Friday, March 2, 2012

Island Cove Marina Tornado

You know the famous Island Cove Marina on all the news channels right now? Yeah, that's where Ryan and I both work. A large tornado ripped through the marina today around 1:00 pm.

We knew storms were coming and I wanted Ryan to take me to the bank and post office early since I was a chicken. We left for lunch late because of that....We made sure to make it back to the house before the closest storm hit...We only live a couple of minutes away from the marina.

Ryan and I were heating our lunch when I asked him what in the world was that noise??? I can't really describe it other than a large metal sound and a boom. We looked out and there was nothing...The sun started to come out from behind our house while it was pitch black towards the front. We sat down to eat when I got a call...

Darrell, my coworker for 12 years, called and told me everything was gone. He was hysterical. I thought surely he was messing with me....and then I realized he was dead serious.

I walked into the house and told Ryan we had to leave right then. As we pulled up to the marina, we saw flashing lights and heard sirens for miles. We could only slightly pull into the drive and trees were down everywhere. We parked the car in the grass and hopped out...We dodged fallen power lines and trecked through the woods to reach the main part of the marina. I was running and trying to talk with my dad on the phone at the same time. We were picked up by coworkers and then surveyed the area.

I have never in my life seen such total disaster. My brother called to ask what docks were gone, but I think the more appropriate question to ask at this point is which ones were actually left. Early estimates report nearly one hundred million dollars in property damage.

My dad finally caught up with me and we just stood looking at each other with disbelief in our eyes. How could this happen in just thirty seconds??? My dad has spent so much of his life building these very docks. This is our home. This is where we have spent years of our lives. As we looked around us with tears in our eyes, we just praised God for keeping us all safe. I honestly don't know how anyone didn't get severely hurt or killed in all that...

We were in such a mess that we almost didn't even know where to begin to put things back together.

We suddenly realized we had people on their boats, trapped on the docks. Problem was all of the docks were in such disarray and chaos that we couldn't get to them easily. Ryan bravely jumped into a boat and road around to rescue them from the docks. At the time, we had no way of knowing when the next batch of storms would hit. We grabbed everyone we could and ran to shelter to wait it out.

When we regrouped, Ryan and I went out in a rescue boat to begin securing boats that were afloat. Ryan and I were the only ones allowed out at first since I was certified to respond. I have never been so thankful to be CPR and first aide certified and I am so grateful to have my captain's license .As we jumped from boat to boat, we realized just how devastating it all was. When you're staring at boats lying on top of other boats submerged in the water, you just then begin to understand exactly what you're up against....

We had sheets of tin hanging from the dock roofs that threatened to give way at a moment's notice each time the wind picked up. I will probably never forget the way the metal creaked as things shifted around. It was such an eerie sound....

We spent hours trying to secure things to prepare for the next storms. Finally we got the call that the marina was under mandatory evacuation. We immediately went to get Caleb and got ourselves home. We've been in our safe place downstairs just once tonight and only have one more strong line of storms on the way.

As I sit here catching you all up on this, I am only grateful that God protected my loved ones, friends, and coworkers. We could have lost someone today. Marinas can be rebuilt and we'll be busy for months to come. We have a lot in front of us, so please pray for my family as we deal with all of this.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you so much for your insight. For those of us who live near the marina, we were left wondering how it went down. And those are the only pictures of the marina I’ve seen that didn’t have trees in the way.

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