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Severe Weather Escapade in Dallas – Fort Worth, Texas

Happily heading home after a tornado filled day in north Texas (photo by Tui Snider)
Happily heading home after a tornado filled day in north Texas (photo by Tui Snider)

Yesterday, a dozen or so tornadoes touched down here in the Dallas – Fort Worth region of north Texas.

It was scary!

My husband, Larry, and I were driving to lunch when I began to realize we were in for severe weather. My first clue was an ominous deep gray sky to the east of us contrasted by bright sun to the west.

My second clue came after we ordered our food at the restaurant. I glanced up at the TV and saw an incredible weather video in which semi-trucks and trailers were flung around like toys in Lancaster, a city near Dallas! (Here’s a link to an excellent photo of those trucks in mid-air in Lancaster, too.)

Shortly after, the server came over to our table to inform us that the fire department had called to give her a tornado alert. She said, “If things get bad I’ll holler, ‘Let’s go!’ and we’ll all take cover in the basement together.”

She then added that she’d bring a bottle of booze along to steady our nerves. Not sure if those shots would be on the house or not, but Arizola’s Mexican Restaurant is now my go-to lunch spot in severe weather!

Larry’s mom called in the middle of lunch, so he put her on speaker phone so we could keep eating. She’d also seen footage of the Lancaster, Texas tornado tossing trucks around and was worried.

We actually live about an hour east of Dallas, but to our friends and family, we live “near Dallas,” so I can understand why she was checking on us.

After determining that we were safe, she launched into a rant – in her charming Long Island accent – that went something like:

I don’t know why you live in Texas. How can you stand all that crazy weather? I wish you would just move from Texas, it’s a lousy state, with all those tornadoes, who needs those? And the heat is awful even in the springtime, and then you get flash floods, and humidity and these lousy tornadoes. The only good thing about Texas was when John Wayne made that movie there, and even then…

At which point, Larry managed to interrupt her (which is quite a feat in and of itself) to say, “Ix-nay on the otten-ray, Mother. I’ve got you on speaker phone in a restaurant full of Texans.”

“Oooooh!” she said (apparently Pig Latin works well in his family.) There was a moment of silence as my mother-in-law struggled for something tactful to say, “Well, then. You two be safe!”

It was pretty funny.

His daughter called next to say that it looked like tornadic weather was heading our way. (And to think, a couple years ago, when I still lived up in the Pacific Northwest, the word, “tornadic,” was definitely not a part of my vocabulary!)

As if on queued by my step-daughter’s call, the clouds began dumping rain.

Texan rain is crazy!

It’s more like being sprayed with a fire hose than the dainty drizzle I am used to up in Washington State. Up north, I didn’t even own an umbrella even though I walked everywhere. Here in Texas, our brief dash to the car after lunch left us both looking like we’d just gotten out of the shower.

Texas rain is so crazy that it’s been known to suck people down manholes!

On our drive back to the work, I checked the doppler radar on my phone. My stomach clenched when I realized that our location had a pink square around it, that meant we were in a zone that could develop a tornado.


At that moment, all I wanted to do was head back to the restaurant and have a shot of tequila in their basement!

To add to my anxiety, not only did it begin to rain even harder, severely limiting our visibility, but I began to hear the occasional thwack of hail hitting our car. This flashed me back to the close encounter of the tornado kind Larry and I had in Tennessee last month. (That’s another story for another post, but suffice it to say that we came a little too close for comfort to a tornado that day, and our car has the hail dents to prove it!)

Despite the white-knuckle driving conditions, I could see that we were on the edge of the weather: our shop was east, and the weather was moving west. Sure enough, by the time we got back to work all that was left was a lot of puddles and some really weird looking

Post severe weather clouds in Dallas - Fort Worth region of Texas (photo by Tui Snider)
Post severe weather clouds in Dallas - Fort Worth region of Texas (photo by Tui Snider)

Here’s a photo fleedodge, who I follow on, posted of the big hail that fell yesterday in the city of Coppell, Texas – another city about an hour east of us:

Hail in Coppell, Texas (photo via
Hail in Coppell, Texas (photo via

Great shot, eh? I like how the photographer sat a baseball in there for comparison!

