Joe (our boss), Hailey, Margaret (she pronounced her name as MAH-gah-ret; she was originally from Boston, Massachusetts and talked like the Yankee she was), Edmund, Dwight, Edwin, Karen Lynn, and myself (Frank) all walked quickly to the center of the building, away from any windows, and between as many walls as possible, to wait out the tornadoes that were quickly descending upon us from the west.
We were all scared, but nothing like we were when the lights went out. When the lights flickered and then went dark, Hailey and Karen Lynn screamed. I was scared too. I had been in tornadoes before, but nothing of this magnitude. Apparently, these tornadoes were not typical: they were monsters, ranging anywhere from EF-3 to EF-6, and maybe even higher than that, on the Fujita Tornado Scale. Some of these whirlwinds were capable of levelling whole towns and cities, wiping homes and lives off the face of the earth; who knew what the stronger ones were capable of dong?
We were suddenly at the mercy of these natural beasts, these demons from hell. I started reciting "Our Father, who art in Heaven ..." and praying that God would somehow bring us through this maelstrom. My entire life flashed before my eyes. I was looking at the sweet faces of my wife and kids; I wondered if I would ever see them again ....
We could hear glass shattering as hails the size of bowlng balls (well, maybe not THAT large, those hailstones, but they sure sounded big enough) busted through, and the winds howling; they had to have been blowing at a good seventy miles an hour or even greater: hurricane-force winds. It was altogether terrifying.
And this was even before the tornado came. Who knew how strong the winds were blowing when the tornado passed by? All I knew that the strongest tornadoes (EF-5's) packed winds of well over 200 miles an hour. It had to have been easily past that ... the thought of it all was totally terrifying to comprehend ....
It seemed like the longest five/ten minutes of our lives. We clung to each other and prayed, hoping that, somehow, God would hear our desperate cries for help, and somehow let us survive this onslaught from Mother Nature.
Suddenly, as quickly as it began, the winds and sounds of glass breaking stopped. Everything became still, eerily quiet. We continued to hold onto one another and wondered if it was over or if this was only the beginning. We were almost too afraid to find out. Joe suggested we stay put because we were still under weather warnings, and remember, at the time, our area of Texas was under a tornado watch until 12 midnight. So, somehow, I truly doubled that we were.
~To be continued.~