Today marks the 1st year anniversary of the most catastrophic and deadly tornado outbreak that I have ever witnessed. To this day, I can still remember that Wednesday and everything that went on. The 2011 Super Outbreak occurred from April 25-28, 2011.
I remember waking up at 6am that morning. I got up and went to check the weather on the computer. A major tornado outbreak was predicted to happen later in the day. A line of storms had moved through earlier that morning and had caused the tornado sirens to go off in my county, which is Monroe County, MS. I remember looking at the forecast for that day, which called for a high of 90 with a 90% chance of strong thunderstorms. Dr. Greg Forbes, the Severe Weather Expert at The Weather Channel, had given North MS a TOR:CON (Tornado Condition Index) of a 9 out of 10. This meant that we had a 90% chance of seeing a tornado within a 50 mile radius.
I got ready for school that day and got there at around 7:36 or so. I noticed the kids were not outside, so I figured I was late and had to hurry to class. When I got to my class, I found out that we were under a tornado warning again. I was surprised by this because I had not expected a tornado warning that early. We stayed out in the hallway for a couple minutes and then we were told that we could go back in our classrooms. I had this feeling that something bad was going to happen, but I did not think much of it since it usually goes away by lunchtime.
As the day went on, though, my bad feeling got stronger. My friends were asking me about if we would be hit by a tornado. All I said was its possible. Around lunchtime, a PDS (Particularly Dangerous Situation) Tornado Watch was issued for Mississippi. That afternoon, our principal announced that school would be dismissing at 2:30 due to inclement weather.
A little before 2:30, I told my teacher something that I haven't forgotten yet. “Even though Smithville, MS may not get hit today, I predict in the near future that we will be hit.” Unknown to me at that moment, I had just predicted my ultimate forecast which was the Smithville, MS tornado. After we got out, me and my sister went to our grandma’s house to wait on my dad to come get us. I turned on the T.V. and there were so many tornado warnings. Almost every single storm that formed quickly became supercells and prompted tornado warnings.
After 3pm, my dad came and got us. As we were turning into our driveway, the tornado sirens went off for the 3rd time. I ran inside the house, put my stuff down, and headed straight to our computer. I read the tornado warning, which said a strong tornado was located to the South of Calhoun City. I was thinking about what could or would happen. About that time, my dad called us to come out on the back porch to see some possible rotation over the house. I looked up and I did not see any sign of rotation. As I was looking, I heard this noise. The noise was like a loud roar and a big wind. Unfortunately, I already knew what it was. A tornado!
We ran inside and got down in the hallway of our house. As we were sitting there, my dad heard a voice, the voice of God, say “MOVE!” He threw us in the bathroom, which was right across the hall. No sooner had we got in there and closed the door, the door from my mom’s bedroom, glass, and everything came flying down the hall. It was over in just seconds. We all were alive and unharmed. We got up and walked out to see what it had done.
A large, wide, EF-5 tornado with winds of 205mph had just leveled the town- my town - of Smithville, MS. My life had changed forever. The damage was indescribable and devastating. I saw brick, glass, trees, cars, and so much other stuff just torn to pieces. I did not know what to say, but I knew one thing. My weather career was about to grow and I knew God had big plans for me.
One year later, Smithville, MS is slowly coming back and life is getting back to normal for people. Churches are rebuilding and some have already finished. Smithville High School is set to rebuild and hope to have it finished by middle to late part of 2013. As for me, I graduate in May 2012, we are in a new home, and I thank God for saving me and my family.
I hope that we do not experience another outbreak like this, but it will always be a possibility.