Michal, 90% of this is going to look very familiar so probably not worth reading.
Everyone else, this is what I wrote to Michal when I finally had power. I Am SO blessed to have come out of this storm as I did, as you'll see. Much worse things should have happened and God protected with safety and a great deal of grace. Even the heat issue which is for me a big deal was resolved when our power was restored far sooner than expected or than for many people affected by this.
OK, here's my story of the last 24 hours. At 4:30 or so I left to dogsit while my mom was with high school friends who have an annual slumber party 2 hours from her house. She called to make sure I was on the way and would sedate the scared of thunder dog upon arrival. I did. She said a fierce storm was coming and to look it up but mute the TV because the emergency noise makes the dog aware of what is coming, then put the tv on a regular show as this helps the dog. Fine. I let them out (thank God), gave the pill, fed them, checked radar and worked hard to find a station not going to weather emergency, having to eventually watch that show about crab boats in Alaska (I think; it was weird but the channel wasn't going to emergency and I wasn't aware yet that I needed to be watching that radar). I'd almost finished my suppper (again thank God) when the storm hit. Within a minute I looked outside and there was no view. I could see a green haze and water. I called my mom asking for where flashlights were just as the power went out for the last time. I am pretty calm in emergencies but when a flying branch (that flew at least 100 yards) hit the window in the room where I was searching for a flashlight I yelled something about basement NOW called the dogs and sat down there for 30 minutes or so. The storm sounded a bit better so I went upstairs and got the other flashlights out and checked for leaks/broken windows. I tried to get Anna into her carrier to bring her down where it was cooler and I could manage in an emergency. She wouldn't come out from under the bed. During that time I called my mother to come home because of the massive damage to her trees. Soon after I heard the emergency warning despite no TV or radio; I flew downstairs and it was my cell phone saying tornado warning, take cover NOW. I don't have a smart phone and had no idea it could do that but it got us downstiars before the scariest part of all hit. Again I ran for the basement, this time with 3/4 dogs following. We went into the corner under the stairs where a pipe sticks out. I am so sore from our position but didn't feel safe to grab anything to sit on, water, or anything else. The really scared dog spent the next hour huddled under this pipe, head on a shelf with a dustbuster. I kept my arms around her as tightly as possible for comfort. Another dog (not small) sat in my lap. And I alternated praying and calling people for more information. After an hour I couldn't hear the dangerous wind anymore or the degree of thunder. I went upstairs to discover that what I called bad damage before was much worse. Thank God yet again there was no damage to the house. I couldn't go outside until 2-3 hours after it all started and had no way to determine if the house was damaged except I knew there weren't broken windows detectable from inside. When I did go out I knew for sure that the tornado had be quite close; apparently they think this was downdraft with the worst tornado-type damage downtown. It's bad there and I'm not going to be very specific as it may be easy to find me with that information.
At my mom's there were enormous trees broken and fallen and sticks that I found that I flown from one end of my mom's property to the other. My car was in the driveway; a large branch was on each of three sides but no damage to the paint. A much bigger branch that had also flown oh, 200 yards, was within 18 inches of my car. There is a small woods along my mom's 1/4 mile driveway; many, many trees were down there but again none hit the house, car, and her driveway was cleared by me easily within the first hour. The person next door had a huge tree across their driveway. The neighbor men worked together and got the road reopened as it had been blocked in many places. At least one of them worked all night on freeing people and he came and checked out my mom's house before believing me it was ok. He was also able to check the portion of roof I hadn't been able to see because I couldn't climb over the branches as he did in one area. My mom had trees in the road and a huge chunk was precariously hanging in some lines (phone we hope). My mom drove 4 hours to get home because of the destruction. We agreed that despite several thousand dollars of damage and probably the worst hit on her road that it was a miracle because the only structual damage is the dog yard fence is destroyed and our garden was mostly crushed (she tells me it is perking up and much less is lost than it seemed. There were plantars hanging on her shed door; I found a plant without a container and the container had bounced off my car 10" away. I didn't find the others. Another planter had dumped its contents and flown another long distance (200 yards?). I never saw part of the damage well because it was impassable. I found 3 trees together that simply had the tops snapped off and were hanging side by side. One huge tree had clearly been a lightning strike; had that started a fire it would have be carried by the wind, so thank God for that amount of waterfall as everything was so dry. And again it is a miracle that there was no destruction to the house or my car and that the dogs and I all made it safely.
My power was out until a few minutes ago and everything in my fridge/freezer is ruined. Aside from a few branches that handing loose in the tree I see to be fine (need to look at the roof). However the basement freezer is fine except for some sweet potato fries and I need to cook a bunch of fish filets that the sauce defrosted a bit but not the fish. That is another answer to prayer as I have oh, $200 or more of fresh beef, plus another easy hundred of chicken, 30 of hamburger, many vegetables, etc. down there. I have a clause in my homeowner's that will pay for most of the upstairs fridge/freezer contents if not all. And when talking the food that was in there versus my food budget that clause is going to be a huge benefit.
Both siblings lost trees. One damaged their neighbor's swingset and the other was a huge beautiful shade tree that was probably 100 years old and kept their deck cool all the time (as well as part of the house I suspect). But it could have been so much worse, was so much worse for some people and mostly now it's just cleaning up and dealing with adrenaline, fear and shock.
More tomorrow when I'll hopefully be a little calmer.
I finally have had A/C running for a while and it is getting cool enough to be ok for me (heat is dangerous with lithium and the issue it has caused with my electrolytes).. It didn't get incredibly hot in here until this afternoon and I was going to my mom's to be a litlte cooler when the power returned. The damage her is much less, consistent with the tornado theory. I keep being told it was "only" a downdraught that I experienced but that was enough! That's 3 tornados in my life. We don't get a lot but they careen off the hills and bounce around. It can be hard for them to be sure where they touch down and there's never a clear path aside from areas of damage that sometimes procees in a line.
It was really bad. I don't know how many people have died and what the losses are going to be like. My mom got on a list for a tree estimae and was told it may be a week before they are even able to do that because of the extent of lifethreatening issues.
The weird thing was that with all that wind and destruction my niece's turtle sandbox (has a lid that is pretty tight) and her water table didn't blow anywhere.
There was community even on my mom's country road. Neighbors worked to make the road passable (many trees were across it), then another neighbor used a backhoe to scoop up the debris and either make is safer or gone altogether. 2 of my mom's neighbors checked on us, offering help with any damage while I walked the dogs (which the fence destroyed I had to walk 4 dogs separately and somehoe got my shirt covered in poop which is best not thought about.) I am so grateful they cleared that road as my mom needed in and I needed out. The person who I think led this I believe hiked in climbing over trees. I saw him gun his riding mower with a trailer to get it up the hill and then heard him cutting. I had no idea that they kept going with that for the whole distance to the main road.
I am just so grateful that things weren't worse for us as it truly seemed like my mom's house should have been damaged by something, and I am grateful beyond words that I have power. The only injury in our family is I've got a sore back from my prolonged time on the basement floor in a weird position. I am also grateful that if I have to spend 90 minutes in one day in basement that it was my mom's nice open, clean, safe basement. When you fear basements tornadic activity can be horrendous.
And that is the longest description what was probably only 2 hours but feels like a week, ever.
Just once again, THANK GOD.