ARE WE IN OZ YET, DOROTHY? – BY ELLIN CURLEY

My ex husband, Larry, and I lived through a very atypical evening in Florida many years ago. We were visiting Larry’s mother, Dorothy, in Pompano Beach, Florida. She lived in a fifteen-story condo right across from the ocean and had a magnificent water view.

My mother-in-law, Dorothy, with our son, David on her beach

One night, Larry and I decided to go to the movies. Dorothy decided to stay home. We got out of the movie after dark and headed home. We came upon a police barricade complete with flashing lights and multiple police cars. We were routed off the road and in the wrong direction.

A short ways down the next road, we came upon another phalanx of police cars with flashing lights detouring us even further away from the condo. What was going on?

Larry and me on Dorothy’s balcony in Florida

Larry decided to ignore the barricades and head back in the direction we needed to go. Suddenly we saw a tree uprooted and leaning against a house. Next we saw a car upside down on the roof of a garage. One whole side of the street was total chaos and the other side was perfectly intact. I could see a glass collection in somebody’s front window on the safe side of the street.

As we got closer to the condo, we noticed that there were no lights on in any of the houses. We caught sight of the condo and it was also dark. We started to pull into the car port outside the parking garage at the condo. But it was gone! The roof was off, smashed and folded in on itself, lying on the ground. The cement blocks that held the roof up were strewn around, as were several cars.

We left our car outside and ran into the building to make sure Dorothy was okay. Just as we got to the building, the lights went back on. That meant that power was back and we could take the elevator up to the apartment.

Apparently, while we were in the movie, a tornado had hit the town, going directly through the condo’s parking area. A tornado on the water is apparently unheard of. We were the exception that proves the rule!

There was extensive damage all around. It took months to fully repair the damage to the condo. Dorothy weathered the storm safely inside, but a lady in a nearby condo was sucked out through her patio doors as she tried to close them. She was killed.

It happened so quickly, we managed to miss the whole storm. We avoided what Dorothy described as a terrifying experience full of horrifying sounds and flying objects. We were pretty freaked out just seeing the damage a tornado can do first hand.

I’ve seen disaster footage on TV many, many times. But it doesn’t hit home until you see it in person. It gave me a new respect for Mother Nature. And a new fear for what climate change may have in store for all of us down the road!

12 thoughts on “ARE WE IN OZ YET, DOROTHY? – BY ELLIN CURLEY

  1. slmret September 18, 2017 / 12:22 am

    Yikes — that must have been surreal. In Southern California we occasionally have what are called waterspouts, twisters on the ocean. As they move ashore, they are called tornadoes, but that rarely happens here. In the last few years, there have been increasing numbers of waterspouts.

    Like

    • Marilyn Armstrong September 18, 2017 / 9:18 am

      We get waterspouts fairly often on Long Island Sound, but very rarely do they come ashore and do more than kick up a little sand.

      Like

      • Ellin Curley September 18, 2017 / 5:31 pm

        I never even heard of a waterspout before. Glad I learned something new today.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Ellin Curley September 18, 2017 / 5:26 pm

      I didn’t realize that California doesn’t get tornados. I thought they got almost everything else, including earthquakes. So, I figured, why not tornadoes?

      Liked by 1 person

      • slmret September 18, 2017 / 9:03 pm

        Very occasionally we see a tornado (we call them twisters) — usually a waterspout that touches land brefore petering out. Earthquakes and wildfires are our nemesis!

        Like

  2. Garry Armstrong September 18, 2017 / 9:01 am

    Wow! What an upclose and personal connector to stories we usually see from an almost impersonal distance.

    Like

    • Marilyn Armstrong September 18, 2017 / 9:17 am

      We had one come very close to this house — just a mile or two away. We were all in the basement wondering if this jolly little house would survive a hit. I frankly doubt it. Glad you were at the movies!!!

      Like

      • Ellin Curley September 18, 2017 / 5:30 pm

        I’m surprised to hear there was a tornado in Massachusetts! I didn’t know they were even possible in New England. Now I have something else to worry about. Thanks!

        Like

        • Marilyn Armstrong September 18, 2017 / 9:26 pm

          Indeed there are. Several have torn through the Berkshires and parts of Connecticut have been hit too. We don’t get the huge tornadoes, but they are entirely big enough to tear off your roof.

          Like

    • Ellin Curley September 18, 2017 / 5:29 pm

      Glad you appreciated the up close and personal viewpoint. I can’t tell you what the hurricane sounded like. I also can’t tell you that of course I’m going to rebuild right in the storm zone or flood zone that caused me to lose my house three times already.

      Liked by 1 person

      • tomcurley1 September 18, 2017 / 8:06 pm

        But, How do you feel?

        Like

  3. swo8 September 18, 2017 / 9:05 pm

    Oh Ellin, what a story, and you missed it all while you were at the movie.
    Leslie

    Like

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