The drive home last night was brought to us by Dorothy and her Ruby Red Slippers and Toto in her picnic basket. Oh * My * Goodness!!!
My ride home started off with a ton of traffic... it took me 3 lights to get from the industrial park I work in to get to the freeway on ramp that is literally less than an 1/8th of mile from that intersection. As I got on to the freeway and began to merge into the right hand lane... my fuel light went off. Great! And not more than 10 seconds after that, I received an EMS text on my phone that there were tornado warnings for my home area. Really Great!
I headed south anyway, going slower than the posted speed limit to see what my gas mileage was going to be... I drove over 5 miles before it even dropped down 1 mile on the gauge. I got off the freeway at the last exit before heading up the mountain so I could get some gas. I drove back about a mile to fill up. While I was doing that, I heard on the local radio that tornadoes were spotted 6 to 8 miles northwest of where I live and headed directly towards home. I figured I would get my fuel and then find a place to sit and ride the storm out.
Well... I pulled into the Taco Hell parking lot and pulled into the drive thru lane. As I did that, I noticed that it was quickly becoming very dark and very windy. I placed my order and then noticed some of the employees were outside with their cellphones taking pictures. It got darker, and then the rains started and the winds picked up. Thunder and lightening started in.... huge lightening strikes and thunder so loud, it rocked my car.
I sat in the parking lot for awhile until the lightening was overhead and was scaring me to death. I decided to take my chances and try to get to the freeway. I was able to make my way... but it was slow going, but at least as I drove south, I seemed to be driving away from the storm. There was debris on the freeway, but I didn't encounter anything of concern on the freeways. Once I pulled off the interstate, it was quite different.
What struck me first was that there was virtually no traffic on our 2 lane highway. The farther south I went on our road... the more stuff I saw, until I had to stop for the fire trucks and rescue workers who were clearing the trees from the road in front of me. I made it through the first light... and came to the second light. That intersection had some real damage... trees down, and loose power lines dangling in the wind. There is a monastery at that corner and they suffered extensive tree damage.
I traveled farther down the road, and made it home. I wasn't certain what I would find when I got here. I had trash cans from several neighbors west of me and lots of debris in the yard. All of our patio furniture was scattered in my neighbors back yard. Not just a little ways... but like, under their deck~ and I was certain my patio umbrella was a goner!
Coming into the house, I could see the high water and debris that came up from the heavy rains along the edge of the patio. The door at the top of the stairs was open, pulled open from the negative air pressure as the windows on the porch were open. As I stepped into the kitchen, I was met by a little red dog, cautiously peering around the corner from the hall, hoping nothing was there to scare her. She was so happy and relived to see me, she instantly jumped and twirled in circles. We were both glad I was finally home. We had heavy thunder storms during the rest of the evening... big boomers that shook the entire house and made my heart skip.
I've been to Kansas... and I've been to Oklahoma, but this is the closest I've ever felt to being Dorothy!
Thanks for reading!