Tornadoes and Luck

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Bill N

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Ozark, Missouri
The night of April 30 proved to be one of the luckiest nights of our long life.  We knew rough weather was forecast and had the weather radio and our phones set to receive any warnings. But while watching a Cardinals game (7th inning for those who care) the weather radio sounded off and the phone notifications sounded about the same time.  Within 30 seconds the following happened:
  1.  We lost all power
  2.  We heard hail on the roof
  3.  The front window in the dining roof blew out spraying glass all through the kitchen and living room. We were far enough way to receive no injuries nor did any of our animals but the cats went to their hiding place where we never can find them. (we eventually did after several hours)
  4.  Then I heard the freight train sound and said - to myself - OH S--T. as it roared on through in no more than 5 - 10 seconds.
  5.  Silence for a few minutes as I thought about the nice tornado shelter we had put in our garage 8 years ago after Joplin was nearly destroyed by one of these beasts.  We never got a chance to use it this night but, as it turned out, we were one of the more fortunate this evening.

It wasn't long before we heard the siren of emergency vehicles and then the street lit up with ambulances, police and fire. It was then by their headlights and searchlights that we saw how lucky we were. No less than 3 houses across the street and next to us were destroyed by the tornado and probably 20-30 more, including mine had varying degrees of damage from relatively minor to probably totalled.  Mine was the most fortunate in that all we had was a lot of roof shingles removed, numerous ceiling wet spots (it was raining hard when this occurred), entire wood fence blown down (as were nearly all others in the neighborhood) and a window smashed with lots of glass in the house.
The next morning the street was covered with restoration people, Convoy of Hope (who nicely cut up the huge tree that was down across my driveway), Salvation Army and scores of volunteers who just appeared to help - God bless them all.  My USAA insurance adjuster whom we called about an hour after the tornado hit had people arriving early the next morning to do temporary roof patching and removal of wet attic insulation as well as putting numerous fans and humidifiers throughout the house to mitigate the ceiling damage (and it is working well).  Our 1% of valuation deductible will cover a heck of a lot of damage and get us a new roof, new fence (350 feet of it) and a lot of odds and ends including pickup of debris which I could not do because of my COPD and oxygen use.

We will be much more cognizant in the future of severe weather and this tornado just about makes the gamut of things we have been through in our married life - earthquake in California, numerous blizzards in the Dakotas, flood in North Dakota and hurricanes in our home town of New Orleans.  Maybe I can make 80 without any more disasters - that is only 7 months away.

Have yet to check on the motorhome - it is stored about 4 miles away in an area not affected by any of the 9 tornadoes that hit this area Tuesday night.  If it had been at the house I think it would have been blown away.
 

Hfx_Cdn

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Sep 22, 2006
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Nova Scotia
    Bill, the fact that you 2 made it through with only minor injuries is a miracle, the rest insurance will mostly cover.  Overall it is a good news story.  Hopefully the RV will have been spared any damage. 
    Keep us informed as this progresses.

Ed
 

Oldgator73

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Dover, DE & Mouth of Wilson, VA
Glad you and your wife came out unscathed. I think we are all guilty of not paying great enough heed to weather warnings. We?ve been through our share of hurricanes, floods, tornadoes, earthquakes, you name it. I think tornadoes are the scariest. Glad your still around Bill.
 

jackiemac

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Oh my goodness, I am so glad you are OK.  We don't get anything like the weather you guys have here in the UK and I am so grateful for that. I am always conscious of the weather when in the US. It must have been terrifying.  For a minute I thought you were in the RV when it happened.  I presume no-one was seriously hurt.

On a lighter note, remind me not to camp next to you.... ever...  ;D

I hope you and your neighbours get those repairs done quickly and you can get on with working towards that birthday.

Stay safe.
 

Old_Crow

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Tom's Place, California
Bill, maybe a move to Hawaii, so you can add volcanic eruption to your list?

Seriously, I grew up in California, and moved to Arkansas around 27 years ago.  I'd way rather go through an earthquake than a tornado.  An earthquake comes and goes almost before you know it.  A tornado, you get to sit and watch it come for you.  Same with a hurricane, for that matter.

Glad you guys made it through okay.
 

Gizmo100

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So glad you and your are OK Bill

jackiemac said:
On a lighter note, remind me not to camp next to you.... ever...  ;D

Also on that Lighter note....I have been very bless to never feel the wrath of Mother Nature...

So either I'm good luck  8) or my number is coming up :eek:
 

ArdraF

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Feb 12, 2006
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10,693
Bill and Joan - Thank goodness you're both okay!  I hate tornadoes and hurricanes...they're so much more destructive than most earthquakes.  Don't envy you the reconstruction.  Take care.

ArdraF
 

Memtb

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North-Central Wyoming
Very glad you?re safe with minimal damage.....you?re very fortunate! Of all weather events....I think that tornadoes are my greatest fear! memtb
 

catblaster

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Kissimmee, Floriduh
  Glad you made it through Bill, the freight train sound is unmistakable with a pucker factor of 10. I have had one go overhead in the treetops while I was underneath in an old VW, one took out trees between me and my neighbor and another was about 10/mile away. On the last one our aussie shepard was never the same after that, frightened of the slightest storm. She is the one that woke us up from a sound sleep, sometimes you just have to trust the dog !!
 

djw2112

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East Texas
WOW that is scary, glad you are both OK...  I have never experienced a tornado as an adult but i remember them when i was a kid and i dont want to experience one.  But living in this part of Texas which is part of Tornado Alley im sure the day will come when i too shall get a midnight visit from mother nature.  If that happens i just kinda hope that she takes me with her because ill most likey be homeless (even with insurance) afterwords,, and im too old and tired to deal with that struggle and stress of having to start over, its just not worth it to me. 

