Surviving the storm (Pt 1 of 3)

This week I'm going to tell some stories from our life that were scary at the time but a little funnier now. It's strange how we act in emergency situations!


May 3, 1999- those of you from Oklahoma know exactly what Tornado I'm talking about. This was an F5 tornado (the biggest as they come). It was on the ground for miles. They started tracking it way southwest of OKC and just followed behind it. It was shocking to see the helicopters flying above the damage and not seeing anything there. The houses were just flat...gone.

We lived in a townhouse in Del City, Oklahoma at the time. We had 2 stories (the 2nd and 3rd story of the building) and there were apartments underneath us on the 1st floor. I was pregnant with Merrick.

We watched the weatherman telling us we HAD to get below ground because this thing was wiping everything out. I started crying and wanted to leave to go to a local school. They had tunnels underneath it for shelter. It was only about 1 mile east of our townhouse.

Brandon wanted to stay home. He didn't want to go to a strange place and was confident since they were tracking the storm on the TV exactly. It wasn't just that he didn't want to go, but he was concerned we would be driving into the storm rather than away from it.

As children growing up in Oklahoma, we both knew the precautions to take but being on the 2nd floor was not going to cut it.

We began to argue and Brandon tends to joke when we is nervous. He said " at least we are Christians. We will just go to heaven together". I did NOT think it was funny at all. Then he kept saying "come over here and let me hold you and we will die together in each other's arms". You guys think I'm kidding, but I'm not. And although that sounds sweet, it just made me, the pregnant lady scared to tears, mad!

He then reluctantly said he would go to the shelter if it made me feel better. By this time we had lost power (so no weatherman tracking the storm) and the sirens were blaring full speed. We had no idea if the tornado had turned and if so, what direction.

He looked out the window and say "oh my gosh! Christi look! There is debris everywhere". I still thought he was kidding and trying to avoid going. He repeated it and convinced me to come and look. As we looked out of our back window together, it looked like it was snowing, in May. But the snow was trash, debris, pictures, papers, etc. It was everywhere.

We never heard the "Train" sound go by. But then, we ran outside and tried to see the tornado off in the distance. It's weird how your adrenaline starts flowing and we were not scared at all anymore.

We were safe although we didn't have power for days. The next day, I went out driving around and saw the school we were headed to. The tornado went right next to it. I'm not kidding. If we had left only a few minutes sooner, we WOULD have been driving into the storm/tornado. The school was unharmed but it was like the tornado had skimmed the building. Everything next to the school was wiped out and you could see the path of the tornado.

We still remember that day vividly. We will NEVER forget it either because we were terrified. There's really no point to the story (other than don't joke when your wife is pregnant and freaking out!).

Tomorrow I will share about another natural disaster we were a part of so stay tuned......The lord is our shelter! Watch the video below for some footage from May 3rd, 1999.