I have always been passionate about weather. I'm one of those geeks who reads the National Weather Service's in-house forecast discussions, follows several different meteorologists on Facebook, and always knows what's going on with the weather. And it's a good thing too, as it probably saved my life.
On May 22, 2008, my oldest daughter and I were at home when an EF-3 tornado tore through the small town of Windsor, Colorado. I had been keeping an eye on the radar for the past few hours, and was well aware of the aberrant supercell thunderstorm that was moving northwest towards us. There wasn't even a Severe Weather Watch that day. But I saw the warning online, grabbed my daughter, and took shelter in the downstairs bathroom as the tornado swept through the neighborhood, blowing out of the windows and bombarding the townhome with debris. But my daughter and I came through unharmed, and miraculously, our home was more or less still standing.
This is the scene that greeted me as I stumbled outside after the tornado.
Fast forward almost exactly five years later. My family and I had moved to Moore, Oklahoma. We knew Oklahoma was a hotspot for tornadoes, but having been through the one in Colorado, we felt prepared. Which is not to say we took it for granted. No, we had purchased a weather radio, and even had a tornado shelter installed in our home. And on May 20, 2013, that's where my family and I gathered as an EF-5 tornado tore through the town of Moore.
This is where we sheltered as the EF-5 tornado tore through our neighborhood.
My wife had gone early to pick up our oldest daughter, and when she returned, I had our other children down in the shelter. When they pulled in, I closed the garage, got them down into the shelter, and ran inside to check the TV coverage. I came back only a few moments later. It was clear that we were directly in the path of the massive tornado.
When we heard on the weather radio that the tornado had moved on, we stumbled out into the dark garage, having no idea what to expect. God had protected us. Miraculously, our home was untouched. But around the three different entrances to our subdivision, homes had been completely leveled down to the foundation.
Needless to say, I take severe weather pretty seriously. Next time, I will talk about what you need to know to survive a tornado.