I get that post ready on Tuesday night and set it to automatically post the next morning. Last week, last Wednesday, was a day I will never forget.
We spent an hour and ten minutes in the hallways at school that morning, ready to take cover because of a possible tornado. That set of storm clouds passed us by without incident.
The day continued and the sun even came out. But all after school activities were canceled. Churches canceled services. Everyone was told to find a safe place. More bad weather was coming.
I watched all afternoon as tornadoes swept through our neighboring state of Alabama. I know the towns I have to listen for on the news...their weather usually becomes our weather. My mind could not comprehend what I saw happening in Tuscaloosa and Birmingham. And then I heard it...the local weather man telling us that the same storm from Tuscaloosa was heading our way and was wreaking havoc everywhere it went. We started down the steps to the basement and everything was eerily quiet outside.
My kids were polar opposites of each other. Will was so scared he thought he might throw up. Caroline was cheering and singing and saying we would be fine. We turned on the TV and heard that the storm may hit our county or it may go slightly north of us. We watched as they tracked it...we watched as it missed us.
I was relieved, to say the least. Then I got this picture from a friend...a friend who lives on the border of my county and the one north of me...she took this from her basement window...
That tornado, now determined to have been an EF4, hit the town just 15 minutes from my house. Ringgold, Georgia will never be the same again.
We have always said that the mountains around us have always protected us. And so far, for me, that is true. But Ringgold has mountains too. And that tornado bounced off those mountains, into a valley and did some major damage.
I have a student who lives in that valley. She and her family and their house are fine. She didn't come to school on Thursday and I have never been so scared to try and make contact with a parent. I was so relieved when I heard they were OK. I was much better on Friday when I saw her and could wrap my arms around her. Her lip quivered as she told me how the tornado came through her backyard. My eyes filled with tears thinking about what could have been. What did not happen to her, did happen to many in that town though.
While Ringgold was not nearly as devastated as Tuscaloosa, it was hit hard. Below is a video that has been on all of my friends' facebook walls and I wanted to share it with you. If you can spare a prayer for our neighbors, please do so. And if you are from Alabama and reading this, then know we are praying for you too!
God Bless You,