Stormy Memories, Part 2

Monday, February 28, 2011

Have you ever been chased by a tornado? I mean a real, took Dorothy to Oz, tornado. Those rope looking cloud devils that on one hand can mesmerize you into a trance and on the other, inflict pain and destruction beyond belief. Honestly, I have.

I awoke this morning to that least favorite sound of mine, the storm siren. Warnings are going up for every county around and it made me remember. It brought back memories of storms I have been a part of and survived, for one the super outbreak of 1974. But, it was not until the mid-80’s that I became storm prey.

I was working as an Architectural assistant, needed to inspect the project site and had traveled about 2 1/2 hours from home base. The day was gorgeous, hot but not a cloud in the sky; one of those days you enjoyed being out and away from the office. Then I had to return home.

I loaded my clip board and set out for the return trip. At the time I was driving what I affectionately called my beer-can-on-wheels truck. A small pickup truck, I just knew was made out recycled beer cans. Driving it in any kind weather was like steering a piece of paper in the wind, a ride you will not forget.

I turned onto the interstate and did notice the dark clouds in my rear view mirror but thought nothing of it. I drive in the slow lane as fast I can with music as loud as it will go without blowing speakers. I also sing in the car when I’m alone, I do not believe in torture. I was in my element, then I noticed my rear view mirror.

It was black and I do not mean dark, I mean black. The black that says evil is coming to get you. At the same time I realized I needed to breathe, that dark monster stole my breath again; a funnel was forming. “Oh crap and I’m in a beer can,” I thought.

With one gust of wind my little beer can went from the slow lane to the far shoulder of the road. I knew I was in trouble and my foot slammed on the gas. 

The speedometer only went to 90mph and had never hit that mark, I was in virgin territory. My little truck sensed the storm and went as fast as it could. That evil dark spinning monster was chasing us.

The funnel was there I could see the rotation but by now was very near to home. The rain caught us first and as I rounded the state road to home I knew I had maybe 15 minutes to get parked and to shelter, my house.

My house at the time had no basement, the bathroom was on the exterior wall and the center of the house was a big open area. Gathering my 3 dogs and the cat we all headed for the huge closet under the stairs.

There we sat, all of us, in a dark closet just waiting. I heard the back door open, Ms. Twister was home. I also heard her yell for us and responded, “We are in here.” I cracked the door and motioned her to come in but what did she do?

She rolled over in the floor laughing. To this day it is one of her favorite party stories about me. How I out ran a tornado only to get home and lock myself in the closet.

May you not hear the storm sirens where you are and your week be filled with sunshine. Just don’t forget to watch your rear view mirror.


For my other storm story go here.


Alex J. Cavanaugh said, 

Bet that was terrifying! I've never been in a tornado, but saw one crossing a field when I lived in the midwest. I remember my mom screaming at us to get in the basement while my father, brother and I watched in fascination.

February 28, 2011 at 8:15 AM  

I've lucked out somehow when it comes to a tornado....they've been close, but not too close! It's pretty scary thought because it's so unpredictable.

February 28, 2011 at 8:25 AM  
welcome to my world of poetry said, 

Gosh that must have been frightening to say the least.
I'm afraid I would panic.

Thanks for coming by, I didn't know about it until Friday so it was a rush job.

Are you still on FB, I had to deacivate mine as it kept going haywire, started just before I went to Nashville but can't remember if I told you and can't find your photo to add as a friend.


February 28, 2011 at 8:31 AM  
Ellie said, 

OMG. I would have been terrified. Living in the UK, the closest I've been to a Tornado is by watching the film!

Ellie Garratt

February 28, 2011 at 8:50 AM  
Mary Vaughn said, 

When a bad one hit Zenia I worked for Bell Telephone putting people from all over the world in touch with those who could help them locate relatives.
That's as close as I ever want to be.

February 28, 2011 at 9:24 AM  
Holly Ruggiero said, 

That is nightmare material. My heart was pounding reading that story. It was so not cool for it to follow you into your home! I’m glad you, your dogs, and cat made it through okay.

February 28, 2011 at 10:03 AM  
Jen Chandler said, 

I've never been chased by one, but I've had them plow through my home town, drift over my head and churn up the ocean while I stood on the sand taking pictures. Crazy stuff for sure!

February 28, 2011 at 10:09 AM  
Bossy Betty said, 

Growing up in Kansas, I experienced a lot of these storms! You may just have inspired me to write a post about it. See how you affect me? Use your power wisely!

February 28, 2011 at 10:43 AM  
Blasphemous Aesthete said, 

I have seen storm chasers chasing tornadoes with their camreas on and some daredevils standing right in the eye of the storm and broadcasting, yet I never read about a tornado chasing a lady.
Interesting, really interesting, at least you had your senses loyal to you in time of panic. :)

Blasphemous Aesthete

February 28, 2011 at 11:21 AM  
Tracy said, 

Oh my, that is truly truly scary....I love thunderstorms, but tornadoes do frighten me. I have never been chased by the funnel cloud but have witnessed the clouds spinning back up into the sky~ very scary!
Today we are suppose to have very severe weather...most likely this evening~ I just want my boys to be home and be together when that happens.

