Winds of destruction

The+Anderson+familys+barn+was+heavily+mangled+after+the+tornado.+

The Anderson family’s barn was heavily mangled after the tornado.

The barn was blown far from its original placement.
The barn was blown far from its original placement.

We sprinted to the storm shelter across the driveway. The rain hadn’t started, but we could see the black storm wall 6 miles away over Farmersville. The decision to head to the storm shelter came after the news reported a tornado had touched down in Princeton, which is a mere 12 miles due west of us.

My mother brought the 2 little dogs on their leads, and I carried my backpack and our cat crate, which held our 3 kittens. My brother, Max, led the 2 big dogs and opened the heavy metal door to the storm shelter as we rushed into the underground concrete box. It took Max a minute or two to attach the heavy chain inside of the door to an I-bolt on the floor. I used the iPad as a light and continued to work on French homework as we waited out the storm.

The satellite disk was bent in the storm.
The satellite disk was bent in the storm.

The fierce rain battered outside, the wind raged loudly, there were several roars like a train passing, and then it all of a sudden it stopped, only to start again a few minutes later. My brother and I received text updates on the weather from our friends, and my mother stayed on the phone for updates from my father who was at Baylor McKinney with my grandfather. The feeling in the storm shelter was tense but light-hearted with Prinz, our Pomeranian, whimpering about not being able to play with the kittens, and Comet, one of the big dogs, trying to pet himself by nudging all our hands and licking us. We felt a mixture of anxiety and adrenaline.

The tornado caused damage to several aspects of the property.
The tornado caused damage to several aspects of the property.

About 45 minutes later, my father told us the storm had passed and we were fine to get out.  Max and I opened the door and looked around. Our house was still there but our barn was gone; all that remained were the bars that separated the stalls. Our diesel tank had rolled down the hill, and Star, our horse, looked shocked and terrified. We ran into the dark house and lit candles since we had no electricity.

Even the outdoor ceiling fan was damaged in the storm.
Even the outdoor ceiling fan was damaged in the storm.

The next day, we surveyed the damage to our farm. We found the barn about 500 yards away from its original spot, crumpled and mangled. Pieces were strewn everywhere.  It had been anchored by six metal poles set in concrete, all of which ended up far from each other.  There were shingles missing from the house’s roof. Work had to be done.

The aftermath of storms can break even the strongest of souls. The tornado that hit Merit, Texas was an EF 1 with winds of 110 miles per hour. It stayed on the ground for 11.1 miles, and cut a swath 750 yards at its widest.  My family survived, and Star is unhurt, but the recovery has only begun.