Saturday, March 2, 2013

Today is the One Year Anniversary of the Tornado

March 2, 2013:  One year ago today, around 7 AM, I woke up to a bad feeling.  Once I’m asleep, I never have a problem sleeping.  That morning though I woke up early to the feeling the day would not go well.  So strong was the premonition, that I stood up, walked to the bathroom, and took an aspirin.  If nothing else, I would have some protection from a heart attack.  True story.
In this photo the funnel which hit our house has just passed over the auto parking field and into the river.  Note, there are at least three funnels and a probable fourth.
Turning on the TV, the first thing I saw was the typical overblown news story of a weather front  guaranteed to inflict pain on everyone from Texas to New York.  “Yeah yeah, whatever”, I thought as I pulled up some charts online.  Expecting the usual verification of weather fear mongering, what I found instead was a nasty line of weather that I would cross several times throughout the day.  It stretched from Texas to New York.  Yuck.
Approaching Dayton, ops requested a quick turn if possible; bad storms were bearing down quickly.  Having seen the cells on radar just before landing, I worked to retrieve doppler radar on my phone while passengers deplaned.  That’s when I heard sirens.  Asking over and over if those were tornado sirens, eventually someone agreed they were and went about their job.  Then the radar I was after popped up.
Spreading my fingers open across the screen, the colors and cells became defined.  Right there, five miles to the southwest, was a line approaching Dayton.  The time was 3-o-something PM.  Sliding the map up and to the right, I could see the line went on forever, crossing directly over Lee Bottom.  The more I zoomed, the closer it was to our home.  Upon reaching max detail I was startled.  Directly over our house was a bright purple comma and I fumbled to call Ginger.
No answer; no answer; no answer, again I called.  Then I called a neighbor; no answer.  Then another neighbor, and another, and another; no answers.  That’s when I knew it was a good thing I took that aspirin.  Reports of deaths from the front had already been confirmed in every state leading to Indiana.  Yet all I knew for sure was the phones weren’t working; a common occurrence where we live.
Therefore, with a job to do, we began to button up the plane and leave.  Then my phone rang.  It was an odd number but hoping it was Ginger I answered it anyway.  It was her.  A neighbor’s granddaughter had driven in just before the storm to get in the shelter and afterwards my cool as a pickle wife had borrowed her cellphone and dialed me up.
Here’s what she said. “We got hit by a tornado, we’re all alive, the animals are ok, everything is damaged, and the shop is gone. (someone talking in background) I have to go because another tornado is heading this way” and she hung up.  And again, thank God for that aspirin.
Today, March 2nd, 2013, is the one year anniversary of that horrible day.
From personal experience, I know you plan and insure for the worst you believe could happen.  Unfortunately, you never believe everything you own could be destroyed or damaged by one chance of misfortune.  Sure, the house could burn down but losing the house, hangar, shop, cabin, other buildings, trees, cars, tractors, tools, and everything else to one storm seems impossible.  It’s not.  But, if it happens to you, I hope the contractors don’t shake their heads and say “OH NO” when you tell them who insures your property; a well known company, with a reputation well known to contractors.
On the other hand, when seemingly bad days happen, I always try to remember this; no matter how bad things are, someone else has it worse.  I then hope for them the best.  Unfortunately, on that night I was correct.  A short distance from us, several people lost family members.  Others lost their lives.  The stories were absolutely heartbreaking and I still wish there was something to do for them that would make it all better.  Time may help, but the scars will always remain.  For them, I hope this anniversary is a day of shedding the pain, shock, and anger that resulted from that square on the calendar.  They have hurt enough.
As for us, just last week the first repair to our house began.  Soon a new roof will be in place and our plans for the rest will hopefully fall into place.  The storm taught us many lessons; the cleanup gave us new friends; the rebuild gives us hope and a new beginning awaits.  With any good fortune and the ongoing support of our friends, we will be back better and stronger than before.
Thanks to all of you who have helped us through this trying year.  

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