February 28, 2011 at 11:40 AM  
N. R. Williams said, 

That is soooo scary. I'd be in that closet too. Here in Colorado, we rarely get tornadoes, but when they come dummies go outside and watch them, open and exposed. Granted, they are usually small, but only a few years ago there was one that was huge. My Mom's house was in its path. I called her and told her to go to the basement and turn on TV. They did and missed it.
N. R. Williams, The Treasures of Carmelidrium

February 28, 2011 at 12:18 PM  
Carolyn Abiad said, 

Your little truck must be related to the little engine that could! :) I hate severe storms, but I've gotten more used to the threat of them now. I don't know if that's a good thing...

February 28, 2011 at 12:19 PM  
Summer Ross said, 

Jules- Oh my- Tornados are really scary, I have only ever seen one my whole life. I hope you stay safe!

February 28, 2011 at 1:19 PM  
The Golden Eagle said, 

That sounds like a very scary experience! I've never seen a tornado in real life--although they do happen around here.

February 28, 2011 at 3:45 PM  
HowLynnTime said, 

LOL - Being from OOOOOOkla -homa where the wind comes sucking up the trailer parks - yeah I have. I actually have a little too much ease with them at times. Okies tend to stand on the porch to watch - and it kinda drives other people crazy.
But i don't trust the news. I can predict them better by knowing what to look for and have proven it. Night tornados are another animal - but in the day you can avoid them pretty easily - no your house can't. But you can warn people all you want and they still think the big scary cloud is the danger. It isn't.
The real danger is the little bullets created by the big scary cloud. People have survived being sucked into the big scary cloud - as if by some magic......more people are killed when shatterd glass, sticks and bits of even hay are blasted through their bodies - like bullets.
Inside bath or closet means two solid walls between you and the bullets. Windows are killers. a direct hit can collapse that inside bath or closet on you - exposing you to the bullets - which will kill you. That is why storm shelter means under ground. The stuff skittering around on the surface is what you should fear.

That is why your car is not safe - yes it can fly - but most likely something outside - will fly inside and become your friend in a not friendly way.

I would be alot more afraid of volcano than a tornado - guess it's just what you grow up with.

February 28, 2011 at 5:46 PM  
Clarissa Draper said, 

That is so scary! Why don't you have a basement? Well, I'm glad you're all right and can laugh about the situation.

February 28, 2011 at 8:48 PM  
Queen-Size funny bone said, 

Its pretty scary. Living in CT. we don't get much in the way of threatening weather.

February 28, 2011 at 9:21 PM  
Amy said, 

Wow! I couldn't even imagine being able to stay calm enough to handle a scary situation like that one. I know when your in it you do what you have to do, but I hope I never have to test that theory. I've never seen a tornado in person, nor do I ever want to. I'm content living it vicariously through your great story! Hope you stay safe!

February 28, 2011 at 9:31 PM  
Melissa Bradley said, 

I have fortunately never seen one, only the aftermath and the rain and storm. I'm glad you survived to be able to share. I would have been terrified.

February 28, 2011 at 11:56 PM  
Rachael Harrie said, 

Wow, I can't imagine living in a place where there are tornados! I've been through a couple of cyclones in Australia, but nothing at all like a twister!

Glad you made it home safely :)



March 1, 2011 at 8:07 AM  
Velvet Over Steel said, 

I've had several close calls with tornados, including when I had a home daycare and had to keep 6 little ones in the basement'calm', while my own 3 boys were in a school that the radio said just had a tornado go by them. Ugh...
So very glad that like them, You and your pets were alright too!!!! 'smiles'

Hugs to you Jules,
~ Coreen xoxoxo

March 1, 2011 at 8:39 AM  
Ella said, 

I have survived hurricanes, earthquakes, volcanic ash, but haven't seen a tornado. We do get warnings a lot in NC. I line up a mattress near the bathroom. I get the necessary supplies in place, but never have been in the tub with the mattress over my head, not yet.
Scary, Your beer can saved you...I would of done, the same as you. Who knows what path, Mother Nature's fury will take...

March 1, 2011 at 9:06 AM  
The Blogger Formerly Known As said, 

At the minute I live in a top-floor flat, and when it’s windy, it seems twice as rough as it really is. One day, many years ago, I got home in a gale, only to find the roof had been blown off.

The wind is absolutely the scariest weather to me – I’ve never experienced a tornado, but if I ever do, I’m sure I’ll be looking for a closet to hide in too.

March 1, 2011 at 11:03 AM  
Theresa Milstein said, 

That's a crazy story!

I don't live in typical tornado territory. I've seen a few hurricanes, but nothing major.

Glad you're okay.

March 1, 2011 at 7:52 PM  
Katie Gates said, 

Wow, what an account! So powerfully written! I felt as if I were there in the beer can, outrunning the tornado along with you. I'm glad you lived to tell the tale!

March 1, 2011 at 10:59 PM  
Arlee Bird said, 

Great story. Loved you driving that "beer can". Had to be scary. It's hard to do much about the force of weather and in that case a closet under the stairs seems like a logical place to go. If I'm gonna die I guess I'd rather die in the comfort and safety of my own home (even when it's not really safe).

Tossing It Out

March 2, 2011 at 1:42 AM  
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