Yesterday four very large tornadoes raked across central Oklahoma. We had plenty of warning; lots of time to prepare. We knew on Monday that Tuesday afternoon would be bad. Upon return from my agility class on Tuesday I began to prepare the storm shelter. Jeans, boots, hard hats and gloves went in, just in case, along with a small battery powered fan. The shelter is equipped with LED lights, but since the storms were arriving after 5PM, I added a flashlight to my supplies should we lose power. In my “grab and go” bag I put my purse, my cameras, cell phone chargers, prescription drugs, and orthotics. At the last minute I added my computer, and hung the works on the kitchen door. The shelter door was opened and the handrail was in place. All we had to do now was wait.
The first tornado started late afternoon in the northwest part of the State, they strengthened very rapidly, and continued to form further and further South until they’re were two tornadoes likely to threaten parts of Norman. The tornado sirens sounded at 5:30 PM and we headed for the shelter. The dogs were happy enough to have their leashes on, but not pleased with the idea of going into a dark hole. Odo tried to fight it, but I’m bigger than he is. D’Argo settled down after getting his treats but Odo wasn’t happy. He panted and stared at the back wall most of the hour he was in there.
While Peter watched the hail fall outside the garage door, I listened to the radio. Piedmont was hit, El Reno, Chickasha, Blanchard, Golsdby, Washington. More tornado warnings were issued including Slaughterville and Noble to our south, and Lake Thunderbird, us. The sirens sounded again and we shut the shelter door locking it in place.
We’ll probably never know why the rotation weakened at the very edge of Norman, but the tornado lifted, sparing the property of so many dear friends. We emerged from the earth unscathed.
As the tornado lifted and the winds abated a rain of debris fell over Norman. Walking the dogs that evening, we came across bits and pieces of flotsam: a torn piece of painted plywood, an envelope, some sodden lumps of insulation, a piece of wheat. Evidence of the shattered lives of people to our southwest. Evidence of the atmospheric violence that often accompanies Spring in Oklahoma.