This is a picture of my cousins house (borrowed from her facebook album:) Even in the heart of the storm, they survived...and with a sense of humor. I believe the caption on one of these photos was "I think we are going to need to move". I have a friend that lives in Joplin, Here's what she said in an email on Monday
We were actually in town pushing Henry on the swings in the park right next to St. John's hospital (that's the one they keep showing on CNN). It was thundering and when it started sprinkling a little we decided to head out. The park was full of kids and parents and we were the first to leave. Then we drove down 26th street (where the tornado started) and decided to pick up dinner to take home instead of stopping at a restaurant (thank goodness). The tornado sirens went off and since we're so used to hearing them and having storm warnings it didn't even phase us, plus it was barely raining and didn't look serious. So we stopped at two different restaurants to get dinner then headed home. They said the tornado hit 17 minutes after the sirens went off and we were in town a good 10 minutes after wards. So I guess we missed it by 7 minutes. I honestly think we were driving parallel to the tornado, just 4 miles south of it heading home. We had no idea what was happening, we just thought it looked like a bad storm. When we got home it felt like night time, but we had minimal wind and hail at our house. We turned on the tv and some storm chasers for the national weather channel had just arrived and were standing in the park across from the hospital filming. Henry was on those swings twenty minutes earlier and they were gone, along with that whole neighborhood. It was jaw dropping and we feel so lucky and so stupid we didn't take it seriously. I think most people felt the same way, it was just another thunderstorm coming. Anyway, it has been very surreal watching the national news and seeing Al Roker, Brian Williams, and Anderson Cooper standing in our town reporting on thisAnd since, the question in our minds has been, how can I help? Well, for us, our church was contacted by a ministry called Life Choices in Joplin to help supply families with diapers, wipes and formula. It should all be in Joplin by now. I nearly broke into tears whenever I went to drop off a couple bags of diapers and wipes. The foyer of our church was half full, the breezeway also. Knowing the cost of those baby supplies and the sheer quantity there, literally thousands of dollars worth had arrived to go to Joplin in less than a 24 hour period, from one, not all that big church. God was there. And now He's showing those affected His love through the kindness and willingness to help. Its been several days now, the media is slowly leaving the community of Joplin, but there will still be a need for help for a long time, as well as a need for prayers. And there are still many missing. So even though the highlight will be on some other disaster in some other place in the coming days, keep remembering the people of Joplin, its a long road to recovery from here.
On the tornado note, after all that destruction when the storm sirens go off and tornado warnings are issued, you have to take them seriously. Therefore I spent an hour in a storage room with three rather unhappy 2 year olds (I was making them miss Caillou). Two of them fell asleep there. One thought it was great to be in a place they dont normally get to go! Lets just say, I hope this tornado season comes to a rapid end! And I'm sure people all across the plains and south will agree.