Wow, that was some night. North Georgia was hit hard by severe thunderstorms, high winds, and tornadoes. Some tornadoes touched down around us here in Madison County, but in my immediate area (standing on my front step and looking 360 degrees, lol) I do not see any trees down or homes damaged.
I watched the storms' progress on the television through the afternoon, tracking them from TN and AL as they moved toward the east. It is no small comfort that I can see super-cells as they form and storm and raze their way across several states, knowing they will hit me at some point. It's even worse when you know they'll strike after dark. I don't know why, but there is a small comfort in being able to look out the window and see if there are lowering clouds or even a funnel. Not knowing make the imagination go wild.
As sunset approached, the skies darkened and the first rumbles of thunder rolled across Madison County at about 7pm. We were issued the first Tornado Watch, meaning conditions were such that a tornado could form. I activated my NOAA weather radio and watched the weather on local tv. At about 8:30 we were issued a tornado warning, meaning that tornadoes had been spotted in the vicinity, so I grabbed the cats and threw them into the bathroom.
Upon moving to this apartment I determined that the best place for storm hideout would be the bathroom. It's only a two-room studio and each wall is an outside wall with a window. There isn't a basement crawl space. The bathroom is the central part of the apartment, as most central as a person can get in two rooms, lol. Though there is an outside wall, the window on it is small and the tub wall is a half wall, so with the advice to "put as many walls as you can between you and the outside," and to stay on ground level, the tub is the spot.
When the loudest crack of thunder I've ever heard shook the house and the hail begin, It was time to hide. I brought a flashlight in with me along with the weather radio and a huge pillow to cover my head.
My poor cat Bert was petrified. He's the sensitive one, needing time to adjust to every change in the apartment, whether it's a new throw on the bed or a new picture on the wall. Nothing escapes him and he needs time to decide whether this little change is or good or for ill. You can imagine the fear in his tiny kitty heart when he heard howling winds, hail beating against the window, and thunder so loud it rang in my ears. He was shaking and quivering and nestled into a tight ball next to my belly as I lay sideways in the tub, the pillow over both of us. Luke? He wanted to play.
We all stayed there for about half an hour. At times the hail was so heavy against the window that I dared get up to drape a towel over the it, hoping that if it cracked or blew out that at least the towel would catch some of the glass. I did wear shoes into the tub, knowing that if there was debris later that I could walk out (hopefully).
So you just lay there, waiting. Will the wind pick up in intensity and make that "roaring sound" everyone talks about as the signature sound for imminent destruction? Will a tree fall on the house? Will lightning strike and start a fire?
There's nothing to do except pray and wait.
After half an hour the winds eased I emerged from the bathroom, leaving the cats in there a while longer (I knew I'd never find Bert again if we had to ditch), but still kept the tv and weather radio on alert because the cells were still stampeding. The lightning kept up for a while longer and the winds were heavy too. By 9:30 the worst seemed to be over and the last tornado watch for our county expired at 10pm. I called my two elderly friends and they were OK as well. We never lost power, thank goodness.
Phew, that was en experience I am loathe to repeat! At least today dawned sunny and clear. Things are back to normal. All except for the unfortunate towns that were hit and I am sad to read that there were deaths. The roulette of life...only God knows when it's a person's appointed time. Apparently, mine was not yet.
And away we go!