Hiding from Tornadoes? What’s a Mom To Do?


I turned the TV on around 1pm when it started looking dark outside.  But, you know how it goes, on the TV map it appears as if the storms are pretty far away.  No need to panic.  Sometimes, even when you see your county listed and scrolling across the bottom of your screen, it just doesn’t seem “real” that you could be in danger. But, as the afternoon ticked away and the weathermen monopolized every network station, it seemed like maybe I should pay more attention.  Maybe there was a possibility we could be in the path of disaster.

An estimated 12 tornadoes touched down in DFW yesterday. Photo credit: Covenant Roofing, Forney

Facebook friends were going crazy about the warnings and neighbors were updating their statuses with weather related info.  But, at about 3:45pm our phone rang.  I subscribe to a service called weathercall (find it at weathercall.net).  You pay $10 a year but, you tell them your PRECISE location and they alert you if something is headed within a few miles of you. (So much better than relying on a county wide warning…our county is like 10 miles wide!) The call went something like this, “There is a tornado headed to your precise location, seek shelter immediately.”

Let me tell you, my hands were SHAKING when I hung up that phone.  The kids already had their bike helmets on and I had shoved a few blankets and pillows into our downstairs half bath. But, it was time to get serious.  We practiced holding on to the stem of the sink.  I told them I would probably lay on them if the wind started to really blow.  My 5 year old’s reaction, “No mommy, that will hurt.”   My response, “It’s better than blowing away.”

Conversation over.

The hail started and it sounded like someone was on our roof dropping furniture. That was the hail. Fortunately my husband was home, but he looked out the window and actually saw the tornado — just a mile or so away.

You see, I live in Forney.  If you haven’t watched the news in the last 24 hours, we got hit yesterday.  In fact, less than 2 miles from our home about 20 homes were mostly destroyed.  We have good friends that live in the neighborhood that was in the path, and knew their son would have been at the elementary school that was also struck.  It was a scary day, and a day to take the weather warnings seriously.

But, I’ll be honest. Sometimes it’s hard to keep everyone trapped in that little space.  Sometimes you think to yourself, “Do I need to wake them up for this? If it’s a false alarm it’s going to take me forever to get them back to sleep.”  But, then on the other hand, if it’s not, you’d rather be safe then sorry.  Right?

It’s times like weather emergencies when I find being a mom most challenging.  The pressure of being responsible for these little lives in weather disasters is overwhelming — especially if one happens when your husband isn’t at home.  I worry about how I can hold onto four children at one time, or, worse, get four of them out of their beds and down the stairs should bad weather strike in the middle of the night.  I wonder if I should be ready with canned goods, water, flashlights, a first aid kit, extra diapers, and everything else you need for an emergency each and every time there is a warning.  But, then, other times, I feel silly doing that because it’s just another, “false alarm.”

Then there are other issues — like what if your children aren’t even home.  Yesterday there were thousands of  moms all over the Metroplex who had children at a school that was locked-down because of weather warnings.  Even my son’s preschool was!  What? How do you handle that — go pick them up and have them in a car during a tornado? Or, go through a tornado wondering if they are okay at another location?  Both choices stink.

Hail at our house yesterday.

And, what about the baby?  One of our contributors had the great idea of putting the baby in the car seat. But, how do you fully protect and hold on to your baby if you have additional children to also protect?

So how do you handle weather emergencies?  Are you the mom who has everyone hunker down every time it thunders?  Or do you wait until you see the funnel cloud to move everyone to a safe place?  Are you prepared for a real emergency?  How did you survive yesterday?

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Originally an East Coast native, Heather Creekmore is a pastor’s wife living in Austin, Texas. Heather spent over a decade working in politics and marketing for non-profits before marriage and children. Now, through her own ministry, Heather speaks and writes to encourage Christian women who struggle with body image and comparison. Her first book titled, “Compared to Who?” (Leafwood, 2017) helps people find new freedom from comparison struggles. In her free time, Heather home schools four children, drives the soccer practice shuttle, makes (sometimes edible) freezer meals, competes on Netflix baking shows, and breaks grammar rules. Connect with Heather on Facebook or on her blog at: Compared to Who.


  1. I was one of those moms who didn’t want to wake up the kid from naptime. But one I started seeing rotating, very low clouds out the window, I finally grabbed (read violently yanked) my sleeping toddler out of the crib and huddled in the closet with the newborn between us. SO SCARY!

  2. That really is a scary thing. I am glad you all are okay. I do think it is worth having 72 hour kits in little backpacks for each family member. Make it a little easier to grab thing you would need on a short notice… Even if it is a false alarm.

  3. As long as I’ve lived in Dallas (almost 30 years), I think that was the second time I’ve ever had to get into a closet or in a closed room. I don’t know if I was being paranoid (I live near Addison) or maybe I only did because I feel like I have another life to protect; either way I don’t want to have to do that again!


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