April A to Z Blogging Challenge – Day Twenty – Tornado

I live in the mountains of Virginia, twenty-two miles from the Tennessee state line, just a few hundred yards from Interstate 81. I can be in North Carolina within an hour, and Kentucky about the same. Where I live is a place that rarely experiences the ravages of a Tornado. I can remember only one in my lifetime, which would have been about 1975 or so. Sure, we get the occasional tornado warning, but it is a mild concern on most days.

The evening of April 27th and early morning of April 28th, 2011 was an exception to this relative safety. If you search Wikipedia you will learn this was known as the Super Outbreak of 2011. During the three-day period from April 25-28 at least 350 tornadoes were recorded in the United States. Many of these tornadoes ranked EF-3 or higher on the Enhanced Fujita scale of tornado veracity.

We carefully monitored the continuous coverage of our local weather station on the television as they documented the numerous threatening storm cells in our region. There were several times that night a cell passed over that made us wary, but we never felt imminent danger. We continued to monitor the situation until nearly midnight, then considered the situation safe and went to bed.

Hardly eighty minutes later an EF-2 twister hit on the west side of my hometown, Abingdon, ripping through a golf course and country club community. Luckily there were no deaths and few injuries involved. No doubt this was due to the storm striking in the overnight hours.

Within a half hour of this touchdown however there was a stronger EF-3 Tornado that hit my father’s hometown of Glade Spring, Va. Three souls were lost in this touchdown along with several structures, including a manufacturing business that was unable to re-open, costing several jobs. I was able to become part of the disaster relief the next evening and served with the state of Virginia disaster relief in clean-up and with a feeding trailer. I was so happy to be able to help do this so close to home.

You will notice I did not include any photographs with this post. I did not take photos when i went to Glade Spring because it occurred to me that if I was the one standing in front of my freshly destroyed home i would not like for passersby to take pictures. To me it was a matter of respect. I would rather take my time and help them either secure a tarp over missing pieces of their roof or help them collect their belongings with my hands than capture their misery on my camera.

SPECIAL NOTE : I would like to use this space to offer a heartfelt thank you to Arlee Byrd, the founder of this challenge. I am happy to see his vision become such a great success. Leaders always step out of the pack to create something special. We want Arlee to know how much we appreciate his genius.

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About Joe Owens

Can you tell from my writing I love God? I hope so because that is what I want you to know most about me. I am also a writer who loves taking on fiction prompts and crafting a story. One day you will read my work in print. Until then enjoy it here! For free!
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3 Responses to April A to Z Blogging Challenge – Day Twenty – Tornado

  1. noelleg44 says:

    A small tornado hit our house during Hurricane Fran in September of 1997. I cowered in the safest room of the house with four children (two not ours!), while my husband ran around putting pots under leaks in the roof and broken skylights. When it was over, all of our cars had been crushed and there were four loblolly pines on or in our house. But we survived, and it was a great life lesson – from the gifts of help from our friends to the slow recovery process to the day we got a new roof. We’re strong, we can come out of it!

  2. Joe, I guess Virginia is more mountainous, therefore better protected than Ohio. Since we’ve moved here, we’ve had a few scares but have been lucky so far. I do love the watching the skies and swirling clouds when it gets a bit stormy, though I’ve got a healthy respect for a tornado.

  3. We’ve never had tornadoes in Ireland. They sound terrifying. Acts of God normally are .

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