Saturday night had all the trappings of the normal Saturday evening.

We had a simple supper. The teenager went to spend time with his girlfriend before she left for a friend’s b-day party and the younger kids said they wanted to play games. Taboo and Penguin Rescue were fun.

Once baths were taken and bedtime snack were eaten in front of the TV, it was just about time to get into bed. Then the sirens went off. It was almost 9:30 at night and the sirens were going off. The kids ran for the basement, my five-year-old terrified. The dog followed behind them.

My husband I shut windows and turned out lights. We gathered flashlights and the radio before going into the basement. I comforted my shaking boy while the others found chairs and coolers to sit on. Now I wished I had grabbed that table a neighbor was throwing out. It would have given us a place to sit and play more games.

Picture by npclark2k

This picture gives you an idea of what a tornado is like. But to me it is not accurate enough. The darker color of the skies is close. What I have seen is skies that are darker, sometimes a sickening dark blue/green. Before things get bad you will feel cold winds and there will be hail. Rain tends to pour down as well. If it is light out you can see the clouds above swirling.

I grew up in tornado country where they were an annual occurrence. I have a healthy fear of them and have been know to turn back home if I see the skies looking close to being bad. This type of storm is dangerous. Things get blown in the air, cars are turned over. I am not messing with it.

We sat there in the basement, playing guessing games (I am thinking of a number between 1 and 1000) and listening to the radio. We heard where the tornado(s) were touching down and I thought it would far north of us.

But it wasn’t. Just a few miles out of town, people I don’t know lost their home. Our kids have been in school together and I might know the parents by face but not by name. Their house is now a pile of kindling. They were safe, having taken a quick trip down state. But their home and its possessions were strewn about the fields and road.

Just to the west, another couple lost their home. They were at the Aroma Park fire station where the husband works and safe. Thank God, because it looked as if there was no place to hide in case of such a storm. You can see pictures of the damage at http://daily-journal.com/multimedia/display.php?id=246. It is a slide show of the damage that happened in Hopkins Park, St. Anne, and Dwight.

The storm that hit us did not have the usual tell tale signs. No hail and the cold air came after wards. But sirens were going off. The husband was checking the internet to know when we had to go in the basement. Our oldest son called to say he was staying with his girlfriend’s brother as the parents had to leave.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n-UkT5_yUkI

This is a link to the youtube video made by stormmoss. When the lightening flashes you can see the many points.  This system had one large tornado and many small ones. We are very lucky, our community could have had much more damage that it did.

Karyn Bowman lives in Kankakee County with her outdoor writer husband and four children. Become friends with Karyn on Facebook.

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