We were woken up – thank goodness – by the phone’s emergency alert.
See where that Blue Dot is? That is where we were. Right in the path. About a mile south of us (and that blue dot) is where the devastation was.
I got up turned on Danielle Breezy on WKRN Channel 2 news and saw it was headed straight for us, I told George “tornado on the ground” and then Maisy and I went to the basement. George always has to decide if he is going or not. He finally came down with Roger. Maisy went behind the sofa upstairs and I couldn’t get her out until I opened the fridge and got out treats for her (sandwich meat) and she followed me downstairs. We hung out in the basement for 30 to 45 minutes in a concreted block area of our basement just under our porch. We could hear the chairs moving around on our porch and we could hear hail, and some thunder -but were not able to hear wind so much down there. I remembered the cat was on the front porch and I hoped for the best. I remember thinking this could be a bad thing and was embracing for the fact that our house could be hit. But everything I really needed was right there with me in the basement. We waited until the red blob moved away from us on the radar and emerged. As of now we don’t have damage and no debris in our neighborhood. I imagine at some point, we will determine if necessary to have roof checked out.
So there is this “debri ball” tracker which can detect where things are flying through the air. They switched to debri tracking often and could locate where the rotation was and used that to determine if it was on the ground. We stayed up to try to see if there was any damage, but reports were slow to come in. There was damage in Germantown area of Nashville and we heard that there was some in our area but didn’t know what as we finally went to bed.
When we got up we didn’t really hear much of anything other than there was damage and teams would be out at daylight to begin showing the damage. Usually a roof is off somewhere and a tree falling here and there and that is what I expected the damage to be. So as time went on we began seeing there was more extensive damage to certain areas where there were touchdowns. And more and more information came in. I could hear some things on the radio after I finally found a station that was covering it. It was late into my drive to work which took over 3 hours.
So, once I saw that I-40 was opening up again, I began making my way toward it from the main road but due to damage near I-40 that was closed and I took another route as directed by Waze. Waze left me as there was no cell coverage so I couldn’t get road information as I was out there trying to get to work. Every access point to I-40 seemed to be shut down. But I was SO stuck in traffic in the middle of chaos in Hermitage (b/w Mount Juliet and Nashville). We inched forward, car by car, as one car fell out and went back home. None of us going anywhere unless someone fell out of the line and headed home. Two hours on Old Lebanon Dirt Road was all I needed to stay committed to my efforts at getting to work. I thought I may as well keep trying as it would probably take 2 hours to go back. Finally I turned a direction no one else was, which usually means it’s not a good option. But I found a way to get out of the construction zones once I went that way and obtained cell coverage again. Then I could use google maps and Waze to get to work. I needed to potty though after the 2.5 hours of being in the car with coffee and water. What was I thinking? Why was I drinking those things while stuck?
Anyway, finally found a McDonalds that was open. All things were closed near the impacted areas. But on the route to “get out” of the disaster area, I, along with everyone else, found a McDonalds open. I went to potty there. The first stall was closed. The 2nd was not. Yay! Then I headed to work rather quickly from there. My drive would not have been so long had I known not to get on Old Lebanon Dirt Rd.
Lessons learned during driving in disaster zones:
- Know your route before you leave if you can, because you cannot assume that cell service will be available for navigation.
- Keep bottled water in the car and some type of crackers or food for the drive in. A normal 30 min drive might turn into 3 or 4 hours.
- Keep a magazine or something entertaining. If you have to stop.
- Drink your coffee/water sparingly and slowly to delay bathroom stops, lol as there may not be any.
- Be patient and help out your fellow drivers – let people go
- Remember to treat all non working traffic lights as a 4 way stop when the power goes out.
- Let work or family know that you are about to leave if you can and that it might be a while and let them know when you arrived. You might not be able to text while you are on the road. Against the law in TN anyway but some of us have hands off ability to text. But often the texts won’t go through in a disaster zone area as cell service is hard to get.
We also texted to let people know we were ok, if they hadn’t already texted. I finally made it to work and began setting in for the payrolls and in a hurry. I got them all closed but stayed late to do it. Getting home was a breeze. No problem at all.
I had an awesome Greek lunch yesterday. But my heart rate was beating fast most all day yesterday. I figure my blood pressure was high from a combination of eating a lot of red meat lately, lots of creamy cheeses and sauces, including this below. And also from the stress from the tornado, lack of sleep, and the drive in.
The part I failed to mention was the sounds of emergency sirens during my drive in. So many vehicles trying to get past us on this curvy 2 lane road, with all of us trying to get over. The urgency of everything and the noise just sent tears spilling because I knew someone was needing help and here we were in the way. We all found a way to get over by pulling into driveways, and creating a middle lane for them somehow. In those moments stuck on this road, I realized how bad things were.
So Nashville, Mount Juliet, and Cookeville were hit hard. As of now twenty something have lost lives. Seventy seven missing in the Cookeville/Putnam County area.
Katy’s former high school was hit hard. Several schools in the area were.
Trump is coming to visit Friday, I think. And here is a YouTube of the some of the destruction. I didn’t get to watch TV or spend time on social media much b/c of payroll so family texted this to me so I could get a grasp of what was going on.
I feel like I’ve ignored my community by leaving and going to work, but I also felt it equally bad not to get payroll done for our 4 plants, so one does the most responsible thing they can. We will figure out a way to donate time or money or whatever needed in the coming days.
We were indeed lucky. No…God kept us safe! A very close call. I had a conversation with God about all this and why he allows these things to happen. He reminded me of the good that will ultimately come out of it which is hard to see right now or to explain to those that have lost loved ones. But it is true that people are showing love and compassion where it was missing before. Sad to take a twister to bring that out of folks. Here on this earth we face peril and death and there is really only one way to escape that, through Him. We all have our time, too. And while we all still do it, God says not to store up treasures for ourselves in this life but invest in the next one. So true.
Hope you all have a great rest of the week. I’ll pop in again as I can. Better try and get ready and get into work. I hope it doesn’t take as long. I don’t think it will.
Thanks to those who reached out to us yesterday to see if we were ok!