Saturday, April 16, started out like any other Saturday here on Fort Bragg. We slept in as late as possible with 4 kids and then headed out to grab lunch and run errands. We walked into Panda Express and ordered and as we were paying for our food the cashier mentioned that a tornado had been spotted in the town next to ours. We really didn't think anything of it because it didn't look THAT bad out. We enjoyed our lunch and laughed as Ben pointed out all of the emergency exits and fire "extinglishers" and Nick figured out where exactly we should sit if there was in fact a tornado.
After lunch we continued running errands and made our way to Target. We took our time checking out all of aisles searching for new and interesting things or anything on clearance. By the time we made it to the electronics in the back of the store the storm started to get bad. We were right by the printers when all the lights went out; and then kids started to cry. It took a few minutes for the generators to kick in and the back-up lights to come on. We assured the kids that everything would be fine and that we were safe inside Target- after all, we rode out a tornado in Colorado at Target before!
After a half hour of intense rain the storm subsided. We paid for our finds- including a bunch of extra stuff because we killed so much time there- and we were on our way home. All of the traffic lights were out on our way to the freeway but there wasn't much damage so we figured it was just a few downed power lines. A couple miles from the gate we pulled to a stop and it was bumper to bumper traffic as far as you could see. We still didn't really think much of it and continued towards the gate at a snail's pace.
About a mile from the gate we started seeing snapped tree trunks. In fact, entire trees were down blocking traffic headed off-post (which explains why we didn't see in traffic moving that direction). We finally made it up to where the tornado travelled and the devastation was indescribable. Trees were cleared from the area and entire houses were reduced to nothing but sticks.
We continued driving and finally made it onto Fort Bragg and headed home. Thankfully, our house was fine and a majority of the destruction was a couple of miles away. Our power was out when we got home so we gathered up candles and flashlights to prepare for the evening. Jacob barbecued hamburgers for dinner and then we put the kids to bed hoping they'd fall asleep because it was still light out.
As the sun set we lit candles and set up for an evening of board games.
We HAD to eat all the ice cream in our freezer so that it didn't go to waste. Jacob started with the Chocolate Covered Strawberry Blue Bell before moving onto the Late Night Snack Ben and Jerry's
Our power finally came on the next afternoon but others around us weren't as lucky. Some of our friends didn't have power for days, and many people lost their homes. This map shows the path the tornado travelled- we live near Reilly and Longstreet so we were close, but not THAT close.
Photo from the Fayetteville Observer