It was a rough night here in the Tulsa area where I live. At about 5:30 pm I could hear the tornado sirens going off outside my living room window. My wife called me from her cell phone just then to tell me that they had spotted a half-mile wide tornado and to turn the weather channel on to see what was happening. I did as soon as I hung up with her. The big tornado was headed towards our house. She was traveling home from work and it looked like to me from what the weather man was saying she was headed right into the storm. I opened the patio door and the air seemed eerily still outside. Dark black clouds were starting to form to the north and west of where we lived. There was no rain, but the wind was picking up and I could tell it wouldn’t be long before a deluge would hit us.
My wife arrived within a thirty minute time span and as soon as she did I rushed to the car to meet her and we drove to a local theater to seek shelter. Others had the same idea and hurried into the front part of the theater area to take cover. We sat down at some tables near the front of the theater lounge area that had a view to the outside. The clouds started to get darker and darker, with some swirling upwards. Soon it started to rain and small pellets of hail started to fall in rapidity. The theater owner advised us then to take cover inside the hallways away from the windows or to go inside the auditorium area itself. We decided to take her advice and moved with the crowd into a more protected area. My wife and I grabbed each others hands and prayed that GOD would get us through this and that the storm would pass us by.
We waited in a hallway area just outside the auditorium area but we really didn’t know what was going on with the storm outside since we didn’t have a weather radio or cell phone to try to get weather information. We had to rely on others around us and no one seemed to know what was going on with the storm. The bad part of the storm eventually passed by and it started to rain heavily for an hour or more. Then it let up a bit at about 7:30 and we decided to head back to our house which is only about a block or so away from the theater.
The storm did eventually pass by and the rains stopped later in the evening. This morning I woke up to find that one person had lost their life in nearby Sand Springs in a trailer park. The trailer park was destroyed. The tornado had caused a gymnasium to collapse with fifty children nearly losing their lives. Fortunately they were all saved. Cars were flipped over and other businesses were damaged. More than 30 thousand people lost power here last night.
It could have been a lot worse for this area and has been in the past. I grew up in the Oklahoma City area so I am not unfamiliar with the weather patterns in Oklahoma. We were trained as youngsters in drills in elementary schools to take cover during a tornado. I got used to crawling under my desk for all of those drills. You either had a storm shelter underground or you knew a neighbor or friend who did. With wind speeds that can reach upwards of 260 mph you most certainly want to be in a very safe place. They say Oklahoma City is one of the most dangerous places to live on the planet since, it is in what is called “Tornado Alley”. Oklahoma City holds the record for the most tornadoes since 1890 at about 140. Since 1893 Oklahoma City has been struck 26 times by two or more tornadoes in the same day. The Tulsa area is in the same Tornado Alley.
My prayers go out to those who lost a family member in the aftermath of the first tornado here in Oklahoma this year. I also pray for those who might have been hurt, or had property damaged and had their lives overturned. I am thankful that there was not more loss of life or injuries and that my wife and I were safe last night. Last night reminded me that GOD is in control of everything in our lives, even the weather.