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