Our First Run For Cover Experience!


We heard the warnings all day about the dangerous storms heading our way. The radio said they were the most significant storm warnings, perhaps ever, in Indiana. At 8:00 pm we drove to pick our girls under ominous skies. a mile from church a lightning bolt hit the ground very near our car. The noise and vibration were terrible! I felt jittery for hours after that…

Picked up the girls to Tornado warnings being posted, gauging by 5 minute increments when they would be affecting towns across the state, moving at about 50 mph.  Hustling home, the rain started. Then the thunder and lightning. Now this doesn’t seem that unusual at this time of year, but the cloud shapes almost defy description. so many different levels and shades. Since our town wasn’t listed, everyone but me went to bed. At 11:30 I turned on the radio one more time to hear our announcer listing our local areas, and telling people to take cover. “Don’t wait to hear or see it, go to interior rooms away from all windows”.

Coming from the West coast in earthquake country, there is a little jaded part, for there are never warnings they just hit. I didn’t want to overreact and scare my family, but I walked by the front door and heard the sirens going off, large citywide sirens meant to alert all of its inhabitants. I ran upstairs and told my groggy children to come down immediately. My husband was sitting up in bed, having heard the sirens already. We walked down, grabbed some blankets and sat in the downstairs interior bathroom. Verrrrryyyy cozy. I had the door open a bit, so we could hear the radio. My husband sat with his phone pulling up storm tracking. It was scary, especially on the heels of so much tragedy from this type of weather across our nation.

It passed by us with just some rough storms, I texted several friends who were still in the predicted areas to come. We all were in bathrooms, under stairs, etc. I praise God this morning that no one was killed in this storm. For all of our supposed self-sufficiency, we are actually very minute and helpless in the reality of nature.

Once it passed you feel sort of silly having all rushed for cover, but isn’t that what prevention is all about? Not waiting? For much of my life I dreamed of being a storm chaser. That dream was fractured during the most intense storm I had ever been part of last year. Now, my stomach knots up a bit, but my wisdom has expanded.

I wonder where people are supposed to go who have no shelter? For example, I head the trains in the distance. They are traveling across long stretches of fields. The news told everyone on the freeway to get off and out of the car, go for shelter. Where? Does everyone already know this stuff here? If you are new to the Midwest, this is foreign to us. Any tips?


About christasterken

Committed to a life of purpose. Learning to live abundantly. Embracing creativity. Questioning. Delighting in the comforts of home and family. Determining not to settle only for how things are, but how they could be. Writing is part of who I am, so I trust In God who gave the gift to show me how I can serve Him through it. That is my life…one word at a time. Psalm 89:11a“Teach me your way , O Lord, and I will walk in your truth”

One response »

  1. How fascinating to hear it from your perspective, Christa, since you have never had this experience before. I’ve lived in Indiana most of my life and have grown up dealing with tornado watches and warnings, all the practice schools do with children in case of the sirens go off while at school, and the annual reminders the news stations post on what to do and where to go in these cases. I suppose that I am somewhat desensitized after all these years of preparing, but never actually having seen or experienced an actual tornado, just always hearing of some place else that suffered the devastation. I am well-trained, however, so I always go through the motions of emergency preparedness every spring, just in case! Making sure I have working flashlights, a working radio in our shelter area, my cell phone charged and accessible, and the shelter area cleaned out! Our shelter now is our laundry room in our basement, which is underground on the backside of the house and open to the world on the frontside. The laundry room is situated on the backside, so I feel relatively safe there and there is plenty of space for our family of five and our various pets and whatever else the children decide they need to bring with them. In our house before this, we all headed for the large closet under the stairs, which probably wouldn’t have helped much in a torando like what hit Joplin, MO, but it was the best we had. I have never been away from home when the storm sirens went off. I’m in the habit of checking the forecast every day and I don’t go away from home if I know severe weather is immenent, because I know where I can be safe at home. Away from home, I have no guarantee I will find a safe place for me and my family. After all, you have lots of other people out there who would be seeking shelter as well. But, I do know that if you find yourself away from home when you need to take shelter, it is best to enter a sturdy building, probably something made of brick and steel and that has a basement level floor (but then look at what happened to that hospital in Joplin, MO). If there are no buildings, like on the interstate, you’re supposed to get out of your car and find the lowest area of ground you can, like in the ditch along side the road, and lay flat (that would be totally scary!). They say NOT to hide under bridges and overpasses because they could collapse on you. Plus, the winds can become very strong as they whip under those areas and could suck you right out. I’m not sure if I would actually stop my car if I saw a tornado while I was on the interstate. I think I’d be one who would try to outrun it! That’s probably not the best thing, but I think it’s a natural survival response. At any rate, I think Anderson has been quite fortunate because really severe weather tends to bypass us for some strange reason. We do get hit from time to time with some bad stuff, but typically, it just doesn’t get that bad. I am very glad for that, but it has made me rather cynical when I hear the sirens. I take cover and make sure my kids are safe, but am I in a hurry? No. Do I stay way from windows? No, I stand there watching to see if I can see what the sirens are all about, ready to run if I need to. Do I think a tornado will ever hit my house? I think it’s possible (anything is possible), but I don’t really think it will happen (but, then, isn’t that what everyone thinks until it happens to them?). My best defense? I pray. And, then, I trust God. And, I’m ready to deal with whatever God allows into my life, even if it’s a tornado one day.

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