It's a Twister! Today has been quite an interesting one. First, three storms came through during the night. All pretty severe thunderstorms. Then, at work today...at 2:45pm...the tornado siren sounded! Our Emergency Response Team (ERT - volunteers who know nothing about tornadoes and severe weather) directed everyone to the first floor to take cover. I quickly shot Ben an email "tornado siren is going off! yikes!" and rushed down the stairwell to the first floor and joined my coworkers. Of course, there were no windows to look out of at this point and the hallway was way too crowded. People were fanning themselves and sweating. One lady somehow happened to have an ice-pack on her and applied it to her neck!
After about 15 minutes of waiting, we received additional directions from the ERT that a tornado touched down and was headed our way! So, (and this still doesn't make sense to me) they commanded us to take shelter in the stairwell by doubling up and moving up the stairs so that everyone could fit in! I couldn't help but find a spot on the bottom floor in the farthest corner and refused to move up the stairs. I'm sorry, but was I always taught wrong that if there is a tornado warning, then you should move to the lowest area of the building possible!? Then tell me why they were making people go UP the stairs?
Anyway, after a total of 45 minutes, the weather was supposedly cleared so we could finally leave the stairwell and go back to our desks. I called Ben when I finally found a spot in the building that would give me service. Someone told me that a tornado touched down in Winfield, which is our neighboring town..so I wanted to warn him. He told me he just got done mowing the lawn and I said "head for the basement!". Right when I hung up, someone said "a tornado just touched down in Wheaton!" Of course, then I felt a bit more unsettle.
I stuck it out at work since the sky was looking very dark in the area I would have to drive to get home. About 4pm I left and headed next door to Meijer and spent about an hour grocery shopping. In the store, I noticed a few ladies running around with their carts... and I mean literally RUNNING. I thought it was strange, but really didn't think much of it. It wasn't until I checked out, paid for my groceries and exited the building that I understood why these women were rushing to get their shopping done. The sky was so dark and the clouds were extremely creepy looking. It wasn't raining at this point, but the clouds were moving fast and I could see the lightning on it's way. I ran to my car, threw the groceries inside, then ran back into Meijer because I was too afraid to start driving home. The drive is about half an hour, and the sky in my direction was once again too threatening.
Well, my moment of waiting out the storm did not last long. I stood outside at the door entrance, marveled at the lightning and beautiful clouds, then decided to brave it out and start home. To this hour I still can't tell you if my decision was wise, because the whole way home I was about crying and if I had a full bladder I probably would have wet my pants. I can not tell you how many emergency vehicles I passed by, how many stop lights were out, how many deep puddles I drove through, how many lightning bolts blinded my vision, and how many thoughts went through my head about what I would do if I flooded my car!
Thanks to Jen and Tiana for keeping me busy on the phone for part of the drive, and to my awesome triple tread tires for keeping me from hydro-planing. I am now home safe and sound with Ben...and most importantly, our basement is not flooding. :) However, it is still storming... probably the longest line of storms I've ever witnessed.
When you think of it, say a little prayer for my family tomorrow. My parents are driving from Grand Rapids with my little sister to see us. And, my sister and brother-in-law are flying in from Colorado. We're all going to have an awesome weekend, but their commute might be a little difficult since the weather is calling for more storms!