Friday, September 6, 2013

The Reluctant Storm Chaser

Day 4 of Blogtember: Write about a time that you were very afraid.

My name is Elise and I am lilapsophobic

Every year, my church would take all of the kids from elementary school through high school age to a summer camp for a week. For my 8 year old self, it was always the highlight of my summer! We would all hop on a bus and drive several hours north to a camp on Lake Winnebago in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin. I felt like I was living in another era whilst at this camp; the cabins we slept in were literal log cabins full of bunk beds and you had to pump water in the bathroom to use the sinks and showers. It was quite the experience! Lots of families would come along as well, so I was there with my mom and my brother.

About halfway into the camp week my friend, Jessica, and I happened to be walking to the main lodge to get some snacks when we saw a sheriff drive up. He was there to notify the camp director that a major storm was moving in and he should begin to prepare for its arrival.

All of a sudden, the city itself started their tornado/storm warning sirens. I remember seeing extremely dark clouds forming over the lake and people started running towards the main lodge, a small building on the edge of the lake. It was the largest building in the camp, so the director started ushering us towards it.

The wind started to pick up at an alarming speed. As Jessica and I ran towards the lodge, I saw my mom running the opposite direction. She saw me and started yelling that she couldn't find my little brother. She kept running away and I didn't know what to do but keep running towards the lodge with Jessica.

In the lodge, several camp employees were discussing what to do next. I remember one guy suggesting that they take the campers down by the lake to wait the storm out. I was shocked he would suggest something like that, and to this day I am still confused by it. All of a sudden, everyone started rushing to the windows of the lodge that looked over the lake. We all saw what looked like tons of small tornado funnels forming over the lake itself (I later learned that these were called water spouts). In case you need a visual, this is what we saw.

There were at least five of these forming on the lake. Suddenly we were being shuffled into a long hallway to sit and wait out the storm. There were so many people in the hallway, I was struggling not to panic because I am pretty claustrophobic. Eventually, we lost power. It was so weird; It was almost pitch black and all you could hear was kids crying and people calling out to see if their family or friends were in the hallway too. We waiting for what seemed like ages; camp counselors tried to calm us down by singing hymns and camp songs, but we were aware of what was happening outside of the lodge. 

We eventually ventured out when we believed the storm had passed. The sky was still very black, but the water spouts had gone. The camp was in tact, but there was so much debris lying around the camp; some of the swing sets had been blown down. 

We were all so thankful that no one was hurt and that the damage was minimal. However, to this day, I get very agitated when it gets stormy during the summer. It annoys my husband to death, but whenever a bad storm moves in, I've got to check it out; I'm outside checking out the clouds and looking for "familiar signs." It's one of my many quirks... haha. 

So what about you- have you had a similar experience?

1 comment:

  1. Wow, that is scary. I have never seen a water spout in real life but they seem pretty intimidating! Glad it turned out okay : D


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