Seeing all the destruction caused by the tornado's down south the last couple of days has brought tornados to the front of my mind. I'm afraid of them. I've seen the destruction up close and personal and they scare me.
We were camping when the tornado hit East Grand Rapids but raced home because my Grandparents house was in the area that was hit. When we drove up, it looked like the house was gone but it turned out to be the neighbors roof was just leaning against the house, covering it. Devastation all around, wherever we looked. It made a big impression on a 16 year old.
Go forward to 2001, coming home from Art & Apples. It had been raining and I had called a friend to make sure they got taken down before the storm hit. All of a sudden the wind picked up and things started flying through the air, including an orange construction barrel and then I couldn't see ahead. Other than the brake lights of the car in front of me. Thankfully they were there, they pulled over and we were under an overpass. I put the van in park, turned it off and hunkered down the best I could. Seemed like forever but of course it all happened very quickly. I was pelleted with things and glass was breaking all around me but my little minivan kept me safe. Once it was over I sat up and looked in the rear view mirror but couldn't see anything. Took a moment to realize that it was smashed. As well as the outside mirrors plus most of the windows were gone. The dashboard was covered with leaves, sticks and stones and my hair was filled with debris but I was fine. My little purple minivan gave her life to save mine...she was totaled.
It turned out that it was an F1 tornado, the smallest kind. Unbelievable force for what they call a small tornado. It's something I'll never forget and never want to relive. I have huge respect for the force of Mother Nature and if there's a tornado warning...you can find me in the basement! And just as a final shot - those people who say their booths stayed up through a tornado, they're lying!