From: elmaholder728@gmail.com
Sent: 6/11/2013 8:42:12 A.M. Eastern Daylight Time
Subj: OK Tornadoes and my personal thanks

 

Tornado near Oklahoma City June 2013

Dear Friends.  I fully appreciated the many concerned, comforting messages during our recent OK tornado tragedies.  Regrettably, my yahoo account was completely compromised about that same time.  I lost all but a few e-mail addresses (which I had begun to record on a hard file), so I was unable to respond to most of the messages before my computer was restored.  Now, on g-mail I am rebuilding my contact list with help from a few friends who have been sharing mutual friends e-mail addresses. I know a few of you have had to do this reconstruction for various reasons in the past.  What a pain it is!  You will please note and record my new g-mail address.  For now, I just want to share a few thoughts and lasting impressions from the storms, so vivid still for people living in “tornado alley.”

As you know from news coverage, the Shawnee/Moore area tornadoes were deadly.  We were blessed, because both passed within 10-15 miles from Yukon. Those 2 days were horrendous and amazing because we watched live TV as the tornadoes formed and began their destruction.  (We have our own spring “reality” show here in OK.)  We were advised that our “normally run-to sheltered hall closets” would most likely not be enough to save people as in previous, less massive storms.  We are so grateful for the current technology which keeps us “weather alert” (the new OK buzz word) with minute-to-minute, block-to-block tracking.  It is almost indescribable what emotions surface as one watches such coverage – frightening beyond imagination at times. Intense feelings and dreams linger days after each serious event.

The loss of life and “homes” was tragic. Two of our cousins in the OK City/Moore area lost their homes. Luckily, they were not harmed.  Cousin Troy managed to save his neighbor and her children by hoisting them into his pick-up truck (the closest tornado “cellar” was full).  He sped to a nearby metal culvert – helped them in, throwing his big frame around them – moments before the tornado sped by.  He was bruised by flying debris; otherwise, okay.  Afterwards, they found only a concrete foundation where her house stood.  A small part of Troy’s home was still standing with a few pieces of furniture intact.  His neighbor with children had been headed for her closet when my cousin arrived!

We could hardly imagine that it would be so soon before another F-5 hit the next week right in the backyard of our Yukon community.  Now reported to be the biggest (widest) tornado ever, it had proceeded east down route 66 destroying the local tech school and rural houses 5-6 miles away. If it had continuing tracking 66 it could have wiped out most of our town. As it was, 12 of us (immediate family) were huddled in my nephew’s basement just 2 blocks south of 66.  We had plenty of pillows to cover our heads.  Jagger almost three had a helmet. (We were all wishing we had one too!)  Although we felt vulnerable, with two small low windows in that area, we were relieved to have our family together.

When we left the basement after two hours filled with periodic tornado sirens, the nature of the sky left a remarkable impression.  The sky looked battered and violent.  It appeared to be painted, with deep colors of green, black, brown, and yellow.  It felt and looked evil, as it had been a short time before.  I hope to never see that same sky-view again.

We all know people who suffered serious property damages in this latest storm.  I was fortunate with only minor loss since the strong winds blew siding off a small part of my roof.  I returned home that evening to find my family room covered in water from the torrential rains. I’m now dealing with the insurance company – waiting to see if it will provide the roof repairs, a new ceiling and part of my wood flooring.

Thanks for listening and thanks again for your expressions of concern.  I know that each area of the country has its own share of weather misery and abuse.  It does seem certain to me that Mother Nature expresses her wrath more intensely each year.  For now, like so many others in this area, I have two backpacks filled with things (papers, pictures, etc.) I might need or want with me if all else blows away. I’ll keep them packed during tornado season – and yes, they are in that hall closet; I just may need it  as a last resort!  Everyone is exploring all their options for safety.  Each community needs its own shelters. At least we hope more schools will get them now.

P.S.  Please send Elma your email address if you are a friend or colleague, as she lost most of those she had.

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