As you may or may not know, the Cincinnati Metro area (or the Tri-State as we call it here) was viciously attacked Friday afternoon by one pissed off storm system. The linked article says that 7 tornadoes touched down, but I’m positive I saw an article Saturday that said that 11 actually touched down.
The storm system approached the tri-state area between 3:30 and 4:00 Friday afternoon. At a little bit after 4, I happened to be in the break room at work and saw that an F3 tornado had touched down in southeastern Indiana and the projected path had it heading towards Florence and Union Kentucky, which is where I live. Where my children currently were.
I busted ass out of work. The lady who babysits Baby C lives in a mobile home park. I figured if I drove fast enough I’d get to him either right before or right as the storm did. By the time I was out in the parking lot, however, my wife called me to let me know that the babysitter had left home and gone to her youngest son’s house where they would be safer. I breathed a very huge sigh of relief.
I hopped in my car and whipped my cell phone back out to call the twins and tell them to get into the basement and I would be there as soon as I could. The phone didn’t ring. I then tried my ex. The phone didn’t ring. Suddenly, I had no signal. I had no bars. I would find out later that the Sprint tower was knocked out by the tornado. Well, the tower that handles voice and texting anyhow. I had full data coverage, which did me no good.
Once again I was on a mission. I busted ass outta work and began my commute home. When I left work it was pretty dark out, but it hadn’t started raining yet and I had only seen a couple strikes of lightning. A couple of miles away from work, though, my situation become pretty gruesome.
The storm had apparently picked up speed and arrived much sooner than anticipated. Rain was being dumped down like a tsunami was perpetually crashing down. My wipers were going full blast but I couldn’t see through the windshield. It was like going through the car wash at 50mph. Literally, sheets of water were raining down upon me.
Unbeknownst to me at the time, I was only a couple of miles north of one of the tornadoes. The most destructive tornado that blazed a path of destruction through the tri-state, actually. I was still driving much faster through this storm than I should have been. The roads were flooded. I was hydroplaning. I was able to stay on the road only because I was so intimately familiar with these streets that I knew when they curved, were the stop signs were, and how my car handled.
Then, when I was roughly halfway home, it stopped. The wind died. The rain was reduced to a light sprinkle. It was like God flipped a switch and the storm turned itself off. That’s obviously not what happened. I was just on the other side of the storm now.
I still hurried home because at the time I didn’t know that the storm had changed direction and gone south of me instead of going through Florence and Union like it had been projected. The roads were still flooded. I still hydroplaned the rest of the way home only to find that my ex hadn’t gone to work that day and that the twins were safe the entire time. I had risked my life for no apparent reason.
Strangely, I felt no fear driving home. I could only think of getting to my children.
I picked the twins up and went and picked up Baby C and as we left the strangest thing had happened. If you looked through the passenger side windows of my car the sun was shining brightly, brightly enough to blind. The sky was beautiful otherwise. Just some cotton-white, straggling clouds and a clear blue sky. If you looked through driver side windows it was pitch black. The cloud coverage was absolute and they were a menacingly dark, charcoal gray flashing with intermittent lightning strikes. It was a strange sight to behold.
Today, three days after we had experienced the worst storm system since Hurricane Ike a few years ago, we had 2 inches of snow dumped upon us. Upon the hundreds of homes which were either destroyed or had their roofs ripped right off by a tornado.
Not content just to dump the snow on us, mother nature had kept the temperature just above freezing as the flakes fell nonchalantly from the sky. They melted as they hit the pavement. Then the temperature dropped to 25 degrees, freezing our roadways.
The tri-state area was caddywompus this morning. There were car wrecks everywhere. Interstates were closed. I had to take a detour to drop off Baby C this morning because there was a crash almost directly in front of his babysitters subdivision. The detour included a back road that was mostly iced over. I slipped and slid all over this road while the Ford Ranger in front of me (Rangers have rear-wheel drive, if you don’t know) fishtailed all over the place and nearly off the road at one point. Baby C and I eventually arrived safely. I took main roads and highways to work and didn’t have any trouble from there on out.
The thing that pissed me off this morning was the fact that there was not so much as one school delay this morning. I live in the city, so the roads there were in pretty good condition. The roads just outside the city, as I found out, were covered in freakin’ ice. There should have been some kind of delay while the roads were treated or school should have been closed completely. That road I was driving down which was covered in ice has houses up and down both sides of the road. Houses that school children live in. There is also three huge subdivisions which branch off from that road. Buses full of children should NOT have been on the road in those conditions.
Needless to say, we here in the Cincinnati metro area have run the full weather gamut in the past four days. We’ve experienced snow, black ice, thunderstorms, torrential downpours, and tornadoes. Hopefully Mother Nature is finished bleeding. I don’t think we can take any more.
As an aside, my condolences go out to the 11 confirmed people who died during Friday’s storms. The damage was extensive in the areas where the tornadoes touched down, devastating parts of Crittenden and Piner Kentucky and destroying Moscow, Ohio.
Please text “Red Cross” to 90999 for a $10 donation to Kentucky tornado relief or visit: Redcross.org.