I do pray for those that got hit hard and wishing them the best going forward.
 

Bill N

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Ozark, Missouri
Thank you all for your kind words.  We are doing fine, a little overtired from trying to sleep with 11 fans and two dehumidifiers blasting away inside the house.  They make it sound like another tornado 24/7 but last night I turned off a few of them to get some sleep.  We were amazed to find that we are the only family still living in our house of the three others on our cul-de-sac and of the nine or ten others behind us and across the street - too much damage for those folks.

One lesson we want to pass on - get yourself a good and reliable insurance carrier.  USAA has been the best and several of the neighbors are having problems with the reactions of their companies.  USAA appointed one company in our area to be the lead reconstruction company and they will either do the work required or subcontract what they can't do and they have been doing just that.  The only call we have had to make is the initial call to USAA an hour or so after the tornado. 

Sorry we won't be moving to Hawaii to enjoy an eruption of a volcano but we wish our best to those to have to endure that.  Lava flows are not my bag.

We were all prepared to move the motorhome onto the front lawn if the house had not been livable but the USAA agent had told us that we also had unlimited stay in temporary housing (which they would obtain) as repairs were made to our house.  The next door neighbor who will be out for at least 2 to 3 months while repairs are made was told by his company that he will get a week in a motel and a month in a 700 sq foot apartment.

All plans to sell the motorhome are off for now as I look upon it as a second home option for an extended period and the animals love it.  We really appreciate the comments you in our RV family have made and hope none of you ever have to go through one of these events.  Thankfully there only injuries and no fatalities in the neighborhood and the weather service has officially deemed this particular tornado to be and EF-2 with winds of between 100 and 110 mph covering a width of 500 yards and a distance of 10 miles.  Several hundred homes were affected with about 30 or 40 totally destroyed.  Time to end my second vent.  Thanks to all again.

Bill & Joan
 

Bill N

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Ozark, Missouri
Dragginourbedaround said:
Glad you're okay Bill, time to buy a lottery ticket!  :)
Thanks for the suggestion Gene but my tries with those have never been productive.  However I have learned over the years that prayer is nearly 100 percent effective.
 

djw2112

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East Texas
Bill N said:
I have learned over the years that prayer is nearly 100 percent effective.

I have experienced the same thing lately on several things, and of course i am thankful :)
 

camperAL

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Indiana
Hi Bill,

Glad you weren't badly effective and the Man upstairs was looking out for you! A little repair and you should be back to normal. I feel sorry for those in your region as there have been quite a few bad storms through there and I am sure there are a lot of good people who live there. I've stopped in Joplin many times and think about them and the trouble storm wise that has occurred in the past. I hope all the folks that are effected are able to overcome this!
 

John From Detroit

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Apr 12, 2005
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Davison Michigan
We all know how big and bad Hurricanes are (I was 3 miles outside the mandatory evac area a few years back.. Had a piece of trim come loose is all).

But what many do not know is when it comes to wind speed Tornados basically pick up where Hurricanes leave off..  (LIke F-5 Hurricane is about an F-2 Tornado without looking it up)

I've been close to a few tornados in my time.. I much prefer to follow the advice of the experts

Question: Where is the best place to take shelter in a Hurricane (Or Tornado or ____)

Correct short answer:  ELSEWHERE
(Correct answer: A Shelter outside the storm area)

And yes that is the official answer to a federal government question.
 

Bill N

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Ozark, Missouri
A short YouTube video of my 'hood' after the tornado went through.

https://youtu.be/t4buQpmR8ws

My house is in the cul-de-sac with the single dark blue car on the street in front - across from the totally destroyed house.  Most of the homes that look undamaged actually have moderate damage of smashed windows and blown down fences and yard equipment scattered for blocks.  Our neighbor found a 100 lb propane tank in his yard and has no idea where it came from - nobody uses propane in this neighborhood.
 

jim_manley

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Apr 28, 2019
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Montana, United States of America, Planet Earth, S
Bill N said:
A short YouTube video of my 'hood' after the tornado went through.

https://youtu.be/t4buQpmR8ws

WOW, Bill!!!  You didn't dodge a bullet, you dodged a bombing run!  I was in Guam after a 250+ mph typhoon passed over the island four times (the track looked like a cloverleaf overpass).  Four abandoned Vietnamese cargo ships (that had carried thousands of refugees) were driven up onto dry ground in the Outer Harbor, and a tug boat was sitting at the main gate to the Naval Station, hundreds of yards from the Inner Harbor, due to probably 15 - 20 feet of storm surge.

The whole island looked like your neighbors' former places, with not a leaf left on any vegetation, no birds remained that weren't inside concrete buildings (some tagged birds were later found in the Philippines, 1,200 miles to the West), and the original McDonalds became the major supplier of hot food for many island residents (it was the world's largest, with massive underground freezers storing weeks of food for tens of thousands of people a day, powered by buried generators).

The food was delivered by the deployed Naval Construction Battalion (SEABEES) using their heavy construction equipment.  It was also used for clearing debris and performing construction of temporary buildings until permanent contract work to replace tens of thousands of houses and government/military/commercial buildings could be completed.

We have a saying in the Navy, "Lord, thy sea is so great, and my boat is so small ... ".  Thankfully, your "boat" is still "afloat", for the most part.  We hope you and your neighbors recover as quickly as possible.

All the Best,
Jim and Mary
 
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