Monday, 9 May 2016

Severe Thunderstorm...

One of the risks with living in the Midwest are the storms that can come through, often accompanied by hail, strong winds, and the odd tornado. Candace, Riaan and I had a bit of a scare on Saturday night. (7th May.) 

We were down in Washington for a worship evening, and once the service had ended we were about to leave, when a man made an announcement that a tornado had touched down in Wheatland (the next town over - only about ten miles or 15 kms away) and was headed our way.

I knew there was severe weather moving through the area, but I didn't expect anything quite like this. We all went down to the half-basement of the church - which is a very strong and sturdy structure - and we could see out through the doors (they're glass) up the stairs on the one side. The sky was an eerie green colour and then we heard something like a train coming our way. 

There was complete whiteout conditions outside as heavy hail and strong wind stormed over us. I could see leaves and debris blowing around. People ran away from the windows. We both thought it was a tornado. I was holding Riaan and Candace grabbed the diaper bag and we, along with other people, sheltered against the interior wall of the basement. We could hear the severe weather sirens going off outside. (They sound very similar to what an old WWII air raid siren sounds like, and they serve the same purpose - seek shelter immediately.) 

The storm only lasted for a couple of minutes, but when we went back to the doors there were leaves everywhere as well as hail the size of US Quarters all over the ground. The road was totally flooded with water. The vehicles parked in the road weren't damaged, and after another hour or so (once another storm had passed) we headed back home. 

It just shows you how quickly a thunderstorm can turn nasty. While we initially thought it was a tornado, it was just an incredibly powerful hail- and thunderstorm. We are thankful we weren't on the road when the storm hit! Photos here show the aftermath of the hailstorm.

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