October 12th, 2014, was supposed to start off as any other regular Sunday morning.
Our daughter was to have Adventurers (co-ed girl/boy scout like club) that morning around 10 am. I was much aware of a storm passing by, but I was thinking a few showers and strong wind, living on the seaside those storms are very commonplace in Bermuda. I had even asked my Adventurer Director that night before if we were still having a meeing with the storm passing by; she assured me we would still be meeting as she was not really aware of it being very serious. My husband even said he thought I was being a bit over the top, and if it was serious we would have been forewarned. So I went to sleep a bit uneasy but assured myself if no one else was concerned I will try not to be.
When I finally awoke that morning around 6am, to get started early for our long day, I woke up to the most eerie sound. It was a sound I had never heard before, but I knew it wasn’t good. In a frenzy I shook my husband and shouted “GET MY KIDS!!!!” He woke up, still thinking I was overreacting, but once he collected himself from sleep deprivation and heard the same sound he darted out the room to our children’s room (there room is down a hall and faces the waterside). Our baby girl, 6 months old, was still sleeping in her co-sleeper in our room, our older two (5 year old daughter and 2.5 year old son) were all snuggled up in their beds, wide awake. The same awful sound must have startled them out of a restful sleep.
When my husband returned he had our son, tossed him into the bed with me and ran back out the room; by this time my daughter was crying her heart out. All I could hear was the same alarming sound, a bunch of shuffling in our house, crying children and my husband running all over the place. He eventually returned with our daughter and informed me that the windows everywhere were leaking water profusely and he needed some assistance. I informed our children to stay in our room and keep safe.
I ran into the kids room to see water pouring through the windows like a busted water pipe. I pulled back their beds from the walls as puddles were beginning to form on the floor, I then grabbed some towels to prevent too much flooding. Next, I heard my husband yell for me in a panic. I ran to the living room to see what was happening. He was holding our french doors and yelled for me to get to the children our roof was going.
As I ran hurriedly back to my room all I heard was cracking, breaking and falling debris above my head banging in the ceiling. I was terrified for our children. I arrived in my room to find them hiding in our closet, but informed them to exit as the doors to the crawl spaces had shot out and I wasn’t sure what the debris was that was banging in the ceiling. I was trying to lift our queen size plush pillow mattress, carry-corner and braced to cover them. Anyone who knows me would say that’s impossible as I am only 5’1/2″ in height and 100 lbs, and trust me it was impossible!! Luckily my husband was actually on my heels running into the room and lifted it over the children and I, and there we stayed..
All the commotion had obviously scared our children stiff. Not to mention we could still hear the banging of the debris in the rooftop. So in an attempt to calm their fears and mine we sang songs from our hymnal and had our morning worship, saying our scriptures and reading bible passages. It seemed to help a bit, but every time a large bang occurred they were startled, and so was I in fear that our ceiling would actually collapse. We stayed under that mattress for about a hour and a half, until things seemed to calm down considerably.
My husband was naturally in and out of our room checking on the rest of the house to see what was happening. He even ventured outside as he saw our neighbors walking around after the intense part of the storm had passed. He eventually told me what he experienced in the living room:
As I was in the living room to look out and see what was happening, the french doors were beginning to buckle. It seemed like someone was trying to open them up by yanking them with all their might and they were succeeding, so I decided to try to hold the door to keep them closed the best I could. While I was holding the door, I saw our blue bin (full of our kids beach toys) open up and the lid fly into the air, then one by one the toys were rising up into the air, next the bin flew! I then looked up to see parts of our slate roof lifting up from the house with this force that was trying to open up the french doors. [That’s when he called me] Then the slate roof pieces began to fly directly at the glass french doors and I knew I had to let them go as I would be severely hurt. However, before they could completely smash the glass they dropped as if someone knocked them down from breaking though the house. That’s when I ran after you to the room to help secure the kids.
Even though this story seems like it lasted hours with all we did, it was really only a few minutes, until we had worship. Everything happened in a flash before we could even process what was really going on. After the storm had completely passed, and we were able to venture outside and reach our local friends and family we discovered that it was an “apparent” tropical storm that passed with about 50 tornadoes or more that wreaked havoc over our entire island home. The damage was very extensive everywhere with trees that have been around for years ripped up from their roots, houses losing roofs, walls, and balconies. We were without electricity until the evening. For the damage that was seen over the entire island, it was nothing but a MIRACLE we had no loss of life.
Re-thinking about this situation reminds me of the story of the 10 virgins found in Matthew 25. Everyone was asleep and no one was prepared to meet the storm ahead.
Some damage to our house:
The damage to the roof over our kids room.
Some damage to the island: