Tuesday, March 14, 2006

a good ole midwestern storm

As you may know already the midwest got some pretty bad weather this past weekend. Saturday was glorious at 73 degrees and sunny. I came to find out that this well deserved weather only made the storm making it's way across the rockies madder. Sunday was mostly normal except that the last 2 hours of church was cancelled so people could go home and prepare for any potential weather headed our way. Another reason they cancelled the last part of church was because our ward boundaries are quite large and some people travel quite a distance to get home. The Bishop didn't want these people having to travel in potentially bad weather.

There is a man in our ward who lives in Unionville which is about 45 miles northwest of Kirksville. He doesn't have a car so various members of the ward pitch in to pick him up and take him home from church. Sunday was my week to take Dave home but the weather was too sketchy to make the drive right after church. We went back to our house and waited for a few hours keeping an eye on the weather (via nws.noaa.gov, a great resource). Some of the weather looked like it was passing so we decided to make a go for it. We had also read that it was going to get worse as the day progressed and we figured we would rather make this trip in full daylight. Driving there wasn't a problem but as we approached the town there was a rather scary looking cloud hovering overhead. As we pulled in it became very dark, I realised that we needed to drop Dave off and get out of there as soon as possible. We practically kicked him out the door and took off. As we pulled into the town square so we could get onto the road out of town our car was struck on the left by really heavy winds. The car was pelted with gravel and dirt. Eugena just told me to get out of there so I turned right and floored it. Right after we turned right the winds really picked up. In front of us we saw all pieces of buildings flying from roofs, lawn chairs flying in the air, a trampoline flying end over end through people's yards and debris was just falling from the sky. I hit the gas even harder and flew through a bunch of stop signs just wanted to get aways from these flying hazards. As we were driving our car was struck by a giant piece of styrofoam. I just head a thud, Eugena saw it and pieces of styrofoam in our door jam confirmed what it was (lucky for us, in retrospec it could have been something more dense!). Speeding east we got to a point where we needed to get back on the main road if we wanted to get out of town. We hung a quick left then a right to put us on the road out of there. Looking to our left on the main road we saw a huge tree that had fallen in the middle of the road that we had taken into town. We were lucky to have taken a side street.

After we got on the main road we sped ahead of the storm, got home safely and spent the rest of the night watching the weather and preparing for the worst. Kirksville historically has been between 2 fairly established tornado "alleys". This held true for this storm. Word is that over 80 tornadoes touched down in Missouri Sunday night and early Saturday morning. It was amazing to see the storm heading towards us on the radar and then kind of split and go around Kirksville. We did get our fair share of rain and wind though. There was some pretty serious damage done not too far from us: Baseball size hail in Macon-30 miles south, a couple tornadoes in Columbia-90 miles south, 4 tornado related deaths in Renick-65 miles south, and what we experienced in Unionville-45 miles northwest. Local papers are reporting that the storm that hit Unionville was in fact a tornado. It's pretty crazy to think we were there when it hit. We are extremely blessed to have been kept out of harms way, we still can't believe we were there during the tornado. Luckily there were no deaths and few injuries in Unionville due to the storm. You can check out the local news report about the Unionville storm at: http://www.ktvo.com/Global/story.asp?S=4621778&nav=menu124_1