It's been a very stressful 24 hours. Yesterday just as the girls came over to have our weekly dinner, the weather turned really awful and then the skies turned black and the tornado sirens went off. I did what I always do when the sirens go off, I turned on the weather channel and looked at the warning there and I didn't see anything that concerned me. I mean it said a "large tornado" in "Rawls Springs" but I didn't know where Rawls Springs was. Nevermind that this large tornado was heading towards Hattiesburg. Hattiesburg is a rather large town (geographically speaking) so it could hit anywhere. And when I looked out my east window there wasn't anything to be concerned about.
So, David and Alyssa ordered dinner and left to go pick it up. Elizabeth and I stayed at home to get the table set. And in the 10 minutes that David and Alyssa were gone (a mile south, thank goodness...I'm unbelievably thankful we decided deli instead of burgers) the tornado struck our house. It was one of the most surreal experiences of my life.
I mentioned that the skies to the east were grey, cloudy, but no funny color or eeriness to them. Elizabeth was worried about the noise and then a something smacked the house and it sounded like it broke open the wall, so I went to the kitchen to check it out and that's when I noticed that the skies to the west were black. I walked up to that side of the house and that's when I noticed the bushes were boiling around and I hollered to Elizabeth to meet me in the hallway.
She called Alyssa to make sure they were ok and for about 1 minute or so we were standing in the hallway listening to the tornado whirl around outside. I described it as sounding like being inside of thunder. Elizabeth thought it sounded like a lot of noise, really loud, with a high pitched squeal on top of it all.
And then, just like that it was over. No rain, no wind, just over. David and Alyssa came home and we surveyed the damage from the outside. We noticed a limb on the roof...a really large one, so David went upstairs to check it out. He said the limb was large, it had damaged the roof, but didn't look too bad. Later, when the rains started in earnest again, we learned just how wrong he was.
The water poured in all night. We emptied a giant 20 gallon trash can three times through the night. Neither one of us slept well. Driving about town today it was pretty amazing that no one lost their life. We were clearly at the very edge of the tornado and fortunate that all we have is a giant hole and a lot of other little holes in the roof. We had contractors out today to cover things up, so we're hoping that the work they did holds and that we can get the roof replaced soon.