Camping during a tornado

Camping during a tornado

In May we were on a tour of 3 shows. The family and I were camping out of our Four Wheel Camper with small enclosed trailer in tow for the shop stuff. We had 2 shows before arriving to Bentonville, Arkansa for Bike Fest.

The show was going great and the kids were having a blast riding bikes and doing all the show things. We went to bed on Saturday night expecting some light thunder storms in the area. 

At about 1am, we were startled awake by our phones alerting us or a tornado warning. We also then started hearing the tornado alarms going off. We arose and quickly examined our phones for the radar of what was going on. It appeared we were right on the edge of the weather and decided we would give it a few minutes to clear as radar predicted. 

After several rounds of doing that the storm seem to intensify. After the alarms went off a second time, my wife looked at me and said we need to leave as we were in the middle of a field with no real shelter options. We quickly packed up the camper as best we could (literally pulling everything off the bed and dumped below to lower the top) and got out of the field. Not knowing exactly where we were going we drove down the street seeking shelter.

After a few failed attempts on finding something, we pulled into a motel. Megan jumped out and entered the lobby to see if we could shelter there. They responded with a "YES" and we bailed out the truck. Now finally have a true shelter we could somewhat relax again.

After the storm passed, we praised the Lord for keeping us safe. Morning had come and it was time to go back to the event site to asses the damage. We passed many passed large trees and could already see the damage was vast. The main entrance to the event was no impassable as a large tree had fallen across it. We entered through another entrance and drove to our booth.

Only a few pop-up tents remained standing. Most has been blown down and destroyed. As we continued to where our trailer was parked and our booth was, we could see really how much damage had occurred in the wee hours of the morning. 

Most tents had been destroyed and stuff was everywhere. As we got to our tent we were relieved it was still there and damage was minimal. We wondered over to where our booth was to discover our tent was destroyed. Most of our product seemed to be present but almost everything was soaked. We began picking up our things, wringing out what could be and loading our trailer back up for the 9 hour drive home. 

We had survived the night and our losses were minimal. We came to find out 7 tornadoes landed that night in the area around us.

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