Saturday, May 10, 2008

We are fine

All here at Diva Ranch are safe and sound.

This evening as I was driving out of town with a car full of kids and groceries, Tater called my cell and said we were under a tornado warning. About that time my cell phone also beeped in telling me the same thing, courtesy of The Weather Channel's free text message alerts (something I highly recommend living here in Tornado Alley). I called Paul and asked if he thought we should stay in town and find cover or head home. Since neither of us could see a funnel we decided I should come on home. I had a kid looking every direction with strict orders to holler if they saw something and I just drove and prayed. Tater almost got on the interstate to head for Joplin, but thank God she stayed in town since the twister touched down at mile marker 1 on I-44.

We made it home safely, but not before Sam called my cell phone, scared out of his little 9 year old mind (he had stayed home because he's got a nasty stomach bug). Paul had gone to the barn to secure vehicles and potential flying objects in the event the tornado came near and Sam just didn't like being in the house alone. I told him to go get Biscuit out of his pen and just hang out on the couch until I got there. He was pretty happy to see us drive up, let me tell ya. I sent the girls in (plus one of Ab's friends) in to get blankets and their brother and get in the bathroom. Then Paul and I did what all good rednecks do - we stood in the yard.

Apparently the twister went over us up in the clouds, hit ground just past us and hit Neosho, MO, where it turned over cars and semis and annihilated houses. The Lord was surely watched over us this evening. We are so, so very blessed. The meterologist said the tornado stayed on the ground for 90 miles, cutting a swath of destruction the whole way.

The town of Picher is all but gone. Granby, MO, was hit hard as well. The last count we heard was 17 fatalities in various counties in Oklahoma, Arkansas and Missouri. Sadly, I'm sure by morning there will be more.

My dad grew up in Picher (Home of the nation's largest superfund site whoo hoo!) and up until a few years ago Nana lived there. My aunt and uncle live just east of town. (Fortunately, they are safe.) We watched the footage tonight of Picher - what's left of it anyway - and I know for me it was with a sense of surreality. It was hard to make sense of the footage since there are literally no landmarks or anything else left to give you a sense of where you're looking. We talked to Dad, who had gone up when the call went out for all available medical personnel, and he said it's unbelieveable. A couple that we used to go to church with fortunately had recently moved to town when the buyout (more superfund fun) started, but Dad said their house is completely gone. There are two bushes that stood at the front of their house and that is literally all that is left.

The last time I talked to T-Racey one of our supervisors in Child Welfare is unaccounted for. She lived on Mineral Heights in Picher and Minerals Heights was the hardest hit neighborhood. Her husband is a volunteer firefighter and we are all praying she is with him, helping out, or at the very least was one of the 15 people they found huddled in a cellar in the Mineral Heights area.

If you are a pray-er, please do.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'm so glad you guys are OK!

Lacey

Cissy said...

We were thinking of you when we heard about the tornadoes. Glad to hear everyone is ok. Prayers indeed. Geez, Diva. You give your guardian angels a workout, don't ya!

Cedric said...

I can't imagine that anything could make Picher look any worse.

Stacie said...

I took pictures with my phone while I was at work. I thought I was taking pictures of a really cool looking storm. As it turned out, I was taking pictures of the tornado as it was coming out of Picher going toward, well, me actually. Toward hwy 43. It missed my Grandma Dinwiddie by a couple hundred feet. She never even knew it. The bliss of dimentia.