At about 1:15pm we heard a loud siren going off at my office building. We couldn't figure out if that was an ambulance circling the block or a tornado warning. I checked online and there were two tornado warnings. We then gathered around the TV in the breakroom to find out the tornado first hit in my neighborhood and was now making it through my mom's neighborhood. So now I'm concerned about my house and my garden. I knew my mom was ok bc she was at work. BUT, my kid's school is less than 2 miles from her. Just as I got ready to make some phone calls, we were being told to get into the stairwell immediately. The tornado had made it to the city (from the suburbs).
We were in the stairwell for an hour before we could go back to our desks. My cellphone wouldn't work and I was so concerned about my kids. I knew the school did tornado drills because the kids talked about it in the past. When they let us out, my first call was to the school (kids were fine, they went to the safe place and were back in class --- the tornado passed them before making it to us). Then I called my husband, we work 5 miles apart, so either one of us could get hit. I also called my mom who was pretty much in the clear based on where she worked.
No sooner than I had checked on everyone, we were being put back into the stairwell for another 40 minutes. Another tornado had dropped, but this time it was North of us. So the good news is that the tornado's skipped over us. Everyone basically left work. I had my family, only thing left to check on was my house and garden. We tried to call the City office, but their lines were busy -- probably down bc the tornados took out several cell towers and electricity.
We got home and to our amazement, we were 100% untouched! I mean my whole neighborhood was untouched! Even my makeshift tomato stakes were still standing 7' into the air. Thank God! Because as I saw the news later, the tornado did hit my suburban area; but it hit just across the interstate. I mean just 5 miles away peoples homes are totally floored, destroyed, leveled. Apartment complexes are telling their residents that they have to leave. Schools are closed due to no power or water.
In the end, I had a few nervous moments when I couldn't get through to my husband or kids, but things could be so much worse. My heart goes out to all of those affected by this terrible storm. That is the closest that I ever remember coming. There were no casualties; which is the best news of all. I think because these came through during the day when most people were not at home. So I am thankful; very thankful.