Monday, April 11, 2011

If You Want to Hit The News Bigtime, Host a Tornado!

The storm itself is in the news everywhere. If you've been watching news of any kind you know that a tornado ripped through the small Iowa town of Mapleton a mere 20 miles northeast of where we live. You can click here to see photos of the destruction.

But before the storm devastated Mapleton it first passed over our small town. The warning sirens sounded and, being the witless curious folk that we are, most of us zoomed out the patio door to see "what was the matter". We had company and the men of the bunch were the most witless curious. The overhead sky was definitely full of threatening clouds but it didn't seem any more than the usual dark blustery clouds of spring.

But to the north of us, a mere two blocks away, we could see a large and incohesive mass of air that had whipped dirt into the mix, turning it a dark gray. Even though it seemed only "breezy" on our deck, we could see that two blocks north, there were patches and masses of dark roiling air. We knew that boiling mass could quickly evolve into a funnel.

Still...we stood there watching. We knew the air was moving eastward and not towards our deck.

In the meanwhile we had ordered pizza. Our daughter, who had gone to pick it up, was standing in Pizza Hut wondering whether to drive home or to hide in the bathroom with the rest of the pizza crowd. She was bummed that she missed the stormy view from our deck. I was worried about her! But she returned safely.

Our other daughter works in an assisted care facility on the north edge of town....exactly in the path of the pre-funnel cloud. The routine is to round up all residents and move them into the hallway. When they realized one male resident was missing, they found him standing outdoors with his binoculars watching the storm.

Residents of Mapleton, Iowa, did not fare so well. One online source stated that about 120 homes out of the town's 600 were destroyed. Thankfully, no lives were lost. The Sheriff and his crew had tracked the storm and requested warning sirens be sounded early. Those extra few minutes gave residents time to head for their basements or other protected areas. Major damage. But, I repeat, no lost lives. We are grateful for that.

There are numerous videos of this tornado on news sites and on youtube so I will not include a can easily google and find them.

After the storm passed, our guests departed in several directions. But only after checking radar on iPad and iPhones. Pretty handy devices!


Paula said...

Sounds like my husband and brother in 1983 when Hurricane Alicia came through the Houston area. Glad you and your loved ones are safe.

Laurie M. said...

I had heard there were storms, but never read any of the news stories. I had no idea you were in the midst of it all! I'm glad you are all right, as well as those in your neighboring town.

S. Etole said...

This makes my flooded basement seem rather minor in comparison!

Debby said...


I can picture you running out the front door to see why the sirens were going off. And it makes me chuckle.

Dylan saw a tornado once. He was in Michigan, and had stopped at a bank. He was walking to his car and he saw an oddly shaped cloud and he actually stopped to watch it. Very suddenly a 'finger' dropped down to the ground and then rose back up. He jumped in his car and drove to his home.

Persis said...

I'm glad your family is safe. Thank God no lives were lost.

Cat Rocketship said...

I'm so, so happy no one was killed. All those sirens going by for so long really had me fearing the worst -- and the newspapers didn't have updates for a while!

I'm also glad it was just a footnote to our afternoon. We were lucky, too. Thanks again for hosting!

Sandy said...

I grew up in Indiana and I don't miss the tornado scares at all. I did, however, laugh at the resident that was missing only to be found outside with binoculars watching the storm.

Kelly said...

I wondered if Mapleton was anywhere near you when I saw the news. So glad to know you are okay!

Denise said...

Whew, thank goodness nobody was lost. There's nothing like a tornado to bring a person into present time, just whap....suddenly that's the only thing on your mind. Is my family safe? What about our neighbors? I pray nobody gets hurt. Nature is is a beautiful beast, it is. Peace and blessings to you.

Glenda said...

I'm glad no lives were lost and that your family is OK. I can't imagine the fear one experiences to see a funnel cloud headed toward him/her.

Whidbey Woman said...

Thank God you are all safe. When you relayed the part about the Assisted Living facility, I shuddered. I work at a Skilled Nursing Facility. We are prone to earthquakes here but have not had a drill since I have been employed there. Our folks are so impaired... it really would be a challenge to keep them safe, then evacuate the building afterward.

elaine @ peace for the journey said...

As you probably have heard, NC suffered terribly over the weekend because of several tornado touchdowns. Our own city had over 120 homes destroyed, and throughout the state over 20 lives lost, many more injured. We're not used to this type of storm; hurricanes are more in keeping with life here. Our home was not in the path, but we certainly experienced a few scary minutes.

Glad you are safe as well.


Lisa @ Two Bears Farm said...

What a scary storm! We had a tornado about 90 minutes from us a couple of weeks ago. Really odd for my part of the country.