This is an incredible first hand account of what it's like when the unthinkable happens. It's from my cousin, who lives just outside St. Louis, MO. There are still hundreds of thousands of people without power after tornadoes and severe storms hit on Friday.
The tornado came thru around 11:40 AM on Friday.
"I finished making Thomas' lunch and then Thomas said "Mom, downstairs on the tv they say there is a thunderstorm warning for Clinton County, is that us?" I said "YES! I better go get Robby right now. I flew in the car with no shoes on and started driving toward the park. The sky behind me was getting dark. He got in the van and we turned around to come home and by that point, the sky was dark black and getting greenish.
I said "That looks really bad and then, the tornado sirens started going off. That is a scary scary sound. So loud and wailing. When the sirens started going off we headed straight for home."
The Storm Hits
We got about half way when the wind started blowing really hard. Then the rain.....by the time I got a few blocks from home I could hardly keep the van on the road and there were plastic garbage cans flying thru the air, HIGH that I had to dodge over and over as they flew, windshield high. Then the hail started....nickel size at first. We flew into the garage which I had left open, I hit the garage door button to close it and it came down as we ran in the house..just as we opened the door to the house, the lights went out.......that is when we heard the sound like a train coming.. I started shouting "EVERYONE IN THE BASEMENT" and we all flew downstairs along with Kirby. Then we started hearing these pounding sounds.....and then I heard PAUL come in the house. He said that he was on his way when it hit. He saw wires snapping and whipping in the air and sparks flying and trees snapping in two. He was soaked.
The pounding sounds were golf ball size hail. You couldn't see out of the windows of our house because of the rain and because there was so much debris blown onto the windows., Leaves were plastered everywhere.
Finally, it was over. Aftermath:
It was just so scary. I can't believe our house held....our neighborhood is just devastated with trees uprooted and snapped. There are homes with trees through the roof. A farmer's silo fell on his barn of milk cows...the huge ready to be harvested corn is flattened everywhere around us.
Trees so big around you can't get your arms around them were uprooted and broken. Small trees were snapped in two like toothpicks. There are so many huge piles of branches at people's curbs that you can't maneuver the streets. There are telephone poles in pieces that people sawed up to fit in a pile by the curb everywhere. The city pool is full of debris like icky soup. Fences are down, swing sets are smashed, flag poles are snapped. Windows are blown out. It is just so awful looking around here. It is like sort of sickenly fascinating and people are just out and walking and driving by real slowly taking it all in."
When I read this letter - I could picture it all. How scary to experience the power of a tornado up close.