Tuesday, April 26th, 2016 started off like any other day. Daddy and I were working out west. The rest of the family was doing school and normal stuff around the house. I had been keeping an eye on the weather over the previous couple of days because I knew they were calling for a severe weather outbreak. Living in tornado alley in April, that certainly doesn't come as a surprise!! Most (if not all!) people who know me know my love of storms and I was excited about being out on the road and possibly getting to do some spotting first hand...
I actually have the weather graphics for the day - a friend and I had been sharing them back and forth!
It definitely looked like we were set up to be in the worst of things.
Driving home that afternoon (we work about 2 1/2 hours away from home), daddy and I drove through one storm. It was a strong one! I wish I had a picture of the radar map zoomed out because this little storm was literally the ONLY thing on the radar!!! I remember thinking "Well, this afternoon turned out pretty boring." Wow. Little did I know what that night would hold...
We probably drove through the largest hail we've ever experienced in a car!!
It didn't take long to get on the other side!
The interesting thing is that looking back, the family says our dog, Daisy, was rather uneasy that day and the sky looked weird. Daddy and I got home, we had dinner as a family and I messed around with trying to get our weather radio working! For some reason, the reception at our new place is spotty and I have to change the radio constantly to different windows. I don't like being without a reliable radio, but I have a couple of different alert apps on my phone (besides radar), so I'm thankful for that! I was keeping a pretty close eye on things...
This line of storms formed in the early evening and started moving our direction. All the red dots represent different storm spotters.
I think this is the last shot of the radar that I saved. It was probably the red cell near Edmond in this picture that eventually ended causing us so much trouble!!
We were sitting in the living room having family bible time at about 9:30 when my cellular alert went off "TORNADO WARNING". When you get an alert from the cell service, you don't want to mess around (that usually means it's eminent)!!! So we scrambled to grab a few personal belongings and get everyone down in our storm shelter. We had just had the shelter put in about 6 weeks before and we are SO thankful we had it!! It was strange because when we got everyone outside, we could see the lightening in the distance, but it wasn't raining and it wasn't even that windy. Once we had everyone in the shelter, a couple of people decided they needed to use the restroom. Since the storm seemed a little ways in the distance, we hurried them back up. Then things really started picking up and the rain hit. At this point, my parents were inside with those that had run to the restroom and I was standing on the front porch. I hollered inside about the same time they were coming out that now we needed to get to the shelter. Daddy was the last one in the shelter and less than a minute later, the tornado hit. It was the strangest thing - the pressure inside the storm shelter changed (some of our ears popped), the wind was AMAZING and we could hear a strange loud noise and metal blowing. We had never finished putting all the screws in our siding (just one of those things that we hadn't gotten to yet!) and we were bummed thinking that some of our siding blew loose (we didn't imagine that it was actually much worse!). THEN the lid to the storm shelter started rattling pretty good and we heard a very strong whirring sound. At this point we kind of looked at each other like "Did you hear THAT???". About this time, we got a text from some friends at church saying there was a tornado right by us and making sure we were okay. We thought "Wow. I guess that WAS a tornado!!". We gave it a few minutes and then opened the door. It was still storming pretty good, but the worst was passed. It was still POURING down rain though. Daddy walked up the ladder and his "Oh no" didn't sound good. At first he saw the guttering (see the top picture below) and then...he saw the roof - or lack thereof!!! The roof over the shop portion (with most of our household goods) and most of the TLF was completely gone. Part of it was on the ground beside the building and the rest was thrown a good ways up behind the house pad!! Part of the roof was also flipped over and laying on the front of the building upside down! If it had moved a little farther it could have crushed our vehicles or blocked us in the shelter. Praise the LORD it didn't!
Here are a few pictures from that night.