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Tomorrow marks the 2 year anniversary of the "Joplin" tornado's. More than 150 people were killed from the EF5 twister. I remember the day as if it was yesterday because my son was almost directly in its path.
May 22, 2011 the weather was hot and sunny in Springfield. We had been warned that severe weather had been forecast for the entire section of Southwest Missouri. We knew super cells were building and that Springfield would be in the path of this storm. What we didn't know is that Springfield would be spared and Joplin, Missouri would take a direct hit.
Here is what went down in my life that day. My son Grant had been visiting his brother Kole in Bentonville, Arkansas. At five he phoned to tell us he was on his way home heading up 71 north to Joplin then catching I-44 towards Springfield. We told him there supposed to be severe weather so listen to KTTS and they would let him know where the cells and storms were located.
At 5:30 that evening Mark, my husband and I were watching the Weather Channel and during that 10 minute span, tornado chasers were "chasing" a tornado on the outskirts of Kansas and into Missouri. All of a sudden one chaser was broadcasting on a Joplin street near the Mercy Hospital- where just moments before a killer tornado hit the city. I remember the reporter screaming for doctors, medical personnel, ambulances and police. . The devastation on TV was horrific.
Mark and I then remembered Grant! He was right in the path of that tornado. We frantically called him and finally he answered. He said he was at the intersection of 71 and i--44 and the Highway Patrol was turning everyone back because of the debris and semi's that were flipped on their sides.
He said he didn't know where to go or what to do. We suggested to hit some side roads that would lead him to Monett then he could get back onto I-44 if it was accessible . The entire time he was listening to KTTS following the storms and trying to avoid places where the tornado had hit. As a parent, I remembering feeling so helpless because I couldn't show him where the next storms were located but I knew the KTTS storm spotters could TELL him where they were. KTTS became Grants' Lifeline.
I can never thank the KTTS Storm Team enough for helping Grant stay safe and sound during a scary situation. Three hours later he made it home safely and our prayers were answered.
Thanks KTTS for informing and helping to keep my child safe, and for helping all of us in the future.
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