Last Sunday night/early Monday morning I woke up to the sound of tornado sirens. Annoyed at not being able to sleep due to sirens, I turned on the television to see if any of these so-called tornadoes were heading anywhere near us. The television woke Matt up and we watched as the weatherman talked about a tornado that would be coming our way in the next 20 minutes. Our phones began to go off as we got calls and texts from concerned friends and family checking on us and reminding us to be aware that we may be in the path of the tornado. After a few minutes Matt and I began the "I guess we should get up and in our safe place" "uhhh....yeah I guess so". Little did we know just how close our home would be from getting hit and how lucky we were in the end.
We went to the hallway and hovered in the bottom or our linen closet. The power went off as the storm worsened and we listened to the news on Matt's phone. There is nothing more scary than hearing the weatherman get more anxious as he discusses the tornado which is coming straight down a path to your house and "wow just how serious the rotation in this tornado is!". I was shaking, and our dog Max was too. I just kept praying to God to watch over us and protect us. After about 10-15 minutes in the closet the weatherman stated that the tornado had passed our area. We were so thankful that we were okay and could go back to bed. We still had no idea what and if the tornado had hit.
I woke up a few hours later to multiple calls and texts from more family and friends asking if we were okay. We turned on the television again and saw the damage as the sun was coming up. We had no idea how much devastation this tornado had caused and just how close it came to hitting our home. The tornado literally hit areas within a mile from our house on both sides (some were farther away, but some were very, very close). The 4 main roads that surround our home were blocked due to damage and we weren't able to go to work until hours later when 1 of those 4 roads opened up.
Only 2 people died from the tornado that hit our area. If you drive around and see the extent of the devastation in Clay (the city that we live) and other nearby areas that were hit, you would have no doubt that God played a role in keeping our town safe. That God has watched over us and that he is to whom we should always trust and give our thanks to. It truly is a miracle more people did not lose their lives.
Though hundreds of families have lost their homes and belongings, the faith and positive messages I have heard from the survivors and those affected are amazing. Our community had thousands of volunteers just yesterday, including my awesome husband, who went out to the neighborhoods to help clean up. That's not even counting all the volunteers who have been helping all week. I am already amazed at the progress and seeing just how much has already been done to clean up our city. In church today, which by the way was overflowing with people there to give their thanks and praises to God, our pastor said we actually have an abundance of donations and are actually not taking any more at this time. I have never even heard of that happening! Though the tornadoes were horrible and devastating to us and our community, I believe that God always is in control and I have seen him firsthand this week through these survivors amazing stories, the selflessness of our community members in coming to the aid of the survivors, and the faith that I have heard being proclaimed from everyone I talk to.
Please continue to pray for our community as we continue to rebuild and cope with this tragedy.
Here are a few pictures of the devastation, some taken from my husband as he was in the neighborhoods cleaning up, some from friends, and some from our local newspaper. These do not do any justice to the extent of the damage this tornado has caused.