I don’t like storms. I’m one of those people who are glued to the weather broadcast or the radar web page anytime that say there is a threat of severe weather. My best bud makes fun of me for it, even though I still take credit for alerting him to a tornado in his neighborhood a couple years ago. Admittedly, while I have been watching the red and yellow and green blobs run across the tv screen all these years, there has rarely ever been serious cause for concern for me personally.
There have been some serious weather events in the Nashville area since we’ve been here. We’ve had close calls: we were only about a block away from the damage of the tornados that hit East Nashville in 1998 and last year we were also very close to the flooding in Antioch and Nashville. But we’ve never been directly, personally touched by the darker side of Mother Nature.
That is, not until tonight.
They have been saying for a couple of days that we could have severe weather tonight. Metro Nashville Public schools cancelled all after-school activities today ahead of possible strong storms. It didn’t change my plans for the evening though: work late, rush to Cub Scouts, stop for a conversation with my neighbor on the way home. Wildman went to bed and Kev and I were enjoying one of our two evenings during the week together watching the Preds lose a hockey game (that part wasn’t so enjoyable.) I had pulled up the weather radar on my laptop while the game was on, and noticed that there was a nice red line coming right toward Nashville. We turned over to our favorite news channel after the game was over to hear them saying that this line of storms was causing some pretty high winds and some damage as it moved across the mid-state. We watched the news and as I sat here in my spot on the couch next to the window we could see that it was raining pretty heavily.
I got up to look out the window and could tell the wind was strong. I looked over and saw my laptop shaking on the table and felt the house move at the same time I heard the tornado sirens sound. I yelled at Kev to go grab the Wildman and head downstairs. (Yes, our tv room and the boy’s bedroom are on the second floor of the house.) He’s got a sound asleep little guy, and I’m chasing the dog and cat and we’re running downstairs to the hall in the middle of the house. I heard something that sounded loud and generally not good on the way to the hall, but we weren’t going to stop to check anything out right then. We got everyone but the cat into the hall and in just a few moments the worst of the wind had stopped.
I didn’t realize until a few minutes later when I was sitting holding my son how truly scared I was. Kevin and I had both started moving so fast to get downstairs that I didn’t really have time to think about what could be happening. (I did, however, take time to think to turn off the television and lamp and grab the empty drink glasses off the stand. Heaven forbid we waste any electricity or leave dirty dishes in the tv room for the tornado to see!) As I sat there with Wildman on my lap, my legs started shaking uncontrollably. I think the adrenalin rush had caught up to me.
That’s about the time I heard Kev from the other room. Wait, let me back up. Kevin got us all downstairs to the safest part of the house, then promptly proceded to leave us there so he could go look out the windows. He’s as fascinated with storms as I am scared of them. So he’s looking out the window and says he sees some siding in the back yard. I’m thinking okay, a little siding can be replaced easily enough right? Then he went out the back door and looked along the side of the house and saw that the chimney was now laying in the side yard. It’s a vinyl chimney and probably fairly easy to replace, but it’s not supposed to be in the side yard. And if it’s in the yard, there’s a hole on the top of my house.
Wildman and his daddy are now sound asleep in my bed and I’m too wired to go to sleep. After making many phone calls to neighbors to make sure everyone was alright and posting messages on Facebook to let everyone know we’re okay, I decided to walk out around the outside of the house and see how bad things are. The gutters are off the house in a couple places, I’m sure there’s some roof damage, and of course the chimney is missing. I noticed some slight trim damage on a couple neighbor’s houses, the basketball goal across the street got moved a pretty good distance and next door some plants look to have been pulled right out of the ground. I’ll be surprised if they don’t determine a tornado came through here.
For as much of a hassle we will have to deal with in the coming days – insurance, finding a contractor, and all the other things I have no idea about yet – it’s obvious to me we were very fortunate. The house is mostly intact. We’re all safe, if a little shaken. And I don’t care how much I get made fun of, I’m always going to watch the red, yellow and green blobs when they say severe weather is possible.