A weird alarm on James' phone awoke us around 3:30 am this morning. "It's a tornado warning," he said, "we've got to get in the basement!" The mommy in me ran for my son and dog, the ex-flight attendant grabbed him a t-shirt, socks, and a blanket as we all rushed to the basement with James. I ran back for our wallets, cell phones, and some clothes and shoes for me. It would be wet and cold outside.
Once settled in the basement, we sat by the TV and heard a play-by-play in minute increments: "It is 5 minutes from route 15 and 50!" "It is 4 minutes from route 15 and 50." "It is 3 minutes from route 15 and 50." The picture on the weather map showed a trapezoid shape that encompassed our area. "It is two minutes from route 15 and 50!"
Wow, it was two miles from my home. We headed into the bathroom -- the inner most room with no windows. That is when I kicked myself for not grabbing a flashlight. I should have known better from my years of practicing airplane evacuations. The first thing we grabbed was the flashlight, even if the lights were on because they might go out at any time.
"It is one minute from Watson Rd!"
Huh, what did they say? I think it has passed us. The funnel cloud was already moving further away. After a few more minutes, we felt safe to come out and go back to bed... as if that was going to happen!
In the morning, I talked to some other neighbors and they too heard it and hid in the basement with their children. Some of my neighbors ignored it, thinking it was nothing and went back to bed, while others, still, had their phones off and never got the alert. Please take these serious. The GPS on the phone made it alert us for a reason. It did not alert the whole county, just those in its path. Please, do not ignore the warnings. Also, if your phone did not come with it, download a weather alert system. Lastly, keep a bag with batteries, a flashlight, water, and a first aid kit in your safe spot and consider adding clothing and shoes. It was real -- very scary --and I found out it had actually touched down in the town right next to ours before it passed over us. So never second guess, just take cover and pray you are wrong.