As many of you know from following my blog, or from seeing my updates on Twitter, I live in Murfreesboro, TN and our street was hit by an EF-3 Tornado at about 12:45-1pm on Good Friday. I can honestly say it was the scariest moment of my life.
I was home with my 2 sisters when we got a call from my dad at around noon… he told us that there were tornado warnings in the area and we were going to have to take cover. My sisters and I were just kind of getting up and moving- we'd all slept in much later than normal because of the holiday. We flipped on the television and saw the warnings flashing across the screen, so we knew we needed to be prepared. We all promptly got dressed, put on shoes, and brought our cell phones and some blankets in the laundry room off our kitchen- the only interior area sizable enough for the three of us to fit with our dog, Lacey and my cat, Steve Perry. After seeing the hail start to come down, we decided to pack in and wait out the storm- just to be safe. I sat next to the door and closed us up once we got the pets in the laundry room.
It was about ten to fifteen minutes before our power went out, and within another 10 minutes we started hearing pouring rain and rushing winds. The whipping sound of the tornado was pretty loud- loud enough for us to hear it inside the closet even though the tornado was 50 yards away. When the house started shaking, my heart skipped a beat and I began to panic… I reached out for my sisters hands and told them it was time to pray. I prayed for God to keep us safe and to put His Almighty hand over our home and protect it. Before my prayer was over, the shaking stopped and it got really calm. Because the power was out, we didn't know if it was okay to leave our ‘safe place.' I made the decision for us to stay inside the laundry until we knew the worst had passed- we knew there were multiple storms in the area. Also, our pets were freaking out and I didn't want to risk letting them out and not being able to get them back into the tiny room in the event of another twister. We tried repeatedly to text both our parents with no luck. After another fifteen minutes or so, my father got through to us on my cell phone. He asked if we were okay- he sounded really worried. He said he'd heard from friends of ours that the tornado had come through our area and asked if we had looked outside yet. We decided it would be okay if we went out and had a look around. When we walked out our front door, this is what we saw:
I was completely blown away. The reality of how close this deadly storm was to us began to sink in and my sisters and I wept. We wept for our neighbors who lost homes it took years to build in seconds. We wept for joy to still be alive. We wept because we realized just how fragile life is and how quickly it can be taken from us. A woman and her 9 week old baby are the only two fatalities from a storm that stretched 15 miles through the town I've called home for the last 13 years. Their tragic deaths took place just 3 streets over from ours- it is so very sad but I am thankful that more were not killed. As I walked through the puddles and debris I saw the contents of people's lives strewn across our normally clean streets. Underwear drawers, the entire contents of their refrigerators, family photos… it's just completely devastating. There's no other way to put it. Our street is the site of major devastation.
I can't stop thinking about how close it was. I can't stop thinking about how lucky I am. I cannot stop thanking God for protecting us, as we prayed for Him to during those terrifying moments when the storm swept across my street. Thank you GOD for protecting me, my family and our home. Our home was a mere 4 houses down from homes that are completely gone. As in, not there anymore. As in, flattened. As in, GONE!!! We are so very blessed and I feel so awful for the people who are going through this nightmare. My heart aches for them- our neighbors and friends.
Since the tornadoes took place, city workers and volunteers alike have helped out with cleanup. Tons of people have been around our neighborhood to look at the damage and ‘sightsee' which I think is awful. They are hindering the cleanup and rebuilding process, for those who are able to rebuild. Crews have been working around the clock to restore power- which we finally got back this afternoon after 2 days without lights. Police officers are parked at BOTH ends of our street to keep unwelcome and unnecessary people off our street and to prevent people from ‘looting' the abandoned homes. We have to show our drivers licenses with our address on them before we are allowed to access our home. It's literally like a war zone here. I took these today:
It's going to take a long time to rebuild the damage on our street, and for our neighbors to rebuild their lives. Please keep these families affected by the tornados in your thoughts and prayers.