Today, all around the globe, people are marching. Marching for women’s rights, minority rights, LGBT rights, civil rights, human rights. It all started with the announcement of The Women’s March on Washington, D.C. and other cities and countries followed suit; planning their own marches and rallies in solidarity with the major one in D.C.. In my state, there were four planned marches. Jackson, of course, jumped on board immediately after the D.C. one was announced, then followed by Gulfport, Oxford… and then Hattiesburg. Hattiesburg’s kind of a slow place. It took us a while to get a march together, and even then it wasn’t so much a march as it was to be everybody standing around listening to music and hearing speakers. Very, very laid back.
I had planned on attending our local “march” to also show solidarity, plus a friend of mine would be speaking, however it was canceled today, but with plans to reschedule. In the grand scheme of things, a rescheduled women’s march isn’t going to make much of an impact, considering that show is over and done with. So, unless you just want to hear the speakers, it seems a little weird to reschedule.
However, there was a very good reason that our local march was canceled…
Early this morning my city was hit by an F-3 tornado. You might have seen it on national news outlets or on The Weather Channel, as there has been quite the coverage about this incident. It’s paltry compared to other weather disaster stories, but for our town it’s huge.
This is how things played out in my house. I wasn’t sleepy, so kept staying up finishing up my last blog post. I was excited about the rain storm that was happening, because I adore rain. Went to my room at about two to watch Frasier. Close to three am, the energy just feels weird and the storm sounds strange… and that’s when the emergency siren system started going off.
Bee-doo Bee-doo Bee-doo Bee-doo.
My sister popped her head into my room. She couldn’t hear the siren at first, but then she did. She decided not to take a bath just then and went to her room for news. I took to Twitter, which I never use except for emergencies really, and pulled up our local station to see what was going on. We were in a tornado warning. Not only that, a tornado had been spotted and it was heading right for the city. Then Twitter wouldn’t work, so I came back in here to look at the live coverage on their website. A lot of interference, but you could hear them. Within twenty minutes it had already hit the south side of town and moved onto the next town. OK, perhaps all is over.
No, then, they’re telling us that another huge cell was heading towards West Hattiesburg area and that we weren’t out of danger yet with an extended tornado warning until 5 am. The sirens are still going off, the local news channel is telling us all to “get down now” and “get to your safe spots” and I figured it was time to wake my parents. My dad jumped out of bed all bleary eyed, and I swear if a tornado had been bearing down on us in that moment, my mother would be dead. It took her twenty minutes to get out of bed and down the two flights of stairs to our basement.
I had to coax my alien cat out from under the bed with kitty cookies, then I gently shoved her into my empty laundry bag and shuttled her down into the basement. She was extremely displeased. But you just don’t leave a man behind! All of our other cats we made sure interior doors of the house were open and then one leading to the basement. All of them were in the kitchen, on the basement steps, or milling around down there with us. Scully, however, is the type of cat to squirrel herself away somewhere far out of reach and possibly a place in which she can’t get back out of. I couldn’t even let her down in the basement because it would have taken days for me to get her back.
So, I held her for over an hour, and my arms were numb and sore afterwards. Dad kept going in and out of the house and checking the computer, in the room with all of the windows. I tell ya, my family. Anyway. Then the local station lost internet, because there were no more updates on Twitter. When 5 am hit, they came back and gave us the all clear. It took another hour an a half of watching Frasier in my room for my adrenaline rush to subside.
Oh, but it gets better. They’re forecasting more severe weather tonight with the chance of tornadoes possible, as well as severe flooding. Whoopie. Hopefully it’s just some rain and nothing more serious. Having two blows in the same amount of days would be far too much. The mayor and governor have declared a state of emergency. There are gas lines blown, downed power lines, & power outages, as well as extensive damage. No one even really knows the full report yet on exactly how bad everything is; people have been told to not venture into the area because of safety risks as well as cause the impediment of rescue or cleanup efforts. Four people died.
Since about six am this morning, FEMA, MEMA, and the Red Cross started up operations, a lot of local businesses didn’t open today so they could help out, a lot opened and are offering food and drink to relief workers; there are locals starting donation drop offs and anything to help raise money for the people who lost everything. People who have lost their homes can only think about those who lost more. It’s strange that there can be so much happiness and grace amidst so much sorrow.