Wednesday, February 11, 2009

02-10-09 Tornado near where I work! (Oklahoma)


We had a tornado warning the afternoon of February 10! Yes--in February! Not just a watch, but an actual warning!

The MDO (Mother's Day Out) director's Mom called her and told her the sirens were going off in Edmond and that there was a tornado warning. So, we all went over to MDO to help around 2:20 pm to make sure that the children were retrieved safely by their parents. Then we all packed up Emily's baby (Elliana) and Kylee's baby (Rylee) and went back to the office area to our designated tornado room, which is Ryland's office. Ryland had just come back to work today after taking his new son (Isaac ) and his wife (Mindy) to Isaac's first doctor's appointment. Isaac was born February 3 and Ryland, Mindy and Isaac stopped by the office after the doctor's appointment so we could all meet Isaac. Ryland drove Mindy and Isaac home and then came in to work.

Around 2:20, the tornado warning was issued and Mindy and Isaac were at home by themselves. She and Isaac got in their hallway and Ryland stayed at work because it was too dangerous for him to drive in the bad weather. I know his heart was aching to be home with them. Eventually he was able to drive home and everyone at the Russell household was fine. We are grateful to God for that.

The tornado touched down very near Waterloo Road Baptist Church where I work. The tornado hit just west of Waterloo Road and Broadway. WRBC is at Waterloo Road and Coltrane, which is two miles (two intersections) from the damage. (On my way home from work on 02-11-09 I took a picture from my car of a building that was totally destroyed. I will try to post the pic on this blog.)

After the tornado passed and we were out of harm's way we spent the rest of the afternoon answering phone calls and trying to work at our computers. Not only were WRBC members and our families calling, TV stations, the Red Cross, Feed the Children, and the Edmond Emergency Management Department called as well.

WRBC was opened as a designated Red Cross shelter for those whose houses were severely damaged or destroyed. When I left a little after 5:00 pm on Tuesday the Red Cross had not arrived to set up yet. I presume they finally made it 'cause the TV and radio stations were announcing that people should go to the Church if they needed a place to stay, food, etc.

If I was not still recuperating I would have stayed to help. However, I knew I would do myself more harm than good and came on home.

Ted, the husband of our receptionist (Janice) drove to WRBC so we could follow him home safely and avoid the closed roads, downed power lines, debris and trees on roads, etc. Ted is chaplain for the OKC fire department and knew the roads that would be closed. Three of us ladies followed him home. It took me 40-45 minutes and normally it takes only 20 minutes.

Fortunately everything was fine at my house when I arrived. I even had electricity!

Please pray for people whose houses were destroyed or damaged as well as for those trying to restore electricity, work at the Red Cross shelter, etc.

P.S.: I learned February 11 that at least 8 people were killed and 50 injured due to another tornado that touched down on February 10 in the small town of Lone Grove, near Ardmore. News media is reporting that the tornado near where I work was rated EF2 and the one near Ardmore was EF4! Pray especially for those people in grief due to the deaths of family and friends. Some of them also have the grief of their house and possessions being blown away.
As of February 12, 9 people have died as a result of the tornado in Lone Grove.