Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Wow!!

Moore Medical Center
Hi Everyone.  I just wanted to touch base with all of you and let you know how things are in Oklahoma.

I hadn't posted in a few days because I started feeling really sick on Friday and never got around to Font Friday or anything else.  I found out, after finally going to the doctor this morning, that I have a double ear infection and sinus infection.  ICKY!!  I figured I would sit down Monday night and post a card and a font.  Then my city changed forever...

For any of you who have ever lived in Oklahoma (or any other "tornado alley" state), you know that tornado watches and/or warnings become almost a daily event in the spring.  Sunday, the weather coverage was on every local channel for about 8 hours straight, as tornadoes kept touching down around town.  There were quite a few homes lost that day and we were warned that Monday was setting up to be even worse.

One thing my dad often jokes about are the "Weather Prophets" on our news channels.  Oklahoma has such crazy weather changes (we went from almost 80 down to freezing in less than a week several times this spring!).  It gets these weather guys all worked up.  Sometimes they're right; sometimes they're not.  As I woke up Monday morning, I prayed that God would protect our homes, families and friends from the weather, then I headed to work.  Monday afternoon, we started watching it on TV at work and within a matter of minutes, a small storm started started growing and heading toward Moore, Oklahoma.

My hubby works nights and was at home asleep.  I called him and woke him up so he could head to my parent's house, as they have an underground tornado shelter.  He didn't want to wake up and was a little grumpy, but he went because I was adamant about the severity of it.  I sat at my desk at work for the next hour or so and watched this horrendous, monstrous tornado devastate my town.  It grew larger and kept changing directions and was heading straight for my home, then toward my parent's and friend's homes.

After the tornado finally lifted, they began to go back and show shots of the path it took and began naming streets that had lost homes.  My street was on that list.  Also, we'd lost TONS of power and phone lines, so there was no getting  in contact with anyone for a while to get the whole story.  Of course, the cell signals were jammed with panicked folks trying to find their loved ones.  I finally heard from my hubby.  He said his truck looked to be totaled and my parents' house sustained roof damage and had broken windows, but was still standing.

We were told the roads into Moore were shut down, so my hubby headed to our house on foot.  He ended up walking 4 miles (yep....we Googled it) to our house.  He called me with the shock of my life.  My house was still there and had two broken windows.  They were sending people away from the neighborhoods due to gas leaking and unstable structures, so he had to leave, but he was able to at least look.  There may be roof damage, but that's it.  I had spent the last few hours preparing myself to find a heap of rubble that used to be my home.  Apparently, the direct hit was just a few blocks north of me and we were spared.

It took about 2 hours for this to sink in, as according to the map on TV, my house should have been gone.  Sadly, some of our friends, family and co-workers were not so lucky.

Then, they came across the news talking about the elementary school that had taken a direct hit.  The school was on 11th street and I live on 17th.  It was in my neighborhood.  And then it got serious.  They began telling us that some kids didn't make it and many more were missing.

I remember I had told my hubby earlier that I was worried about the financial impact this would have as we are having to live in a hotel for a few days (at least) and eat out until we can go back in our home. (National Guard is  keeping us out right now)  Once I heard about the missing and the fatalities, the financial strain seemed so trivial.  I was not trying to be insensitive, but my brain went into "let's figure this out" mode.  I was trying to figure out how to pay for this or that and how we'd get to work with only one car, etc.

Now, that really doesn't even matter.

Moms and dads had to stand around last night hoping their child would be found among the rubble of the flattened school.  Family members still hadn't been able to connect with one another.  As we all know, these are the things that matter.  I sat on the hotel bed and wept as I watched the search an rescue effort be changed to a search and recovery mission at the school.  That meant they believed anyone left inside would not be found alive.

I cannot possibly put into words how grateful and blessed I am.  And how broken my heart is for those less fortunate than I.  God is so good and I know He has the future in His hands, even if we don't always understand.  I have been and will continue to pray for those who have lost the one thing that cannot be replaced.  And I hope you will all do the same.

We haven't been allowed back in our neighborhood yet; we hope to do that tomorrow.  I'll check back with you all in a few days.

I found some pictures on our local newspaper site today, so I thought I'd share with you before I go.

This is a before and after of the elementary school that took the worst hit, that's a few blocks from my house.

  

This is actual tornado heading our way.

All the heroes saving lives...

A neighborhood gone.

Blessings,
Cheryl