Gogo, the critters and I have all survived our first Texas twister. Yep, you heard me.... a freaking TORNADO! All those things I've been saying about how terrified I am of tornados? The fear definitely got healthier after last night!!
It's been hot all week, miserably hot. (Yes, I know it's going to get a LOT hotter, but it HAS been almost 100 every single day out here in the country...!) The forecast for yesterday evening had a slight chance of thunderstorms included, and I didn't think too much of it until around 6pm. Suddenly, out of nowhere, giant angry clouds appeared on the horizon just northwest of my house. One minute it was clear, and the next time I looked out the window.... BAM! That can't be good.
The clouds continued to build up in the west, and looked like they were going to land a direct hit on our place. Radar showed that the movement of the storms was north, but that they were crawling VERY slowly east towards where we were. I floored it over to the main farm, and found this waiting for me:
My boss made the comment that they looked like tornado producers. I didn't stick around long enough to find out. The lightning had begun, and I rushed to secure everything, lock the horses in the barn, and hightail it back to my house, where Gogo was still out in turnout next to her neighbor Bobo. I checked the radar, saw we were now under a Severe Thunderstorm Warning (had only been a watch before), and called my landlord's wife to let her know that we needed to bring the horses in, NOW.
Both horses were in the very back of their fields when we went to go get them. Neither showed any interest in coming to us, even though we were calling and calling their names. It was impossible for them to hear us over the roar of the increasing winds, and every time I turned back around to look at the incoming storm, I was blinded by ground-seeking bolts of lightning. At this point, Bobo had decided that he had had enough of this crap, and came galloping towards my landlord's wife. Gogo, not to be deterred, blasted off like a bottle rocket, galloping right past me (of course I was almost at the very end of the pasture by then.... thanks Gogo) so she could follow her boyfriend's every move. When she got near the gate, she stopped dead, eyeballs popping out of her head at the sight of the lightning. We got both horses safely in their stalls, gave them water and hay, crossed our fingers, and all took off to our respective houses.
This is what was outside my door at this point:
And then, night closed in around us. The wind completely stopped. There was nothing but silence, and darkness... the calm before the storm. It didn't last very long.
The storm crawled slowly closer and closer. It continued to move mostly north, but it didn't stop inching sideways towards us. All I could see at this point was lightning, neverending lightning. It flashed repeatedly every second, darting through the clouds, streaking towards the ground. The thunder became louder, the winds stronger. Without warning, the sky opened, and rain lashed the windows, rattling the panes and sending my animals into a tailspin. Quarter-sized hail came pelting down out of the sky, and I had a moment where I honestly feared for my windows. The lightning was so intense that I could do nothing at this point except stare wide-eyed out my window, breathing shallowly and wondering if this was the time to gather my pets and hunker down in my innermost bathroom - the only shelter I have against a big storm. And then, something strange was happening to the clouds. They were doing things that didn't make sense. Illuminated by the neverending lightning all around me, I saw the very finger of God coming down out of the sky, and my heart stopped. It can't be.
The Weatherbug on my computer chirped at me in a sweet way as I stood frozen in the windowframe. Tornado Warning! You might wanna take cover! I didn't even know if my legs would work to get my terrified self to safety. I was paralyzed with fear.
I was lucky enough that what I witnessed had already passed me by, and was some miles away from me at this point. I was very stupid NOT to go hide in the bathroom, but radar showed the cell to be passing us completely with a break behind it, so I didn't completely panic even though I maybe should have. The cell went right over the main farm, and my boss heard it and tried in a frenzy to get all of her dogs into her back room. By the time she had started to collect them, the roar of the freight train had already stopped. This morning, there are a few huge trees on the ground, and every jump we own is scattered all over the place, but those are the only signs that something was amiss last night. We were lucky. Really, really lucky.
As far as I know, the tornado that I saw never actually made contact with the ground. There was not much in the way of damage away from the farm, so I think it was just enough to give us a pretty good scare and nothing more.
Sure worked though. I went to bed at around midnight, and another mega cell came overtop of us not too long thereafter. The power went out, the lightning flashed, the thunder boomed, and I curled under my bedcovers and hid. Future Hubs was on high alert for me while he was at work, watching the radar and sending me alert updates, so he let me know what was going on with the storm. I had my bathroom all bedded up at this point, filled with blankets, pillows, water, and bowls for the pets, and I was ready for the moment when I needed to run. I probably should have just gone for it, seeing as tornados can and do randomly pop up in big storm cells like that. Next time I won't be so stupid.
Good lord. Welcome to Texas springtime. I knew I had a reason to be terrified!
The very special Ridgeway weekend
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