The kraken is said to come forth from the sea and destroy those unfortunate ships that happen to be in its path, devouring lives as it goes, a monster. It can disappear quick as it came, only to rise again, leaving devastation before it slips beneath the seas to await another opportunity.
The past 24 hours have been horrific for the Southern United States. The number of deaths is over 200 and rising. There was little warning.
I live in Eastern North Carolina, and we have been unaffected so far by the storms that struck Alabama, Georgia, and several other states. I have been watching the news, though, and an image I saw this morning struck me more than anything.
A huge tornado moved along the ground somewhere in Alabama, classified as an EF-5, the strongest tornadoes, whose winds can reach over 200 miles per hour, some close to 300. This huge beast that raged through Alabama was moving fast along the ground, and every so often there would be thin offshoots from the main body, like tentacles.
A tornado is a kraken of the skies. A tornado is the only storm that can be considered an entity rather than a weather phenomenon. It is a beast that does not grow, or sprout, or appear, but spawns, the only word to describe an animal made of wind and pressure.
On April 16, a series of tornado cells raged through North Carolina. You may have seen the articles and pictures. Homes leveled, a Lowes Store destroyed, 22 deaths in the state alone. A storm took out a dry cleaners and messed up a Walgreen's near me, blew apart some houses down the road from the Walgreen's. I wasn't in my town that day. My family was working at a pet show and visiting friends in New Bern, North Carolina, and were heading back, late afternoon, we dueled a monster head-on.
It had been windy all day, and was looking pretty bad when we left New Bern, but not bad enough there to worry too much. As we drove further west, reports came on the radio of tornadoes striking throughout the state. Dad was on his Ham radio trying to get some information from other operators and trying to get out some information about the storm. The skies grew darker and the wind was picking up. In the distance, a dark blue cloud was moving and changing and pushing down a white funnel. The sky changed over us, not black, but the sick color of mucus, and hail began to pelt the car like bullets. There were no shelters to stop in, and my dad was about to pull over so we could climb into a ditch that was already filled with water. The wind and the hail picked up steadily. Barely, I saw cars pulled over, flashers on, waiting out the storm. My dad chose to keep driving. The van was having problems staying on the road as the wind picked it up and the acceleration of the tires barely kept it on the road.
And then everything turned white, and the roaring began.
And we prayed.
And there was the city of Goldsboro. The sky had cleared. Praise be to God, we made it through. Dad pulled off into the parking lot of an Outback Steakhouse, we emerged from our cocoon, shaking, but exhilarated. Marble-sized hail littered the ground and cooled the air.
That night's dinner was the best meal ever.
Having survived an encounter with a beast of the skies and, I know how blessed I am to even be alive, much less unscathed. You do not forget what it is like to survive a tornado. My heart hurts for the over 200 people who went to bed never expecting that they wouldn't see the sun the next morning.
God be with us as we remember this day.