So, while I try to take a vacation here to get ready for Passover... Mother Nature it seems does NOT take a vacation.
The storm system that formed out near Oklahoma, half a country away marched east creating havoc, destruction and so far has claimed the lives of 17 people across four states.
I imagine by daybreak there may be a higher death toll and we will have more information about the tornadoes that rampaged their way through the Carolinas today.
As for me... I'm fine but a lot of people around me are not fine. Siding came off of businesses and homes, trees fell down, lights are out and further away people lost their homes and loved ones.
This was to be my "peaceful Shabbos" before the family descends upon me for a Meyer Family Passover Reunion. Florida Meyer kids are meeting the Crown Heights Meyer kids halfway in North Carolina later tomorrow. I just wanted one nice, quiet, relaxing day to play and possibly see some severe weather. I got my wish... except I got a lesson in hail and am up at 2:27 AM taking a break from Passover cleaning.
Around 3 PM today it got really dark and windy. A tornado touched down around Sanford to the south of Raleigh and moved towards Raleigh and beyond over the next hour or so. Haven't seen all the video online yet, but I know what it looked like on this street.
What amazed me was the size of the hail and the way the hail fell. I'm used to pebble sized hail, possibly penny sized hail slamming the ground in a fast moving squall line. This was more like God was lobbing chunks of ice down to the ground at odd angles while listening to guttural, moaning sort of thunder that sounded more like the soundtrack from Twister than anything else. It looked like tennis balls being lobbed towards some unseen net. The hail was falling sideways almost, or at the most a 45 degree angle and it was BOUNCING around on the ground. It was too nasty looking for me to go and get some of the bigger hail but when it slowed down I grabbed some out of the water (where it was slowly melting) that was rising to the first step of the porch where I stood, protected by the house staring to the north at the scene before my eyes. Awesome, amazing and very aware that somewhere not too far away had to be a tornado.
The deck in the back to the south was getting pounded by hail, but the trees were swaying and looked about to fall down onto the hail covered deck so I went back to the safety of the sheltered north porch and watched trees bending in directions Northern trees don't normally bend, but none on our street broke.
The picture above is a a few miles from where I am staying as the crow flies.
Which again brings me another interesting observation. Just prior to the world going crazy, there was this one, beautiful hawk like bird hanging high up above the house catching the wind in the same way a kite hovers, high up above the ground. It was majestic, beautiful and no I did not get a good picture as it was Shabbos and I don't use my camera on Shabbos.
I'll post some pics tomorrow of the hail that is in the freezer, one of which looked alot like the state of North Carolina. Go figure..
Prayers for those injured or whose homes and lives have been destroyed by this historic, tornado outbreak across the South.
It was amazing. And, I did get some rest before and after the storm system raced through, in fact after the storm was gone the sun came out and it was bright and beautiful and it seemed like an illusion that we could have had such a storm except... I have hail in the freezer in a zip loc bag and there is nonstop local coverage of this weather event on the television.
Going to bed. Much to do tomorrow. The weather should be nice this week, warm, hot and hopefully no rain to interfere with the clean up.
More info tomorrow as my time permits and as the facts unfold as to how many tornadoes made touchdowns and the strength of those tornadoes.
Give thanks when you are safe and always be awed by the power of Nature.