As most heard, Sunday evening Illinois & Missouri had some really bad weather!
Joplin, Missouri had a really bad tornado go through it and the death toll keeps rising from it daily. In Northern Illinois we had large areas without power, a middle school with it's roof blown off, and a major fire due to powerlines getting destroyed (and firetrucks delayed in getting there due to debris in the way!). So far it's been confirmed we had 3 (maybe 4) tornados come through the area that night!
Not to downplay Joplin, but it was pretty intense up here too!
And I got stuck driving home in part of the storm.
I was scheduled to close at work that night. On Sundays the mall closes at 6pm and for us close is however fast we can straighten up the merchandise, count the drawers and deposits and make the floors look acceptable. Fortunately for us, there were 2 of us closing with a manager too so it went faster and the manager's spouse called to warn her of the impending storm so she didn't make us do too much with the floors.
At 10 til 6, after she got the call, I ran out to my car to shut the windows all the way as it was an 80-degree day. It looked a bit overcast out and like it could rain a bit off to the west, but nothing yet.
About 6:45pm, as we were walking back across the mall after dropping off the deposit a mall cop informed us to be careful leaving as the local warning sirens were about to go off.
No doubt, we heard them off in the distance as we were exiting the mall, however there was still no rain. I called hubby to make sure he knew about the storm and that I was on my way home. Then I took off, speeding 5-10 miles over the whole way. I wasn't the only car on the road though despite the radio guy saying to seek shelter soon.
I got just past the road to my parents house which is about a mile or so down the road from us when "the shit hit the fan." It started raining and hard. The emergency broadcast signal took over the FM radio station I had on. My wipers were barely keeping up with the rain, however I was just a few blocks from home. Ironically, I had just passed where I experienced my 1st car accident as a kid, when my mom got in a minor fender-bender on our way home in similar weather (there was also a tornado warning, hence mom's hurry to get us home, and I was scared we were going to get stuck in the tornado!)
The guy in front of me literally went 2mph turning off the road, making things worse, keeping me in the storm and on the road longer than necessary. After he got out of my way it got worse, as I could barely see more than a few feet in front of me and my wipers could no longer keep up with the rain it was coming down so fast and hard!
I turned onto our street (hitting the garage door remote the second our house was in view) and it started hailing hard- dime-sized hail. This was definitely one of the worst storms I ever drove in and the fastest drive between home and the mall I ever made (roughly 10 minutes!).
Before my engine was off I hit the garage remote again, grabbed my keys and ran inside. It was pitch black, so I yelled for hubby - him and Jay were already down in the basement, standing in the doorway of our safe spot (the bathroom closet under the stairs) listing to the emergency broadcast report cutting into the TV every 2 seconds. Jay seemed quite calm, completely oblivious that anything major was happening around him!
I ran back upstairs to get a spare bottle for Jay and his diaper bag, as well as a book for myself and to take a quick look for Tiger as her animal intuition sent her hiding. No luck, but I soon found her downstairs and locked her in the bathroom with me as we waited.
I saw at 7:15pm our local weather people announced the "all clear" for our area on Twitter, however we were still under severe storm watch til morning and the storms definitely came on and off throughout the night!
We were lucky - on the other side of the main road there was no power. Our lights flickered throughout the night but never actually went out. We had no damage either - one girl I know reported on Facebook that all the windows at her house blew out! Fortunately her and her family were okay though! I also heard another friend on Facebook was holed up in the bathroom of Barnes and Noble. Someone else reported Walmart calling a code black and keeping people away from all doors.
It was definitely crazy and intense Sunday night! I think it's safe to say that tornado season is officially here!