May 4, 2011

The Terrifying Drive and The Aftermath

We are here. Were are all together, finally, in Huntsville. Hallelujah! I cannot say that it was easy though because like the entire 4 previous months of travel to and from Huntsville the actual move proved to be the final hurrah of horrible. It was planned that Stephen come in last Tuesday night to Greensboro to fly out Wednesday morning with Rachel. I was going to drive to Huntsville. It was going to be a glorious drive full of sunshine and alone time. Ha. I should have known better.

The cable company shut off our cable and internet and phone early so I had no real way of knowing that weather that was coming our way. If I had, I would have stayed in Greensboro another night. I took off for Huntsville around noon. I stopped for lunch on the way down. Stephen contacted me and told me his flight got diverted to Birmingham because of tornadic weather in Huntsville. I wasn't that concerned with my travels because I figured I could drive through one storm if it came up the direction I was headed. Ha, again. I stopped once again for dinner in Tennessee off of Interstate 75. When I left, the radio station I was listening too was talking about tornadoes but I wasn't sure of where I was exactly so I wasn't sure where they were talking about. I looked around the sky and it was cloudy but not dark and scary. I kept driving.

I think about 45 minutes after I left from dinner is when stuff started to happen. It was getting windy and starting to pour. I entered an area of 75 that had no exits and tall trees on either side. Then it started to hail and the trees were bending and pieces of trees were hitting the car. I thought I was going to die. I felt like I was in a movie and I expected a tornado to come across the road and pick up the semi in front of me and slam it into my car. I was freaking scared the tree pieces were going to bust open my car windows. I seriously have never been so scared in my life. Ever. Ever. Ever. And you can bet I was cursing the move to Alabama once again.

I called Stephen on the phone and blubbered about how terrified I was then pulled over at a truck rest stop. After about 10 minutes more the storm moved past and it was just windy and rainy again. I decided to keep going. I was only about an hour away at this point. As I got onto 24, I could see trees down and big metal exit signs bent in half. I guess I just missed something coming through there. I got onto 72, the last road I needed to get onto before getting to Stephen's apartment. It was getting dark at this point. The guys on the radio were talking about a thunderstorm coming through but how it should have any tornadoes. I was happy about that and kept going. Then I saw the dark, dark clouds ahead and the lightening. Wow. Almost every second there was a strike. One hit super close by and it sounded like a gun shot in my ear. Then I noticed that there weren't any street lights or lights on the side of the road where houses and stores were. I do not drive well in the rain at night, especially without street lights. The clouds opened up and it started to pour buckets. So much rain, I've never seen so much rain even when I lived in Florida. I'm surprised the car didn't float away. I just kept a tight grip on the steering wheel, praying that I was getting close. The guys on the radio then announced that the tornado index had risen and there was now a good chance for a tornado. Can you imagine??? Driving in pitch black with rain pouring down and now having to worry about a tornado YOU CANNOT SEE?

I finally got to Stephen's apartment and as I pulled in, the storm had cleared and now I could see stars in the sky. It was unbelievable. There was no power at all for miles around. Over 300,000 customers without power for over a week. Some still do not have it. We got ours back after 5 days. That was 5 days without a shower. Yuck. Stephen had to drive an hour north to get gas, food and ice to store our food in. Can you say "Welcome to your new home!"? Ugh. Saturday we moved into the house we are now renting. Sunday night our power came on at 11:30 pm. I woke up to lights on everywhere. What a glorious sight! I even took a shower that night at 2 am when I couldn't go back to sleep. Ahhhhh.

The entire time we had no real way of knowing the extent of the damage around us. They talked about it on the radio using numbers and such but without pictures, you can't wrap your mind around it. I went online after we got our internet put in on Tuesday and found some Google images from space. These are before and after shots and will let you know just how back Alabama got hit. Tornado Images

I am very, very, very fortunate that I didn't get killed and that Stephen and Rachel arrived in Huntsville ok. Please pray for the people of this state. It will be a long time before some cities and towns see "normal" again.


  1. I still thought you were in NC! OMG I am SO glad you all are ok! Geesh! I keep seeing the devastation on TV and I just can't imagine, even after all the hurricanes I have been in, tornadoes are SO different.

    SO thankful you are all safe and back together!

  2. I am so glad you and your family are safe in your new home!

  3. Relieved to see a post from you!!!
    Glad ya'll are ok.

    My Mom lives between Birmingham and Huntsville. A tornado went right through her town, just a couple of (small) blocks from her house.

  4. Oh my gosh!!! I am SO SO SO glad you are all OK. I can't even imagine.

    The closest I can even come was one night I was driving through Nebraska. It was late and dark, and there were tornados everywhere. I swear everytime the guys on the radio would say there was a tornado spotted in different would be the exact moment I was passing by the exit for that same city.

    Tons and tons of prayers being sent to that state, and to you. <3

  5. oh my gosh! I just can't imagine what it must have been like to drive through that - how awful and scary! So glad you arrived safely and are starting to get settled in!


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