Sunday, June 20, 2010

Is it bad luck or maybe we are just really lucky?

I would say about 90% of the trips we have taken to Iowa since the boys were born have turned into strenuous drives battling about every road condition imaginable to illnesses and hospital visits! The last couple trips went well and we thought our luck had changed until our trip back on Thursday night.

We knew storms were hitting southern Minnesota, but hoped we could time it right in between storms. The further we traveled south, the darker the skies turned and we started to see lots of stormy signs and the radio was buzzing with tornado warnings. We really aren’t too familiar with the area counties and cities, so we had the road map out listening as they were spotting twisters in communities right within our pathway to Iowa. We started to get a little nervous and debated if we stop and turn around or keep going hoping we would just miss the storms. Then all of a sudden, 35 turned into two lanes due to road construction and we were beginning to run out of options other than to keep driving into the storm. There was no way to get off the interstate and even if we could get off, we were in the middle of nowhere. Not even a big tree to hide under. Then you have to love when you hear on the radio, “twister to touch down at 6:30 pm in Clarks Grove.” You look at the clock, it’s 6:30, you look at the map and we are basically in Clarks Grove. You always hear those warnings; yet, you never think you are in real danger.

After about twenty miles on the single lane on 35, we were quickly approaching a danger zone and we finally saw an open exit and got off the interstate. There was one open gas station in site, so we pulled into the parking lot of about 40 cars piled up, parked in every direction with several cars boxed in. By this point the skies were black and it was really pouring. We decided we would be safer inside, so we had to leave poor Stella in the car. I felt awful and she was clawing on to me, but there is no way we would have been able to control her and the boys in the gas station.

There were probably 50+ people piled into this little gas station. Shortly after we arrived the power went out and we were left in the dark and it warmed up quickly. The boys did really well during all this. The storms didn’t seem to phase them and they did pretty well staying in our arms during the hour we were at this station. They fought us quite a bit to get down, but I didn’t want to let them down incase a tornado were to come near. The bad part about waiting was not knowing what was happening or about to happen. We barely had reception on our phones, first responders drove by a few times and some guys standing by the door saw a tornado touch down in the distance.

Finally the worst of it had passed and they told us we were safe to go and the next big risk was flash floods. It was raining so hard at the gas station that water was coming through the bottom of the door.

We were soaked and a little nervous getting back on the road. I was amazed by the vivid skies surrounding us as we drove. I wish I could have stopped and taken pictures, of course we wanted to keep moving as quickly as we could as we ended up driving through lighting, hale and heavy rain for the next hour and a half. We finally got ahead of the storms between hwy 20 and Ames.

When I got to my parents’ house I pulled the news report and saw this tornado had touched down about 7 miles east of the gas station we took shelter at. It wouldn’t have been quite so scary had it been just Keith and me, but knowing we had our little boys in a really dangerous situation made it pretty scary. So after seeing just how close we were to this tornado, I have to think we have been blessed with more good luck than bad!


Mary Catherine said...

Hi! Beautiful blog. You children are so cute. I am stopping over from SITS! Happy Sunday

Kellie said...

Scary! So glad you guys made it okay! We had some scary stuff too on Friday's drive but no tornadoes. Just TONS of heavy rain and black clouds. I was on high alert looking for tornadoes though! Yikes!


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