I just feel like posting my day about June 7th now that I talked about it to someone else and I'm excited all over again about it. It'll always be fresh in my mind as if it happened a few hours ago. (It's a long, but well worth it)
We first arrived at my Auntie Kelly's house for my cousin J.C.'s graduation party. We gathered in the kitchen to set the gift and taco dip down at their right places. My parents headed outside, where everyone else was, on the patio in the backyard. My sisters and I stayed in the kitchen and had a little bit of food since we hadn't eaten much yet. My cousin Andi showed us a picture of J.C., when he was a kid, wearing a dress or a skirt (can't remember which one exactly) but it was funny. Eventually when some other people arrived, we went outside as well on the patio. We talked to my cousin Kevin about random stuff. It was really hot that day so Kevin, my sisters, and I headed for the garage since a bunch of tables and chairs were set up in there. We sat down and played 31 for a bit. I believe I came in 3rd. We all got food once we knew it was out for everyone to get. Kevin was eating off of our plates like normal, which is funny because he always says that our food is his food. We all basically share food with Kevin and he'll share his with us.
But we went back to playing cards and I was watching the clouds and the temperature more closely now because something was telling me that something wasn't right. Caitlin was listening to her radio on her mp3 player and told us that some county had a tornado warning. Right then and there I got a text from Alisha from Beccky's phone asking how the radar watching was going and I told her that I was at a graduation party, but paying close attention to what the sky and temperature was doing. Once I sent the text message, the tornado sirens started to go off and all four of us got up from our chairs and went to go see what the clouds looked like in all the directions around us. Ashley stated that the sirens were going off for no reason since it was still perfectly sunny out. I told her that the clouds could change instantly if there was a possible tornado like 20 miles out. Kevin and Caitlin went back to playing 31 since the tornado sirens stopped eventually and the rest of the family was playing a bean bag tossing game in the backyard. I, on the other hand, had gotten to the red alert spot in my head especially after Alisha texted me back that everywhere went red on the map the meteorologist on tv had up after I told her that the tornado sirens kept going off.
I went inside to check the radar once the sirens went off a second time to see what was going on in what direction and where specifically. I knew, in my gut, that something bad was coming, and not just because of the tornado sirens. I always get a gut feeling when it comes to the weather. I don't have to even watch the radar or listen to the radio, I just know. So when I went inside, I saw what the sirens were talking about since someone put the tv on. A bunch of nasty looking storm cells, that I've never seen before in my life, were headed right for us in all different directions and about to converge RIGHT WHERE WE WERE! I hadn't gotten scared for my life just yet. My nerves just started to work up a little bit and I was getting nervous and excited at the same time. I told my sisters and Kevin what was going on and they weren't all that concerned about it, yet anyway.
I kept watching the clouds from the garage as my family started to pack stuff up in the garage. I knew just then that something must've changed in the clouds that made them stop playing and start packing up chairs and such. I stepped out on the patio in the backyard and looked to my right and you could see dark, eerie clouds headed right for us. The lightning wasn't even really starting up yet either in them. Someone at that point handed me a seat for a chair (ones you place on a plastic lawn chair) since they didn't want to put it back, so I just put it where it goes and headed for the driveway.
A bunch of people were already standing on the driveway when I got there. People that were my relatives, and people that were friends of J.C.'s and of the family. From that spot, you could see the eerie clouds A LOT better and you could see lightning. This lightning wasn't the normal strikes I was used to. These weren't the random strikes crawling across the sky or touching the ground. No. These were the eerie strikes that strike in one area of the storm. When a tornado could randomly pop up out of no where is what those strikes meant and I knew goddamned well that those strikes meant exactly that. These were the clouds coming from the Northwest direction and not headed toward us, but in a stream-like appearance from left to right a few miles away. My dad was standing next to me at some point. We were the two closest to the storm on the driveway and we were talking about the lightning and the clouds. I was texting Beccky and Alisha everything I was witnessing because I felt like I had to tell someone. I was so overwhelmed with what I was feeling that I couldn't keep it all to myself. I've only dreamed of this happening to me, although, I thought I'd be in a car with people and chasing it. But this was not the case for me at all as you will read about in the next paragraph or so.
