They are fierce spirals of destruction and death and they descend often with no warning.
It’s tornado season once more. My heart is heavy for the horrible devastation and loss of life that’s descended upon the state of Oklahoma.
The horrific photos that are displayed online and on my TV screen remind me too well of the years when my husband and I also lived in “Tornado Alley,” first in Oklahoma for a few years and then several more residing in the Midwest.
I had my own brief encounter with a terrifying twister during our time living there and our oldest daughter resided in a state down south that was hard hit by a tornado a couple of years ago.
I wrote about our experiences in a blog post that earned me a Freshly Pressed moment. If you’d like to read it, click here.
But this spate of fierce storms, this round of twisting, churning sheer power was again too close for comfort for members of my family. This time it threatened my sister and brother-in-law and my niece’s family and friends.
I flipped on the TV the other night prior to bedtime to check the Weather Channel and was jolted into high alert to hear the town where my sister lived had just suffered a tornado touchdown that day.
Fortunately, I was able to reach her by cell phone and we talked briefly because they had no power. They were fine but had evacuated their home when that horrible twister headed straight for them.
My great-nephew is a meteorology student and one of those crazy people who actually chase storms. He’s been interested in all things weather-related since he was a little boy.
He was out “storm chasing” with his girlfriend when he realized the monster was headed for his grandparents’ home, so he drove there and safely got his grandparents out of harm’s way. Nephew’s girlfriend took the photo above from my sister’s back porch.
In my sister’s own words, she described what happened in an email: “This one was tooooooooo close for comfort. Praise the Lord for protection. We watched the news all day as they touched down all around us. A great big & furious one was coming straight for us… it was wrapped in rain & started to hail (some bigger than golf balls). Then debris started falling out of the sky. That’s when we all jumped in his truck & headed North.
This morning we heard about the tragic damage & I can see some of it from our back porch. Several of our neighbors have lost everything. It came to within 1/2 mile behind us. The good Lord has definitely protected us…all the houses for 1/2 mile north towards us are all gone. Then it turned East for 1/2 mi & then turned North missing us. It’s heart-sickening.
Carney, a smaller town North of us was almost totally wiped off the map also on Sunday. Because we set on the brow of a small hill, I can see several rubble of our neighbors’ homes from my back porch. All the other flattened neighbors’ homes are south & west of us. ..The sights are heart-breaking. But praise God again….we are safe. Pray for our fellow Oklahomans who are left with nothing but the clothes on their backs & especially the ones who have lost loved ones.”
We are blessed and so very thankful to say that our loved ones and their home was spared. Extended family and friends we have in Oklahoma can say the same. But so many people have lost loved ones, their homes, their businesses and everything but the clothes they wore that day. And my heart grieves for them and their loss.
But there’s something each one of us can do. As my sister requested, we can pray for those suffering, those who were injured, those who lost family or friends. We can ask God to provide for them, to heal those who were injured, to comfort those who grieve.
“The Lord is near to the brokenhearted, and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” ~ Psalm 34:18
On this beautiful, sunny spring day where all is tranquil and calm at my house, I know that our brothers and sisters are hurting and we need to be God’s helping hands.