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Tornados, rain, and a tree fort...















This is the old metal bridge that slammed into I-44 in Newcastle. This is about 5 miles north of where we live.
















This is the Newcastle/Moore tornado. This is in Newcastle looking north. All these photos I found on the news's websites.






































There are miles of neighborhoods like this.


You still see vehicles like this on the sides of roads and in the damaged areas.












This is the hospital in Moore. The back side is even worse and as you can see it from the highway...everyone slows down to see all the traffic has been horrible since the tornado. Parts are still closed as they are still trying to get electricity back on.


Today we drove to Norman to try to find a cake for Maria's birthday. She wanted a Tres Leches...a Spanish cake. Sam's did not have any so then we went up the 35 over the 240, then on up the 44 to the Spanish section of town. I noticed on the 240 that all the businesses on the north side were closed. no electricity. The Spanish section was all shut down, as well, no electricity, no traffic lights working, debris and standing water.


We then headed south back to Newcastle after an hour and making a large, unproductive circle. Saw many damaged roofs, overturned buildings, etc. finally, just went to Wal-mart in Newcastle and bought an ice cream cake. Am going to look for a good Tres Leches recipe..




What a week. I am sure the whole world now knows of the tornadoes that hit central Oklahoma this week. Sunday, we had had the missionaries and an older gentleman over for dinner after church.


I made Pupusas. I also took some leftover chicken thighs, de-boned them, and we used the meat for sandwiches, as I had Bolios (a type of bread). A yummy lunch with strawberry/mango slushies, rice, and beans.


In the afternoon, the weather turned bad. Black skies, building thunderheads, darkened skies. Then the rain started. Hard, heavy,wind-blown rain. We put out the buckets in the one hallway where the roof leaks. But this time it did not leak.


It did hail, 3 different times. The first hail was tiny and quickly looked like a light snowfall. The second hail storm was the size of golf balls and scary. The third set of hail was a mixture of large and small hail.


Of course, it rains in between the hail and even the sun tried to peek out at one point. Oklahoma has the strangest weather of anywhere. I have even seen rain and lightning happening in the middle of a snow blizzard.


Since the north cold winds meet the south warm winds moving up from the gulf in Oklahoma, it is always fascinating to see them meet, dance, swirl, and decide whether it will rain, snow, ice-over, hail, or just blow.


The cloud formations are always fascinating and powerful. Even on warm days, we have miles of white puffy clouds, or lines of flat spread out clouds. On the hottest days, we still have breezes, so the wind isn’t always a bad thing.


We missed a meeting at the church Sunday evening and David was upset with me because he wanted to see his friends, but then when the hail started, he realized it was best we had stayed home.


I was on the phone for part of the storm. At one point, I stood in the doorway and watched the hail, rain, and clouds. Then all of a sudden, right after the hail, it became completely silent. No wind, no rain, no birds, crickets, nothing. Then the sky took on a greenish, grayish overcast and I heard the distinct powerful rumble of a tornado. It was to the east of us which meant we were safe and just then Felipe came running in and said that his girlfriend had seen on the news that a tornado had touched down in Newcastle.


That is the same tornado that lifted back up and then came down near Shawnee and did the damage on Sunday.


Monday was a repeat of Sunday with thunderstorms, warnings, dark clouds and hail with rain. From Newcastle, where we live to Moore was devastated.The old metal bridge by the interstate was lifted, twisted with broken trees and dumped on the freeway. It was closed for almost 20 hours while they cleaned debris.


Then yesterday, all over again. Tornadoes, flash flooding, hail, high winds. We spend most of the evening hidden in my mom’s bathroom. We lost our Internet and just had to wait for the all-clear.


I am buying a weather radio. We had one and it broke, but I hadn’t replaced it yet. We are also putting in a storm shelter. Our dilemma though, is my mom cannot go down stairs so we need it to be above ground…then we will push dirt all over it…sort of like an underground house.


We are worn out. Those of us who had no damaged have been using much of our time to go and help out. Fito has gone several times with the boys on work crews to cut downed trees, to clean up debris, and so on.


So far, our area church has put in more than 3000 man hours and that is only the tip of the iceberg. We don’t even know the extent of the damaged from last night.


Matthew has scared me, the last two tornadoes. The last one a week ago, he texted me to say he was on the 35 headed home, but it was congested and not moving and that he was getting off. I did not hear from him again for more than 2 and ½ hours. He had gotten off the freeway, but still was not able to go anywhere, so he and his girlfriend had stopped in a part of OKC where they were out of the path of tornadoes. They were at a theater and ended up watching the new Star Trek movie. The theater kept them caught up on the storms, and of course he turned his phone off.


Meanwhile, I was frantically trying to find out where he was as I had heard the tornado had hit the 35 as it went through Moore. I posted on Face book a plea for anyone to respond if they knew where he was.


Then last night he had to work at the college. Well they have a shelter where he ended up staying for hours while the many tornadoes passed. But as he tried to drive here, he kept running into downed power lines or flooding and would have to turn around and go another way. He had left the interstate because there was an accident or debris or who knows what…it was closed at one point. However, he finally made it back to the interstate and made it home.


The stress of the past 12 days has been like a dark cloud hanging over this area. Oklahomans are a very resilient people, but this has been constant. We have spoken of the Japanese and how devastating the tsunami was, the earthquakes, hurricanes, droughts, wars, violence, and other events of the world.


We have not suffered as much as others. Plus, the acts of kindness have been overwhelming. Each day the paper and news has been full of stories of kindness, acts of heroism, and miracles from God. There have been many more acts of good than bad. Kindness and charity will always conquer fear and trauma.


Another tool is simply to work. We are out of school(although, I still have two classes I am teaching) and so we finally started building a tree fort.


We were going to build one after we moved here, but then when we were hit by a tornado in 2011, we put it off as we cleaned up and rebuilt. Now, finally, we have started on it. Rebeca is so happy. Fito also hung up two ropes, and added a pole to slide down. It is still in the skeletal stage, but with one’s imagination, one can see the finished fort.




From our patio looking out toward the lake. See the dead tree? An oak that was damaged in the 2011 tornado and finally died...I took this pic this morning. It dawned a beautiful sunny day as if to apologize for last night.


This is from the fort looking up toward the house.



Start of the tree fort.





















Rebeca working on the fort.








I let the chickens out this morning.












I took this picture yesterday, Look where the water is on the piers.






















I took this picture today. It rained so hard during the tornadoes last night. They said anywhere from 5-10 inches...lots of water. and we had been in severe drought for two years and now we are having flooding...





We have two families of geese. this family has 5 goslings that are almost grown. i took this pic this morning. see how high the water is near the far shore? Two feet more and it will flood the homes behind the dam.


The other family of geese has seven babies and they are much younger. they still have yellow fuzz...but I haven't seen them since the storms.


Do you see how two trunks are broken off? A previous wind storm.


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