Sunday, February 22, 2009

Tornadoes hit Cairo and Thomasville

Al was back in Tampa (of course). The weather was supposed to be ok while he was gone but at the last minute we had a warm front moving north from the gulf which collided with a cold front from the west.

I worked on Wednesday, February 19th. The forecast showed us in a tornado watch area. We got a little rain but nothing seemed too serious. We got a good storm but no tornadoes yet. I fell asleep after 11pm or so and awoke to the sound of the weather radio. I quickly checked out the TV and the forecasters were stating there was a tornado in Grady county. I sleepily watched the TV for a few minutes and then decided it was time to get into the tornado shelter. I didn't want some to come find my dead body and wonder why I never got into the shelter. I didn't take the cats with me. I felt I needed to get there right away. I grabbed the weather radio, cell phone and a flashlight. It wasn't raining hard and our power was still on, even the satellite TV. I stayed down there about 20 minutes and was hearing there was a tornado on the ground near a few towns I had never heard of. I finally left the shelter and watched the news again. It appeared it had come through Cairo and into Thomasville and was now heading for Valdosta and away from us. The radar showed another heavy line of showers heading our way with possible hail and heavy lightning. They didn't think tornadoes were likely in this system but I decided with the lightning and rain, I didn't want to have to run down to the shelter in that in case they were wrong. I took my cat Squeaky and we headed for the shelter. She was not happy but settled down once I let her out of the carrier. I brought my heavy robe this time because I found it was a little cold the last time. I had some magazines and pillows and was relatively comfortable. I guess I stayed there about an hour this time. We got more rain this time but nothing heavy thank goodness.

Went to work the next day at State Farm. We got quite a few claims from our customers who mostly had trees down hitting the houses. It hit an area in south Thomasville which was not too densely populated but full of large pine trees, as is most of Thomasville. One customer had a large tree hit his 2nd story and fall down into the first story. Southwestern hospital was also hit particularly hard as well as Bay Tree trailer park. I guess it was hit pretty hard and several houses were demolished.

Al came back the next day (Friday). We took a tour through town and saw some of the destruction. It appears the tornado hit mostly 20-50 feet above ground. It split many pine trees 50 feet up and broke them into like match sticks. It was quite a site. The damage mostly occurred from trees hitting the houses. I don't know about the trailer park. It may have touched down there. From what I could see the tornado didn't touch the ground much, but hovered above.

There were no major injuries or fatalities here but we did hear of a fatality in Hancock County Georgia.

I was very glad to have had the tornado shelter. It is not fun sitting inside it, but with a lights, phone and weather radio, I was able to feel and be safe. The only problem is that it's too hard to grab all the cats at the last minute when one is imminent and they would freak out if we put them inside it when we were just having watches. It's also easier if Al is in town.