Two weeks ago, we had a storm blow through here like I’d never seen before. What a storm!
I know many of you have, sadly, seen much worse, but I’d never seen anything like it. We knew it was coming. We heard about it all week, but we didn’t expect it to be so violent—if that’s the right word.
It was somewhere around 7 a.m. or so. I was lying down with the baby and through the window could see the storm closing in. It was “coming up a cloud,” as my grandparents used to say. The trees were swaying, but not too bad. We have a display of colorful old bottles — 70-, 80-, 90-years old — that we’ve found on our walks through the woods on display in the kitchen window over our old farmhouse sink. When I heard a couple of them fall over, I knew I had to get up to move them.
As I stood at the window, the wind started to pick up. Leaves and twigs were falling off the oak trees and flying through the air. They were just strong gusts of wind, but I went ahead and closed the window anyway.
A few second later, it went to a whole new level. It blew so hard that I thought we were about to lose our roof. I looked out but could see very little. All I could see was gray. Gray what? Gray nothing. Just gray. One shade at that.
There was a little hail coming down, too. It sounded like there was a platoon of little Sammy Davis Juniors tap dancing on our roof.
I’d been on my phone keeping up with the weather all morning. I hand it in my hand to see if we were under a tornado warning. We were not. I had contemplated going out to our storm shelter, but, at this point, if had it been a tornado it would have been too late.
In hindsight, I wish I had thought to record it, but I was just so focused on the weather itself. It was unbelievable. I still can’t believe it wasn’t a tornado, but apparently straight-line winds can wreak havoc. According to the great James Spann, they reached up to 90 MPH up here. I’m convinced they reached at least 91.
I’ve never lived in an area where so many trees were blown over.
“Jody, what about Hurricane Opal?” you might be asking yourself.
Well, when Opal came through Opelika in 1995, I was stationed at Ft. Sill, Oklahoma, which is the heart of Tornado Alley, yet I never experienced wind like that there either. I was, however, in my tent one night when a gust of wind blew it away. We never did find that thing.
I was 3 years old when Eloise blew through Opelika in 1975. While I remember a lot about that day, I don’t remember the wind being so strong. I remember looking out our screen door on Jollit—last house on the left—and seeing debris, but nothing like I witnessed on April 19.
We came out of it okay. We had some minor damage to the barn roof, and the power was out for about 36 hours. There were linemen coming in from all over the state, and apparently, from all over the Southeast. I salute those guys who are out there working their tails off for us. I really appreciate what they do.
Another storm was expected the following Thursday, so I had to get the roof repaired before it rolled in. We had many people from our church offering their assistance, but we were able to get it done. I finally climbed down from the barn around 8 o’ clock Wednesday night. It wasn’t perfect, but we got it done.
Fortunately, Thursday’s storm wasn’t bad at all. We got a little rain, but that’s about it. When it was over, a majestic rainbow—God’s Promise—appeared above the tree line.
All was good at Fuller Farm at Terrapin Slide.