Mr LikesIt and I were out to dinner in Kirkwood when the sirens started going off tonight. Tornadoes, especially those at night, are my absolute worst fear. Crippling, tear-inducing, shaky-handed fear. Needless to say, we skipped the trip to fro yo and beelined home. Let's face it, Tucker Bear isn't bright enough to take cover. By the time we got home, the sirens stopped and our area seemed to be somewhat in the clear. We hunkered down in front of the news to watch the radar.
Mr LikesIt was kind enough to snap this photo of me while I was cowering under a blanket watching everything unfold.
I'm really mature about how I handle severe weather.
Shortly thereafter, the sirens went off again, which means one thing to be: basement, now. To Mr LikesIt, it means: driveway, observe. Thankfully, he has learned that he should only fulfill that instinct if he wants to see me cry. My second reaction to tornado sirens, after hand-wringing panic, is to start hoarding valuables with me in the corner of the basement like an emergency mag-pie. Typically, this includes my lap top (work and personal), my purse, and firebox where we keep important documents, and Tucker. I also bring blankets, dog treats, the storm radio, and about five flashlights. My little stash was actually still sitting downstairs where I had left it after previous storms blew through our area on Tuesday. How lucky.
Thankfully, our suburb was unaffected, other than hail and heavy rain. However, other parts of St Louis were not so fortunate. Around 8 pm, a tornado touched down near highways 270 and 70 in the county, and moved east. Lambert International took a serious hit. Reports of damage are all over the place, but the craziest story is that a plane full of passengers was actually pushed into the main terminal, as well as part of the roof being torn off. Several shuttles and cars in the nearby garages were also flung about. They are estimating that this was an EF3 or EF4 tornado, but they won't know for sure until the damage is assessed more thoroughly in the daylight.
Thankfully, there were only four people at the airport injured seriously enough to require transport to the airport. As of right now, KSDK is reporting no fatalities in the area, in spite of serious damage in Maryland Heights, St Anne, Bridgeton, and Berkley and other townships in North County and City.
Meanwhile, a second cell was moving through the southern part of the county. The crew from Storm Chasers (aka the Harbingers of Anxiety) was stationed just a few miles west of us, where another funnel cloud allegedly touched down near Eureka on highway 44. We were in the direct path of that cell, and it initially appeared to be worse than the first wreaking havoc up north, but it swung south and died out.
A state of emergency has been declared in the state. Highway 270 was only just re-opened around midnight and the airport is closed for who knows how long. The pictures of the damage are incredible. The interviews with people who have lost everything are heartbreaking.
And that's why I am terrified of storms like this. I don't foresee it getting better anytime soon.