It was about 11:00pm or so and I was working on the computer when Teresa told me she was going to bed. She asked me to keep an eye on the weather and wake her if it got really bad, because they said it might.
About 11:30 I heard the weather sirens go off, so naturally I peeked outside to see if I could see anything. It wasn't doing a whole lot. So I went back inside to wrap up what I was working on. The sirens stopped for a few minutes, then started up again. I could hear the wind picking up and I want to say I heard multiple sirens going off from different areas now. So I shut the computer down, unplugged it and went downstairs to put my shoes on and look outside again.
When I reached the bottom of the steps, all of a sudden it got REALLY loud outside and the power went out. It sounded like a thundering tidal wave was roaring towards the house, so I opened up the front door and the wind was ridiculous...and I heard the house badly getting pelted with all kinds of stuff...it was loud. I closed the door and yelled up to Teresa (she had already gotten up). In the pitch dark, I ran back upstairs to get Zoe out of her crib...running into Teresa pretty good at the top of the steps (never saw her). In the pitch dark, I couldn't find Zoe in her crib right away. She was tucked into a corner, sleeping away. That seemed like it took forever. I finally grabbed her and ran down the stairs (not easy in the dark), trying to get to the basement steps where Teresa was waiting, using her cell phone as a flashlight. The loud wind and pelting of the house had gotten much worse. I didn't think I was going to be able to make it from our upstairs steps to the basement steps in time. It literally sounded like there was a massive tornado outside and the windows were going to explode any second. It was terrifying. The walls where rumbling and I could hear things shaking in the house. And those of you who are familiar with our great room (which I had to run by to get to the basement) it is two stories tall with 10 windows...so yeah, I was afraid of tons of glass flying around at any second.
We all made it to the basement and went under the steps, which is also kind of under the I-beam that supports the floor above. Pretty much the safest place in the house during a tornado I guess.
The whole event seemed to last three or four minutes, but it was probably only around a minute at the most.
After I got the all-clear from the e-lert (finally works for me now) and the Weather Channel on my phone about 30 minutes later, we went back upstairs. The worst of the storm had passed. Needless to say, I was very curious to take a look outside and see if anything was damaged. We first noticed on our deck and on our siding that there was white stuff all over the place. At first, we thought it was feathers from a bird, which seemed crazy...but then we recognized it was actually insulation from our attic.
I took the Mag light outside to take a look around. I shined the flashlight up to the roof and I could see that the storm had completely ripped off approx. a 4'x6' section of our roof and I could see right into the attic. A lot of shingles were also ripped off of the roof.
After getting over the shock of that sight, I looked around some more...and I couldn't really see anything unless I shined the flashlight right on it. It was wierd, every direction I shined the flashlight, I saw something else that was down/damaged/missing/destroyed. Kind of shocking every time I moved the flashlight.
- The roof of the shed that we had JUST FINISHED THE PREVIOUS DAY, had rows of shingles ripped off of both sides. Ugh.
- I found that two of our tall trees had essentially been cut in half.
- Shingles were everywhere.
- Insulation was everywhere...it looked like snow.
- Branches were down everywhere.
- Our paddle boat was lifted, carried and dumped 100ft. away...seats were cracked and in pieces.
- Two vinyl windows we had propped up against the side of the house had been carried 50ft. and dropped in the driveway...shattered glass was all over the driveway.
The good news is that everything is covered, and after inspecting the damage, the claims adjuster (and roofers) said there wasn't any water damage to the drywall (bedroom ceiling) in the attic. That would have been a mess if some drywall would have to be replaced. So that was great.
Two big thumbs up to Atwood Construction, Erie Insurance and Taylor Roofing. After making a few calls, they were here in a hurry to take care of things. I was impressed.
Below are some photos of our house, and a couple houses around us. One photo is of the neighbor's barn that was flattened, and another is of a hole in the stable wall of another neighbor's house caused by flying plywood.
And the photo of the piece of plywood with the felt paper on it...that was from our roof. I found it 150 yards away, propped up against our neighbor's barbed wire fence.