Last I heard, there were at least 12 tornadoes in the north Texas region yesterday. It was such a relief to head home after work! I really feel for those folks whose homes were destroyed and are staying in shelters right now. I could hardly wait to take a shower and crawl in bed, which is exactly what we did. We were both so exhausted that we didn’t even bother to eat dinner.

I’m still wondering, though, what my mother-in-law was going to say about John Wayne and Texas. I’ll be sure to ask her the next time we speak – but I’ll make sure she’s not on speaker phone when I do so!

Tui Snider
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Published inTravel Photo Essays


  1. Woofmutt Woofmutt

    Amazing hail sized golf and baseball!

    Most families with kids have a fair number of toys around the yard so I guess in a tornado those toys get flung around like toys. Weird.

    I didn’t call or text because I figured everyone else you knew would be doing that. And I also knew you were either OK or you weren’t and my text or call couldn’t change anything if you weren’t OK and it actually might cause you to not be OK if my text came just as you were about to enter a shelter and you stopped to read my text and while doing that the tornado snuck up and grabbed you and sucked out all your blood or bit you and turned you into a tornado (I’m not clear on these things, never saw “Twister” or “Twilight”) and it would have been all my fault. Or something like that.

    • mentalmosaic mentalmosaic

      Heya Woofmutt,

      I think you’re onto something, a vamp-tornado spin off (har!) called Twister Twilight. Maybe you could get some production money if you somehow work in the game of Twister, as well!

      I felt kinda bad last time I had close call with a tornado because shortly after Tweeting a photo from the middle of a heavy hail storm and saying, “It’s loud and I’m scared!” my cellular connection croaked … for an
      hour and a half! So I unintentionally left some people worrying about me.

      Thanks for dropping by!

  2. I thought about you that day. I was keeping track of it through everyone’s post on FB as well as Channel 8’s (WFAA) site. Lancaster and Arlington always seem to get hit with Tornadoes. Come to think of it, anywhere along 287 is generally where there happen. I called my folks in Waxahachie and they were fine although my dad was driving down 287 during the Arlington tornado. That’s one thing that I don’t miss about Texas.

    ps… I like how Larry cut his mom off quick! hahaha Us Texans are a bit too passionate about our state! :)

    • mentalmosaic mentalmosaic

      Hi Sonia,

      Thanks for thinking of me. Isn’t the WFAA site fabulous? I kept it up all day long!

      It’s nice when I can see the weather heading away from us, but when I can see it coming towards us – yikes!

      I didn’t realize your folks live in Waxahachie. I recently visited there and plan to blog about it! Did your family ever go to Scarborough Renaissance Festival? Larry and I were married there last year, April 9th! :)


  3. Tui,
    As a life-long resident of the NorthEast, I have to say these tornados scare the HECK out of me! I pray for all those affected and am so happy you were not in this group!! Be careful and (maybe) you should start carrying a little tequila of your own, just in case! :P

    • mentalmosaic mentalmosaic

      Hi Nicole,

      I’m just so grateful to live in an era when I can check the Doppler radar from my phone and see what’s going on. It was such a relief the other day when I could see that we were headed away from the severe weather and not driving into more of it – ‘cuz at that moment, I just wanted to pull off the road and hide under something!


  4. Wow…I don’t miss that kind of weather, although I was lucky when in the midwest that I never had to live through a real tornado storm. We did have one hail funnel in Minnesota when we were there, but missed all the ones in Oklahoma and Kansas. Glad you were safe!

    • mentalmosaic mentalmosaic

      Hi Sheila,

      Thanks for dropping by. I need to get caught up on your blog!

      Watching the Wizard of Oz is about as close as I ever want to get to another tornado, I’ve gotta say. I still need to blog about our close encounter in Tennessee last month (shudder!)


  5. Wow, wow, wow, that is just crazy. You def need to move back the Pacific NW. Our biggest thing is odd snow and if that bothers you just stay inside. LOL

    • mentalmosaic mentalmosaic

      Hi Pepper,

      I know what you mean about the PNW. I never really bothered to keep up with the weather report when I lived there. My attitude was, “Surprise me!” Here, in Texas, I keep my eye on that Doppler radar all the time. Tornadoes are not my idea of a good surprise.

      Thanks for swinging by!

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