other parts of the world. Last I checked, there aren't too many erupting volcanoes here, either.

But we do have tornadoes. And the very town we live in was wiped away by a tornado in the 70s. There's nothing left but a community building, a closed down screw factory, a church and some homes. Nothing was rebuilt.

The nice thing about coming into November and December is the peace of mind for a few months where we don't have to worry about natural disasters like tornadoes. I'm not saying we didn't know they could happen, but it's always reassuring when your chances decrease. November to me, is time to relax. It's the end of harvest. It's the calm before the holiday storm. Metaphorically speaking.

This past weekend, however, our sense of security and safety was ripped out from underneath us when we were least expecting it. Usually we are typically preparing for that "holiday storm" - some were wrapping up harvest. Many are out hunting as the beginning of shot gun season started this week. Some were putting out holiday decorations before the colder weather hits. Ladies were attending holiday open houses and getting a head start on their Christmas lists.

The last thing we expected was an announcement that we needed to prepare for extremely severe weather. I think most people initially blew off the warnings. Some were saying it was being over-hyped.

But I knew.

I knew that this last Sunday was going to be like the tornado lottery. I knew this one was going to be bad. Somewhere was going to get struck with the inevitable. I mean, entire state of Indiana was highlighted in a big red circle. We were in the danger zone. Suddenly, one of the safest states in the country was going to be the most dangerous place to be. We all knew for DAYS that this was coming. Most people ignored the warnings and continued on with their daily lives.

I found myself getting frustrated with my husband Sunday morning because he wasn't comprehending how bad this storm they were predicting was going to be. And maybe he was worked up inside. Sometimes guys have a different way of showing their fear. He did however cancel his plans of moving equipment and helped me set up "camp" in our little basement/storm shelter.

We spent the afternoon glued to the TV and the computer following the Doppler trying to figure out just when these storms were exactly going to hit.

Anxiously, I watched each county enter a tornado watch. No big deal, it's just a watch, right? I tried to remain calm as I watched the dark skies roll in outside of my window. The Bears game on TV in Chicago was being delayed and people were shown on TV pouring out of the stadium.

As the wind picked up, so did the beat of my heart. The watches started turning into warnings for nearby counties. Signs of rotation were being reported.  I knew it was just a matter of minutes before the tornado siren would be going off close to our house and then there it was, a tornado warning for out little county and the next one over and the one after that. Before we knew it, almost the entire state of Indiana was under a warning.

It was time to gather the house cats and go into the basement. Just in case.

This is the part I hate most.

I hauled down my laptop, plugged it in and followed along with the local news live feed. By this time, I didn't care about watches and warnings. We were past that. That was old news. At this time, there were actual tornadoes being reported left and right in nearby towns. I just sat there trembling wonder when ours was going to be next.

And then the power goes out.

We can hear the storm going on above us. The wind is howling. It's nothing but us, the cats and a flashlight. I, a social media addict/weather watching junkie was completely disconnected from the rest of the world. our house was obviously still standing but I had no clue if our family and friends were okay.

Minutes later but what seemed like hours, the storm let up and my husband went upstairs to check out the shop door windows. He told me it was safe to come up.

And that's when I saw this:

And I knew, everything was going to be okay.

However, there are some who are not okay. There are some who have lost everything. You thank God that it wasn't you but at the same time your heart breaks for these other people. You wonder how they are ever going to rebuild everything that took years to start. 

But they will. 

And we would too if it happened to us.

It's just...... something that I worry about happening to us. Probably all too often. 

I guess you can say I am still pretty shaken up by the what-could-have-been and what happened to some of our neighbors. There are some who have moved on and forgotten about these storms. Some have even probably called it an over-hyped cluster of panic but in my opinion, I would rather be safe than sorry. 

Maybe with time and as I get older, my fear of natural disaster will fade away and I will be able to put my faith and trust in the good Lord as my husband's grandparents do but until then, I'm going to keep going down in my basement.

Beyond thankful this week. Just so thankful. 


  1. We were about 7 miles from the tornado's path, and so thankful that when all was said and done, we were still intact.

    What a great post, and that photo is amazing. Thanks so much for sharing!

    1. Thanks, Christina! It's amazing how close some people were to actual rotation. One of my good friends had a a next door neighbor's farm just blown apart and her place was untouched. Just absolutely amazing. I am so glad it wasn't as bad as it could have been but it definitely makes you realize how much we take for granted. We had enough warning to pack up a few "belongings" like my grandmother's jewelry that can't be replaced which was nice. It makes me want to move those things into a fire proof safe. You just never, ever know!

  2. I live in Lafayette and we had it really bad down here. The storm was terrifying when it went through but luckily we had no damage to our property. Just some huge limbs and our power was out for 20 hours. Some parts of Purdue are still not back on. Anyway, I just wanted to let you I really relate to you on this post in that nobody was listening to me & kind of blowing me off. But there was just that "feel" in the air. I don't know, I guess it's something that us weather geeks are in tune to.
    I'm glad you guys made it through ok.

    Fellow Hoosier :)

  3. How old were you when the tornado came through the town of Bourbon and we were trapped in the car?


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