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May 24, 2011

Holy Cow! Close Call... Tornado Scare

From Brent

Once it became obvious a monster storm was bearing down on us, I got the family in the car and screamed up the road through golf ball size hail to the Baptist Church basement where a lot of people take shelter in our little town of a few hundred.

Michelle and the kids went to the basement while I (of course, idiot) stayed up in the parking lot to watch out. A big tornado spun up right in front of us... all I had was my iPhone camera, but here's what happened... the news is now saying it was an EF4 tornado (for you non-enlightened, that is a HUGE violent tornado).

(I'm watching news video of it right now on TV... unbelievable):

A small funnel (white whisp in the photo) spun up
and roped out. I thought maybe that was it, and then...

This monster appeared behind it. My house is about two
hundred yards in front of where I'm standing directly
towards this tornado.

At this point, it sounds like a jet engine and a freight train
coming down the road and I thought for sure our house
was going to be destroyed. I was about 5 seconds from
hauling my butt into the shelter but I realized quickly it was
going to pass west of us but just barely. We could see
construction debris flying through the air and it was
extremely windy.

I ran around the church building out into the open street.
What you see here is literally "downtown" in our small
community of a few hundred.

The tornado is probably a several miles away
at this point and it still looks huge.
The news was saying it was an F3 or F4.

Look at the debris field at the base of the twister.
It was churning up everything.

It looked like it was going to spin out at this point...

But then it restrengthened and went a few miles further
and made a direct hit on a town called Goldsby
about 7 miles from us. Lots of friends have lost homes.

Got back home and half my tree was on the ground.
The tree looks awful now, but not as bad as a destroyed house.


Sarah said...

So thankful you and your family are safe and that your home was spared!

Tracey's Life said...

Thank God! So thankful you are all ok

Cara R. said...

I just responded to your previous post. So glad you are all OK. Those pictures you took are amazing. Further evidence of what I've seen on the news! Scary!

Lisa said...

Thank you Mighty Jesus for keeping this family and town safe. Praying for the small town that was hit. Lord keep them in the palm of your hands as they recover from this.

Umm Really standing there watching the tornado. God really did have his hands on you...

Chris and Sarah said...

The pictures are great but you are CRAZY! I'm glad you family is safe.

Mama D.'s Dozen said...

Thankful that you all are okay, and that your house is still standing.

Great Pictures. But ... next time Brent (said lovingly from a friend) "Get your little behindy down in the basement with your wife and kids." I know that Michelle would NOT be excited to have great pics, but to lose a husband.

We are brainstorming our next Road Trip, and will let you know if we are headed your way. Prayerfully, NOT in tornado season. Yikes!

Hope you all are doing well.

Laurel :)

Jessica said...

Oh wow! I'm so glad you are all ok.

Mamita J said...

So thankful you're okay. Wow! Great pictures! You're a bad boy for staying outside to get're going to be the death of Michelle pulling those kind of stunts...but, I understand...I want to see the weather as it's happening.

Anonymous said...

Praise the Lord - the minute I heard your town on the news I bee-lined over to see if all was well praying all the time! So glad everyone was safe and that you got awesome footage of it all also!


Nora S. said...

Glad to hear you all are safe. We'll be praying for those who have lost homes in OK and for all those around our country that are facing the ruins and losses of storms these past few days.

Anonymous said...

I had wondered about your family and how close the tornado was and was praying you all were okay.

I'm not sure about how sane you are to have been staying out of the shelter and taking pictures though. I know that Michelle had to have been worried about you and your not coming where she and the kids were.

We had an F3 hit about 2 miles from our home back before Easter and it did so much damage and we had friends that lost their home too. It is so humbling to be walking around trying to find "anything" left while you are looking through total destruction.

My heart and prayers go out to all those who have been hit this week. So many lives have been lost due to tornados the past two months.

love you all...
Ann Stegall
Wake Forest, NC

Raj Kosaraju said...

God is in Control.Isaiah 58.6-11 gives amazing promises to those who act on injustice. Take a moment to read it. God promises that - his favor will shine on you, your wounds will be healed, he will always be with you, he will save you and protect you, he will answer your prayers, he will turn darkness to light, he will guide you, satisfy you with good things, and keep you strong and well.Praise Jesus

Raj Kosaraju

Jill Samter Photography said...

holy moly crazy man! glad you are OK and so is your home. but really since when are you a storm chaser?

we are praying for everyone in tornado alley this year. what a violent season it has already been.

hugs to all of you!

Precious 3 said...

So glad you are all ok. We haven't read your blog in a while (just haven't read ANY blogs due to lack of time) and once we heard about the tornadoes my daughter asked me to check on y'all. My cousin and his wife lost everything, their house, their farm, horses. But I praise God they are ok!

Sweet Joni said...

WOW! What good photos you have even for an iphone...better than news -- ever think about being a storm chaser? Oh wait, you already are in your town! LOL The sound of jet engine AND a freight train is VERY LOUD!!! How's your hearing today?

VERY Happy that your family & the small town is OK! Sorry to hear of Goldsby tho (& many others)!!! I sat on the edge of my chair watching it unfold over the computer continuously praying along with many on the net and
praying you'll be bringing another fatherless child home soon (for Abby's Ultimate Wish) rather than rebuilding a home!!! [but then again that's one way to make more bedrooms for more] :D

I cannot even imagine what would take place here in an ELDERLY/DISABLED 3-story apt complex... uffda!

Again, PRAISING GOD you are all SAFE!!!
Hugs & Love,

LaVon Baker said...

Stunning pictures!

Bobbie Bailey said...

God in His mercy spared you and your family. So thankful. You took some incredible photos, Brent.
Those twisters are heartless!