Friday, October 30, 2009

And the waters rose...


Yesterday was CRAZY.
All day long, we had awful rain on the weather radar, threats of "its' coming" but all day long, nothing. No rain. Just moderate clouds and mild wind. Hubby and I decided we'd had enough laying around the house waiting for a storm that wasn't coming, so he decided to go hunting, figuring the deer would be moving before the rain, and I took Little Miss to go to the store.
Little Miss and I got into town and for some reason, as I was passing the street my grandma lives on (about 6 blocks from my parents house) I had the sudden urge to stop in and say hi. I can't explain it other than God's prompting, so I made the split decision and whipped the car down her street. We went inside and said hey, and turned on the local weather channel...and all chaos broke loose. The radar was a giant neon red and orange torrent of rain, there were tornado WARNINGS - not watches, but real warnings - north of town, with "favorable conditions for more".

Little Miss and I, naturally, stayed right there and watched the weather, which they tracked more tornados out by house in the country where we'd just left, and flash flooding. I believe one part of town got almost 2 inches of rain in 10 minutes. At my grandma's house, it was barely raining, but we decided to stay put and do the store another day. Of course I couldn't reach my husband in the woods, so I texted him frantically for hours with updates, hoping he'd have enough reception to get them. I wasn't TOO worried about him, because seriously, my husband could live in the woods alone for a week with no readily available food and water and thrive. He's just that kind of man. But I still wanted to know he was safe and not up in a tree stand in all this lightning.
It finally seemed like the worst was over, so Little Miss and I left there and went to my parents house nearby to check in since my mom was worried about us, before heading home. Well we checked the weather again there and BAM - all over again, here it came. You know things are bad when the weatherman, who is supposed to stay calm in the midst of disaster, is saying things like "wow...another tornado has been sighted...wow....I can't believe this..." in a grave voice.

I finally reached Hubby, who was outside of most of the storms and wasn't really affected. My dad and sister amde it home safely from work with crazy stories. Apparently one of the tornados hit downtown, where I used to work, and where my dad and sister still work. My sister, on the 19th floor of a skyscraper downtown, felt the building actually sway. They walked down 19 floors of stairs to avoid the elevator in case of power failure. Smart. Well one of my mom's friends who works in the same tower did ride the elevator, and got stuck. Yikes. Meanwhile, after they all got home, my sister heard that the parking garage where she usually parks (two stories tall, the top deck open, no roof) was hit so that EVERY SINGLE CAR on the top floor had its windows blown out. EVERY SINGLE ONE. Also, parts of the roof of the civic center came off, and worse off all, a gorgeous, big Methodist church that sits at the top of the main thoroughfare of downtown, about three blocks from my sister's building and the building where I used to work, was hit by the tornado as well and the STEEPLE on top of the church FELL OFF and HIT A CAR at a redlight below. The man was trapped inside his car, which was a 4 door sedan but resembled a convertible, for an hour while rescue crews worked to get him out. Last I heard, he was alive and okay but only by pure miracle.
Here are pics of the wreckage in my city.



Wow. I still shudder. That's how big the steeple was.




Above is a pic of the drainage ditch a few blocks from my parents house where we were. That car obviously washed into the ditch and flooded. This was taken this morning.
Above is a townhouse fire in Bossier City, where my husband works. Hmmm. And they're wanting to lay off policemen and firemen? I'm just saying...
Last night, Hubby met me at my parents around 8 and we had to drive home. That was the scariest drive of my life. Hubby led the way in his giant 4x4, lifted Dodge Ram. I followed in my four door Sebring, Little Miss asleep in the backseat. We talked on the phone the whole time, him warning me in the rain and dark when there was water coming up, when I needed to move to the center of the road, etc. It worked pretty well until we lost reception close to home and I had to drive without his help.
The scariest part, though, was about halfway down a main street leading out to the boonies where we live, there was a policeman road block. They said that we could make it through but we had to drive super slow and stay in the oncoming lane. The gas station parking lot to the right had flooded so bad, the water was rushing sideways across the street and into the ditch by the woods. I held my breath the entire time we crossed, thinking the cop was crazy for even letting us through. I could hear the water pounding my DOOR and there were literal whitecaps in the rushing water. It was absolutely terrifying.
We made it through and home, and thankfully Little Miss slept through the entire adventure.

Above is a pic of the flooding in Bossier City. This is similar to what I had to drive through on my way home!! Ugh!!

Looking back now, I see so many metaphors to last night. I think about how God leads us through the rainy, windy places in our lives and talks us through the high water when we're scared. He alone is our lifeline. We can cling to that even if the floods rise, fires blaze, and well, steeples fall. Because He will never let us down.

PS - because I'm exhausted and because I posted this today instead, I'm announcing the winner to the Sandra Byrd book on Monday instead of today. So spread the word and sign up if you haven't!! You get one more weekend of chances!! =)

13 comments:

Stephanie Reed said...

Wow, Betsy, thanks for sharing your stories and photos. I'm glad you're all safe.

Mary said...

Betsy, God and His angels were certainly working overtime in your area last night. I'm so glad you were able to get home safely.

Blessings,
Mary

TheFancyFritter said...

Oh my, Betsy! It was an adventure! and scary too! I'm glad to know ya'll made it home safely & that was so crazy about the steeple! I haven't seen that 1st picture of the car yet, and it is amazing to see how that man made it out alive!! The Lord definitely protected him!

Whew...that's about all the excitement I need for awhile! LOL

Bonnie Calhoun said...

This whole encounter has given me goosebumps reading it! I praise God for his blessings of mercy and protection on you and your family.

God bless my friend!

Erica Vetsch said...

Wow, I saw the weather report yesterday and wondered if it was close to you. I guess it was! Wow!

Eileen Astels Watson said...

Wow, that's unbelievable. Praise God the driver was okay!

Georgiana said...

OH WOW!!! That's a lot of storming. And you wanted us to move there? LOL!!! I'm too chicken. I like storms, but not STORMS. Soo glad you are all safe and snug.

Library girl said...

Glad you all got home safely. I am very nervous driving in that sort of weather. I once was driving down a motorway (I'm not sure if you call them that in the US) and one of my windscreen wipers broke in a heavy down pour with no where to stop! That was an "interesting" drive)

Leslie said...

ok this is crazy....I read your blog from time to time as I am a Steeple Hill fan and working on my own book.....but I didn't realize you live close to me! those tornadoes were wild yesterday for sure! I live in Arkansas....there were a couple close to us...yikes! Glad you and yours are safe! The church steeple story was on The Today Show this morning...amazing....

Katie Ganshert said...

Holy cow, Betsy! That is all-around craziness. So, I've worked my way through a few of the books on my humungous stack of to-be-read books, and reached Return to Love yesterday. I picked it up and so far have read the first two chapters and already I'm hooked. Your writing really flows and is super believable! Love it, girl!

Edna said...

That is terrible I am so afraid of storms, was in one tornado once, but it was the edge of it, and we didn't get a lot of damage. God sure know how to show his wrath whenever He feels like it, and if it is our time to go we will be sitting there. Thanks God all of you were safe.

mamat2730(at)charter(dot)net

Lori said...

I'm so glad you and Little Miss were safe at your grandmas! Those pictures are intense!

jenness said...

So glad you all are safe!