We knew that projected bad weather was headed our way this night, and so we remained cautious and aware to an extent. Thunder storms, even severe ones are the norm in the Summer in this part of the country. Many a time I recall my ground school training which is required when obtaining a private pilot license which I earned back in the 70's. The flight school course teaches how storms are formed and the tremendous height that they can quickly grow to usually forming late afternoon to evening after a day of just the right conditions. Pilots are taught to avoid storms and immediately do a 180 degree turn when encountering them and flying back to where one came from. With this in mind I decided to lie down on our bed with Bon Bon. Richard decided to watch TV in his den.
Evening slowly decended as it does in Summer. The fireflys came out. The birds quieted and settled for the night. Becoming darker I set aside what I was reading and just lay quietly. Approaching faster now the thunder storm reached Eagle. There was lightning. There was thunder. Bon Bon nestled closer to me as he does at night sleeping in our bed.
Now I noticed that the storm was not passing in the usual manner. It became daylight outside as the lighting proceeded to continue to hover over the house acting like fireworks which are projected from the same location. Next, I heard what I at first thought was hail. My next thought was that it could not be hail because hail no matter what the size would all sound the same. This noise was varied. Getting up I looked out the bedroom window. Debris of all kind was flying past making various sounds as it hit something.
Alarmed I immediately scooped up the dog and walked rapidly to Richard sitting in his recliner. "Come", I said. "We have to go downstairs now!"
"But it just says a tornado watch on TV", he protested.
I insisted again. "Come with me!"
At this point a tree limb about 15 to 20 inches long hurled thru one of the windows spewing glass in all directions just like a machine gun. Now I had Richard's attention. Yet he still gave another excuse as to why he could not come with me. "I can't see", he declared.
Exasperated and almost ready to go without him I shouted, "I know the way to the basement! Put your hand on me and follow!" Finally he did so.
Down the basement steps the three of us went. Upon reaching bottom we went directly ahead into a walk in closet set along a basement wall. Inside Richard sat on a chair as I held my dog. I felt calm, curious and filled with much interest. Not so my dog, Bon Bon. With total lack of fear on my part I felt my dog start to shake violently.
As animals sense much better than humans, his shaking must have started as the tornado came closer to us. I held him tighter yet, but I could not quell his convulsions which lasted for about a half hour it seems.
It became quiet and as I was last to enter the closet, I was first now to exit. I went to an opposite basement wall with a window and looked up at the sky. I saw clouds parting and stars appearing. We went upstairs.
We went outside and surveyed our house damage and our neighbors. Talk came fast as people exchanged experiences. The night was still young. No one had been hurt. This is a mircle as Eagle warning sirens never went off. Richard and I could not believe we had not even a scratch from the flying window glass. Talk about being in the right place at the right time! All three of us!
Not so for other people I surmised as we heard police sirens wailing in the distance and in the subdivision across the street. Richard decided to go to bed and I decided to start mopping water on the kitchen floor. Parts of our roof (most all of the shingles) had come off. We could see the stars.
As I am mopping the water I noticed that the sky in the West was getting dark once more and stars and moon were being covered with these clouds. I thought to myself, "Oh, no! We are in for round two!"
I went to Richard lying in bed. "The bed is wet!", he proclaimed. "Move to my side", I instructed, and quickly added, "You better get dressed as the sky is so dark in the West, I fear that it is going to storm again. Put your pants and shoes on in case we have to go to the basement again."
No sooner did I utter these words then a loud noise erupted. "What was that!", Richard cried. "I don't know, but I will go and look." I yelled.
Walking quickly to the front door I stopped at the kitchen. The ceiling had fallen depositing a mess of loose insulation all around. Back tracking to the bedroom I hurriedly demanded, " Hurry up! Let's get out of here! The ceilings are falling. We will be trapped!"
We took to the road as I knew our neighbors' homes were in no better condition then ours figuring that we would walk out of the troubled area. Met shortly after by our neighbor, Dan Chapman who also is a firefighter, he asked us why and where we were going. Upon learning about our fallen ceiling he was so kind and said he would walk with us to his parents house which had not been touched by the tornado. There we spent and waited out the night.
Getting ahead of my story a bit here, I need to add that......to be continued
A pause here to show some pictures before I add additional text.
These are mostly pictures of the interior right after the tornado and the last picture is of Richard standing in the living room as it is at present. To be continued...