|Our mailbox managed to survive storm damage from fallen trees.
If you are new to this area and even if you are not it would be a good idea to print off a map of the counties so when they are tracking storms you have an idea where in Iowa they are and how close they are to the area you live: http://www.econsultant.com/usa-state-maps-with-county-lines-county-names/ia-3-state-map-with-county-lines-county-names.gif
I have told this story before but it bares repeating…
When our daughters were two and six months or so we were living in Ames in student housing that were like chicken coops, corrugated metal on a concrete slab. They no longer exist. They should have kept one as a museum. We were instructed to leave and go to appointed bomb shelters at Iowa State.
This storm hit when our wee ones were asleep…both of us have grown up in Iowa and remember when many towns were hit like Charles City and Belmont. I can remember all seven of us kids in the basement under a table hearing the sirens for the Charles City one as we lived in Mason City.
So with those horror stories all well seated in my brain it was no question what to do when the sirens hit that night. We grabbed the kids with their blankets and ran out into the driving rain to get in the car and in traffic with all the others heading to the same place. So many things were wrong with that evacuation system. We ran into this cold dank and awful building. The kids and us now wet and miserable till we got the all clear.
This was such a bad thing that I thought, what about the next time? So I got a five gallon bucket and put diapers, water bottle, and snackies and toys and towels, plus a change of clothes for the kiddos. And then when the sirens went off we grabbed kids and bucket and went through it all again. This time we had this bucket. So we dried up and changed the kids’ clothes, gave them snacks and toys and had enough to help other kids too. We did not think about it till the next siren. We grabbed the kids and the restocked bucket, fled to our dank designation and proceeded to dry off and change the kids when I noticed the same family we shared toys and snacks with the last time, they smiled and so did I. Though we could not speak the same language we had made an impression because they had a suitcase packed for their family as we had our bucket.
Lots of tornadoes have hit many towns nearby. Ankeny has been hit, a town that now is gone between Ames and Boone called Jordan. This town was a small town, I have a friend whose husband drove a train when Jordan was hit. It lifted the grain elevator and set it on the other side of the train. Gilbert got hit…I had a friend I worked with at ISU, she had us come visit shortly after, we drove out there and the damage was terrifying.
They tell you to get out of your car and go in a ditch… well mangled pieces of grain bin and barbed wire and electric wires were all over in the ditches. When we got to her house the trees were broken and put in the back yard from the front yard a few out buildings were rearranged like they were toys just moved about. I noticed all the curtains were hanging out the windows. All the windows were broken. They had just finished putting the hay in the barn when the storm came. It flattened the barn. They barely got to the basement. We walked in and silt covered the floors, the TV was upside down on the floor. They said don't sit on the couch, it was full of glass even though it looked normal. They had a hallway on that main floor and the glass swirled and swirled and was all in the hallway… she said this is not what made her the maddest.
She took us upstairs into the guest bedroom which outside of the broken window it was in perfect condition, nice antiques, things on the dressers, a pretty white chenille bedspread as white as snow made the bed beautiful... I remember saying well at least this room is okay... she grabbed the bedspread and sheet like she was turning down the bedding and when she flipped it back the entire bed was filled with black silt. That shall always remain in my memory. I remember thinking too that the people who were in the basements were safe, their houses damaged or gone, and those who fled their houses fell into the basements and they were safe, everyone was safe - a real miracle.
When the Charles City storm hit they said a tornado never turns a right angle, and they said a tornado would not cross a river or an interstate - all statements were proven wrong. It was two tornadoes that hit that town. The older I get the more they refine what they know.
We had a friend in the one tornado that hit Ankeny, he said his girlfriend's purse was leather and he grabbed it for her afterwards and it was full of glass though it was in perfect condition. He also said that he saw a straw driven into a telephone pole... these storms are not to be ignored.
It took me many years to feel safe going to Ankeny on a cloudy day but I have gotten older and I like to think wiser. I have heard the freight train noise it makes as it went over our house. I have seen what it does to a mobile home as one dropped down on the only empty mobile home in the whole park and exploded it. I have watched the sky turn gray and green. I have seen the hail, I have seen and heard the wind as it took down the trees across from us that our mailbox still wears the dent of.
A couple years ago we were on our way to Rachel Pocock 's graduation party and I was telling my husband I did not like the feel of the weather and, yes, it was in Ankeny. I could see the V-shaped clouds form and disappear and reform. I was mentioning this to him as he was driving, he said it was a rotating cloud I needed to watch out for.
Now, I have heard them say clouds with rotation, what does that even mean? All the clouds are moving in the storm.... so I was watching the clouds when I looked up and I said, like that? And sure enough a “rotating” cloud was right over us. So let me describe it to you... it was like looking at the eye of a hurricane that they show on TV but much smaller of course. You know when you flush a toilet the water all goes in the same direction? It was like that. There was a defined center and the clouds were going around it in the same direction. We hurried to get there and told them what we saw and then the sirens went off.
Sirens are for people outside. we can sometimes hear them and sometimes we can hear Huxley's sirens and then there are times we don't hear them at all. We rely heavily on weather radios, we have one on each floor of the house… if you do not have one make it a priority to get them. They are life saving for sure.
http://www.foodstoragemoms.com/tornado-siren-prepper-a-cautionary-tale/ makes you want to put a crowbar in the basement.
I guess I am stressing for you to get your family prepared for this season while the days are fair. Make a family home evening of it. Print the map above or one like it in your area, stick it in a page protector, then get weather radios and if you are out put a weather alert app on your phones.
Do you have your 72-hour kits current? Working flash lights? I would try to have one per person. Kids feel safer with their own. You could have books to read little ones, treats, blankets, water bottles. If you have a vacuum sealer you can store treats down there already and have a game to keep their minds off things... do whatever you like to personalize it to your family
If your neighbors do not have a safe place ask them to yours.
Severe weather is part of the reason we prepare to be able to help our family and others. If we do that then why wouldn't we want to prepare for other things as well?
Many have asked this question, what is the difference between a canner and a pressure canner?
https://www.pinterest.com/pin/59743132533805855/ this helps a bit.
Take time to learn and study these.
Plan what skills you want to learn this year.... like canning jam, making pickles, can relish, can applesauce or tomatoes. How about green beans? Just start some place. Do not be afraid to ask for help.
1-800-262-3804 is the home extension - very helpful!
Keep working on building your skills. I would love to see what you are working on!
Keep gathering storage.