May 20, 2013 is a day I will never forget.
It started out as a normal day. The kids woke up, I checked my phone because Michael was gone, and I got the kids breakfast. I knew they were predicting severe weather, so while the kids were eating breakfast, I went outside to smoke and look at the sky. There was something different about the air, that day. So eerie, I’ll never forget it. I just got a bad feeling, but I brushed it off and came back inside.
The kids were cleaned up and I turned on Netflix since we didn’t have cable or an antenna. We played and watched Dora until nap time. During nap time my phone kept getting text messages from the NWS “severe thunderstorm watch for Cleveland County”. I called my dad, and he told me to make sure my phone was charged and to clean the closet out just in case we needed to use it, so I did.
Finally the text message came, “severe thunderstorm warning for Cleveland County”. I called my dad back and said the storm was starting to roll in and I’d call him back later. I told him I loved him and hung up the phone. The storm its self was pretty bad. It was really windy, hail, rain, and it was pretty dark outside.
By this time my kids are awake and eating again. I heard the tornado sirens so I decided it was time to get into the closet. We were in there for what seemed like forever. I called my dad and by that time he was watching the news, and I told him that the sirens were going off so I had the kids in the closet. What he said next will be forever burned into my brain. He said “Stay in the closet. Don’t move. There is a giant twister on the ground and its headed your way. They are saying if you aren’t underground you are not safe.” I assured him that I wasn’t going to move from that spot. I told him that I was going to look online from my phone to see if I could get any live coverage, I told him I loved him, and I hung up. I got on Facebook first, and one of the first posts I saw was a picture of the tornado that one of the February mom’s posted and the caption said “Brittany and Katy I hope you’re both safe praying for y’all. Check in when you can.”
Around that time I actually heard the tornado. It was so loud, Madison started crying. I told her that it’ll be ok, and that mommy wouldn’t let anything happen to her. They were predicting that the tornado was going to turn and head north, putting our house right into the middle of the path. I was terrified, and I started praying. God please protect my kids. Please protect my house. And protect my family. I went to check my phone and noticed I had a few missed calls, but I called my dad and he was basically screaming into the phone telling me to stay put because it was right down the street from my house, and then my phone died. The kids and I waited it out in the closet.
The tornado sirens turned off, so we got out of the closet. I went plugged in my phone and went outside to smoke. Madison and Gatlin were standing at the door and I looked up in the sky and saw a funnel cloud and told Madison to get back into the closet knowing Gatlin would follow her. The sirens started going off again so I went inside and got into the closet with the kids. The sirens weren’t on very long, so we got back out and I tried to call my dad but the phone lines were tied so I got on Facebook and made a post saying that we were safe and that the tornado barely missed us. I tagged my whole family in it.
It took a while for my daughter to not run to the closet every time it rained, and I still jump when they test the sirens every Saturday. The tornado missed us by about a mile, and we are planning on getting a tornado shelter soon.