Having seen many movies involving tornadoes, I consider myself somewhat of an expert. First, everyone is always watching the news. Each escalation in tornado tracking is noted. . . from Tornado watch, to tornado warning, then if it is coming your way, a siren sounds giving you just a few minutes to race to the storm cellar.
So, on Sunday, (just yesterday) we were enjoying a nice family dinner after church. The TV was not on. The weather was not being followed. But . . . Trent did comment that it was so dark outside he was surprised it had not started to rain yet. We finished eating and Trent and I were doing the dishes. While clearing a stack of plates, I noticed the first few faint raindrops on the deck. I said, "here comes the rain!"
In a matter of 20 seconds we went from a few raindrops to a heavy downpour.
I walked back to the sliding glass door, where I was in awe at how hard the rain was being driven into the door. And the wind was picking up. All of a sudden it was so windy, we could not see anything outside and the sound was deafening. (yes, like a freight train). We could hear the loudest cracks outside. We screamed for the kids to run to the basement. They (actually) obeyed. I don't think there was any mistake that whatever was going on outside was serious.
Within a minute the wind stopped, but the rain fell even harder.
Within 4-5 minutes even the rain stopped.
We looked outside. This is what we saw.
These are the tops of 2 or 3 trees. A very large tulip tree, a medium size sugar maple, and a birch. The entire tops of these trees were sheared off and landed in our yard. The tulip tree top landed so hard that it was wedged in the ground like a javelin and looked like the tree was actually growing out of the ground. Amazingly they did not touch the deck, the fence, or the house.
Here is another view.
This is a picture of the top of the tree. You can see all the foliage is entirely gone.
This is the base of a tree just beyond the fence.
Here is the whole tree. It fell onto another tree. Thankfully those did not topple as well.
Here is Trent with his saw busy at work. Next on our list of things to buy??? chainsaw.
The kids were big helpers in the cleanup. Adam especially!
We paid them 1 penny for each stick. Catherine did 500 sticks.
Julianne worked hard dragging the larger sticks to the "wilderness". We have quite the tree graveyard now. Madelyn helped too. They each moved more than 400 sticks.
Realizing that this "cleanup" was taking a long time. Our good friends came to the rescue and helped with the big pieces.
What a difference 10 people and 4 hours makes.
So in short -- We don't know if it was a tornado. Afterwards I checked and we were under tornado warnings. There was no siren. There was ABSOLUTELY no warning. Our kids were freaked out. None of them slept well last night (with Julianne being awake for 2 hours from 1-3 am -- pretty sure she was still a little scared.)
We feel so very fortunate. We are literally surrounded by trees. So to have this crazy of winds and to have big trees come crashing down and have none of them affect the house at all or even the fence seems pretty miraculous. I don't know how many were affected. By the number of chainsaws we could hear in the distance I would guess quite a few. I know that just up the street a huge tree took out the power lines and they were working on them this morning -- but it did not affect us. We had power the whole time.