Wednesday, February 24, 2016

A tornado, thunderstorms and stormy Virginia days. In February.

Things don't look too bad out on the rivah today, despite the tornado warnings
One thing I don't remember about growing up in Bend, Ore., is experiencing a lot of tornado warnings. Or any tornado warnings for that matter. Like the tornado warnings we're under today here in Kansas. I mean, Gloucester, Va.

February is a month where you should be whining about the bitter cold and the four-foot snow drifts and the sub-zero temperatures and the Arctic blasts and polar vortexes. But it's 70 degrees here and alternately raining sideways and sunny and the tornado warnings are popping up nonstop. Should we really have to be sheltering in place trying to cram 12 people into an interior bathroom that fits only three people somewhat comfortably? I think not.

My first inkling of trouble that was brewing in the weather came late last night when a friend of mine from Oregon, Matt Fields, texted me. He alerted me at 9:38 p.m. that pretty bad storms were headed our way. I think it's pretty cool I have a weather spotter 3,000 miles away.

I was blissfully ignorant of today's potential storms until that text. I then checked into things and saw we were under a "hazardous weather outlook." Then I saw a friend of mine in the Deep South post a family photo on Facebook -- from inside his tornado shelter. Nice.

I told Matt I thought we would be good because we rarely get tornadoes here in Gloucester. We had one in 2011 that killed two people, injured several others and destroyed one of our middle schools. Here's a link to a story I wrote about when the tornado barreled through the nearby community of Deitaville on the upper Middle Peninsula and obliterated a church. Tornado story

The power of wind when it gets to ripping is amazing. During the 2011 EF3 tornado that hit Gloucester with winds up to 165 miles per hour, one man was killed while working in his garage. The tornado lifted his entire house off its foundation and dropped it on his garage where he was working that sat 30 or 40 feet away or so. Incredible.

I want back and read the story I wrote about Deitaville and something said by Pastor John Snow of the church that was destroyed is poignant. I wrote, "He knows he will never forget April 16, 2011. He also knows firsthand how fleeting life can be. `Just the power,' he said. `I look at that and I think, the incredible power. The things we hold onto can be taken away like that."

They certainly can.

Which is why I'm thankful for hope. The hope of eternity that's life in Jesus Christ. In times of storms we have hope that through whatever circumstances we may have to endure, we have hope of eternal life. No storm can take that away.

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