The Day the “Sky Turned Green”

On Monday mornning, August 27, 2012, Tropical Storm Isaac passed over Key West, enroute to the Gulf of Mexico and classification as a hurricane. During this journey, a rainband detached from her easternmost edge, and stayed for hours over Vero Beach, dumping a foot of rain.

What happened next threw me for a loop:

Front Page, Press Journal, Vero Beach, 8/28/2012

Twilight descended at 10am and deepened along with thunder unlike anything I’d EVER heard :arrow: sonorous and rumbling, a persistant drone beneath gusty winds and rain that fell like sheets along a diagonal line.  If this sounds  intense and dramatic it’s meant to…it was a scary, over-the-top kind of storm. We’d been under a tornado watch since the previous late evening, which the Weather Service upgraded to “warning” between 9-11am…standard procedure during tropical storms. Typically nothing happens…typically the sky doesn’t turn green!

Unlike northern construction, southern homes are built without cellars–(we’re too close to aquifers here,) so I decided my walk-in closet was the safest place to shelter. I grabbed Clarisse and hid, relieved I could still hear the local weather alerts from inside.

My blood ran cold when I heard this:

Within minutes, they updated the tornado’s location….my mother’s manufactured home park!!!   More than 30 houses had been demolished, and I could NOT reach her by telephone!

Vero Palm Estates aftermath, TS Isaac tornado, 8/27/2012

The phone and power lines were down, so I was unable to connect despite repeatedly dialing.  An hour ticked by, and part of the next…I kept thinking surely she’ll call (somehow) to say she’s ok! Why isn’t she using her cell phone?!   I admit I was getting increasingly panicked.  It’s atypical for her to turn on her mobile, but I called it anyway..worst case scenario, I’d at least leave a message.

She answered!!!!  :)  I sobbed hysterically, “I thought you were DEAD!!! For over an hour!! I thought you were dead!!”

She had been at the Doctor’s and had NO idea anything was amiss, until arriving at her next stop (the bank) where everyone buzzed about the tornado.  Then SHE panicked, afraid her house might lie among the wreckage.

It did not!!!

Vero Palm Estates

“I survived the Vero Beach Tornado of 2012″

In the annals of tornado history, ours will be listed as an F0-1, meaning windforce was somewhere around 85-100 mph.  It wasn’t on the ground for very long, either: in less than 2 minutes it traveled 1.46 miles, damaged 102 structures, including 30 on my mother’s street.

Given the extent of the damage, I’m amazed NOBODY was injured, or worse….but I’m especially RELIEVED the woman affectionately known to our family as “The Old One” is alive and well!!!  Phew!!!

Rita

I love you, Ma! :)

Until next time……

:)

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19 thoughts on “The Day the “Sky Turned Green”

  1. These is a scary , devastating event. I am glad that you and your family are safe. I was at home when Hurricane Ike savaged Houston and I was the most scary storm I witnessed. My thoughts and prayers to the victims of this recent calamity.

    • hello!
      “Savaged” is one of the best adjectives I’ve read to desribe these intense storms. You totally hit the nail on the head!
      I saw my mother this morning and she said the neighborhood is pretty well cleared of debris, and most of the people affected are in decent spirits. It’s a big plus when no one is hurt, that’s for sure!

  2. Wow! We’ve lived through hurricanes that came inland, and even inland, they created destruction like I’ve never seen! I’m glad to hear that you and your family (and your homes) are all ok.

  3. I felt a little weird clicking “Like” for this post, because it’s such a devastating situation. What I like is that you, your Mom, and all of your loved ones are apparently all right.

  4. Oh, I’m so sorry you ever had to go through something like that! I experienced my first terrifying Oklahoma storm a few weeks ago, but like your mother I was in a location that led me to believe it was just a good ol’ fashioned storm. Sometimes being clueless is the best way to be…except in your case, you heard everything! So happy everything turned out alright :-)

    • hey, Dena!!
      I keep forgetting you’re not up 95 from here anymore!
      Yes, all’s well that end’s well!
      Looking forward to catching up with your new blog..don’t be surprised if you see a bunch of comments from me tonight! :)

  5. I grew up in the Midwest with regular tornado warnings, especially in the spring. But I’ve never been too close to one on the ground. And I never want to be. I’ve seen the devastation they cause. I’m glad no one was seriously hurt. Material things can be replaced. People can’t. Let’s hope the hurricane season doesn’t get any worse.

  6. It’s such a scary event. I have the tornado’s effect only on television, but we see nature at such a destruction mode with the effect of “norwester wind”” (which is locally called as,”kal baisakhi” ). And it’s very terrifying; to see the roofs flying on air and trees falling down with its effect.
    I am glad that, everyone at your side is safe. Take care!

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