A walk through Tornado Alley

“If you don’t like the weather in Oklahoma… just wait five minutes.” This is a commonly used phrase describing the extreme changes that can happen within a moments time. I’m here at the end of Spring which means the rain is finishing up and the sun brings on the heat. Combine those two things and you have a humid day that often leaves you feeling sticky and constantly thirsty. This year, another element has shown it’s face earlier than usual and that little monster is called tornado season.

It’s usually the thunder that wakes you up. Sharp cracking is the first sound that alarms your peaceful rest followed by the roll of deep thunder. With the windows rattling and your heart pounding, sleep is now something of the past. As you attempt to drift off, the continuous lightening keeps your room looking like there’s paparazzi outside with dozens of cameras constantly snapping photos. I’m actually writing this post with the sound of the storm as my music and the constant light flicker as a reminder that it’s still dark outside.

With that said, let me take you on a tour of an Oklahoma Spring day. Ours starts as a bright event, with clear skies and happy children chasing butterflies as we gather in my families yard.

My dad is currently building a studio in his backyard for my grandfather who needs assisted living. This perfect sized guest house will also be a great future hide out for my siblings as they grow up and “need space”. I’m not sure if you could pay me enough to go back to those teenage years! Either way, this project has turned into a family effort due to my talented father severely injuring his dominate arm. With cousins, kids and friends… let the construction continue!

What you can’t see here, is the intensity building as we raced against the wind to finish what was necessary. Tornado warnings had been rumoring the town all day!

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With our powers combined, the days work is wrapped up just in time to hear the first city alarm sound. It’s informing us that with the next siren, you must promptly take shelter. Here are the clouds bubbling up on the way back to my grandmas house.

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Photo opportunity! The usual handstand picture before the storm takes over (Thanks for the fun idea Aunt Cindee!) and a “creative” sign displayed by a local.

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My cousin Kaleb captured a few photos on his way home as well. He lives in the other direction and was heading towards the lightening! Notice in the first picture, he’s actually following the storm trackers from the news station.

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As Kaleb gained ground, this was his final photo before putting the camera down and thankfully making it safely to his wife and daughter.

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As the darkness followed him, the clearing left us with birds singing in the light of a rainbow. This was definitely an unexpected sight after going through such aggressive weather.

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To give you an idea of just how separated the sky can be, I took this panoramic as the circulation was beginning. It was like watching day turn to night in seconds.

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Attempting to sleep, a few more violent knocks at the window, tells me that the sky is still dancing and the threat isn’t over. A big day, a longer night and finally the sun welcomes a new start.

The morning arrives with blue sky and a few tree limbs scattered around the damp ground as the only evidence of the vicious night prior. This brings a heart of gratitude and numerous phone calls to check up on loved ones around. I’m thankful to say that my volunteer work for the Oklahoma tornados will not be done in the town of my family… others aren’t so fortunate.

To end this post on a cheerful note, I’ll return to the common phrase, “If you don’t like the weather in Oklahoma, just wait five minutes”. Here’s a recap of the 48 hours that followed the tree snapping, life threatening, heart pounding chaos.

The sun is out, the twisters are gone so now it’s time to play!

Working up a sweat!

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Water balloon games!

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Any excuse to get wet…

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What do you get with a hot day, buckets of water and 6 siblings in a backyard? A classic water fight!

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It took no convincing to finish up the fun with some good ol’ fashion country swimming!

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Kicked out by the neighbors horses, we headed back home with all smiles and more memories to add to the precious family album.

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Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

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4 thoughts on “A walk through Tornado Alley

  1. you need to write a travel column
    i think thats your calling as you travel and write

  2. delphine tocchini

    be safe loved one….thinking of you always..

  3. Lacie Lemmon

    Loved reading this , you are an amazing writer Erika!

  4. Robin

    Glad you made it through this round! Supposed to be 108 in Sac on Saturday–time for indoor activities!

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