I saw, at that moment, a funnel cloud forming right before my eyes. It was amazing, yet scary at the exact same time. It wasn't coming toward us at all, just following it's "stream" of clouds at a slow pace. My dad started talking to me about that as well. I looked behind me and told my mom, Ashley, and a few other people what had just formed and they were all like "Where?" That got more people to join us on the driveway since they wanted to see it for themselves. It's not everyday you can just sit there, a few miles away, and witness this type of weather when not a professional and not in a car. After a few minutes passed, the funnel cloud made it's way fully down the "stream." Not to long after, a wall cloud formed exactly where the funnel cloud used to be until it moved along. A wall cloud is where a tornado would pop out of. A funnel cloud is the start of a wall cloud. A wall cloud is even more eerie looking than the lightning. My nerves shot up a level when the clouds reached a new level. I was waiting patiently, excitedly, and nervously for a possible tornado to form at any given moment. I was also worried for whatever structure or people might be in that area. So many mixed emotions form all at once with this type of weather and it's hard to put into words at that given moment, except for the word "shocking." Eventually we saw a white looking thing near the ground and I instantly went to the word "debris." I told my dad and others that I thought it was a tornado because it certainly looked like one with the debris. With some tornadoes, you don't see the entire "stalk." Some you just see the debris at the ground, which is still called a tornado since the rotation is still right there. We all noticed that the clouds were now heading toward us at the same time that the "stream" was still taking its same path. At that point, a lightning strike hit the house just across the street from us and we all ran for the garage, half of us were screaming on the way.
You get so into the storm, in amazement, that you forget that the storm could come right after you. This is why they tell you to go directly into the basement regardless of how close it might be, I assume. I was aware, somewhere within myself, that I could get chased by this monster, but I could not look away for it was something so amazing you can't even put into words. If that flash of lightning hadn't distracted us, who knows what would've happened. I watched the clouds from the garage a little longer until part of the family went into the basement, and the other part watching in awe in the garage and arguing with one another that they should all go into the basement. They know what they should do, but they are "glued" to the ground by super glue and can't move an inch. I, myself, even did that a few times and eventually went in the basement. I was literally shaking with fear, excitement, and worry. My cousin, Teri, joked that it was the end of the world when we heard on the tv down there that there was a touch down of a tornado in some area. I couldn't help but laugh at her comment. Eventually I got a call on my phone from Beccky. I answered it as I headed to the first floor so I could hear her better. She had no idea how much her phone call meant to me. I was so happy to just hear her voice and know that she, herself, was okay. This stuff wasn't just hitting Waukesha County, but in the entirety of Southeastern Wisconsin. She calmed my nerves just a tad, but it was enough to get me to start talking, instead of like one sentence per 3 minutes. I didn't want her to hang up when she did, but I also wanted to get back to the excitement. I couldn't even keep still when I was talking to her on the phone. I was pacing back and forth from the front entrance of the house to the family room, looking out each window and watching it pour torrential rains and lightning like crazy.
I eventually went back out in the garage. I witnessed my dad venture out onto the driveway just then, as he was being a bigger daredevil than anyone should ever be with this type of weather. Everyone yelled at him to get back into the garage as if he were a 5 year old boy running after his toy in the middle of the street. But he was in great awe when he saw what I was also looking at. There was a funnel cloud, about a 1/2 mile wide right above the driveway. The clouds at some points looked like they were going just above the roof. I do know what could've happened right then and there, and I'm grateful that it didn't. All of us could be dead right now if it did happen. Majority of my family was in the garage during that time too. Only like 1/4 was in the basement. After that excitement, the majority of the worst part passed over. J.C., a friend of his, and my Auntie Cathy went slip-n-sliding on a patch of grass that was flooding. It was dangerous since it was still lightning out, but they were alright at least.
We all ventured into the house after that and I was in the family room with a few relatives. I was talking to my grandma, who said that she's going back in the basement because she's afraid of storms, which I don't blame her. I would be terrified of storms if I didn't love the feeling I get from them. I was once terrified of storms as a kid, and I grew up into loving them with a passion. My immediate family still had to go to a Jeff Dunham show at the Pabst Theatre downtown, so my nerves were still worked up the entire night. Most of the excitement, weather wise was over and it'd just be pouring outside from here on out.
When I got home, our backyard and basement were flooded, but we also found out that one of my sister's bird's eggs hatched, which is now my bird, Dew. No day could ever replace this day, nor could I ever forget the lessons with which Mother Nature taught me. No matter what you see in the sky, take cover when the sirens go off, unless you know for a fact that the storm is not in your path and the sirens are going off for no reason (because that's also happened to me which was the day before June 7th, the 6th). I'm a professional in training, so I know a little more than the average person. I have people that trust me weather wise, which makes me feel good. I just hope, one day, I can use my knowledge to help save lives since that is my goal with this topic.