Last night after having dinner with Brian’s dad we pressed on to Amarillo. We contemplated staying in Albuquerque but knew we would rather do more miles the first two days than the last day. We arrived in Amarillo around 1:15 Am. After checking a Residence Inn and a Courtyard Marriott we found a room at the red roof inn.
We both hit the pillow pretty quickly. Brian feel asleep almost immediately. I was a little wound up from driving. I caught up on some news and Facebook before closing my eyes at 2:15 and dozing off.
With alarms set at 7am we both begrudgingly rolled out of bed, showered, grabbed breakfast and headed out.
By 8:30am we received a text message from my friend Jeff. Being a professional pilot, he’s rather astute when it comes to the weather. He shared his concerns about the weather patterns developing throughout the Midwest. Lots of potential for super cells, hail and tornados. We assured him we wouldn’t do anything stupid and carried on.
Within 5 minutes of learning of the upcoming weather, we passed a Mobile Doppler radar unit operated by NOAA. It was headed east as well. Brian and I both laughed, I guess they expected some serious weather today.
We carried on booming down the 40 east. We watched weather build and swiftly move north. Rain washed our windshield a few times over the next 4 hours, but never for any duration.
Between noon and 12:30 we watched Oklahoma City come and go. Tinker Air Force base caught our attention. As I was the driver, Brian did research to discover Tinker is a massive airbase supporting both the air force and navy. It’s basically the logistical head quarters for much of the air force operations across the U.S. and the world. Neat!
Throughout the morning and early afternoon we received a few checkins from friends to let us know about the weather. Always followed with be safe/careful.
At 4:45 we received a message from our friend Philip. He plays softball with Brian. Philip works for the Red Cross in disaster management and assessment. He is frequently deployed to disaster areas after natural disasters. He let us know we dodged a bullet today. At 4:00pm a tornado hit Oklahoma City.
We stopped shortly after the news to have dinner. Over the next hour we exchanged messages back in forth. He relayed as three additional tornados touched down in the area. He shared that interstate 44 and then interstate 40 were shut down.
4 hours. Had we stayed in Albuquerque last night, we would have been 4 hours behind the schedule we kept today. Without the extra 4 hours we would have hit Oklahoma City at 4:00pm instead of noon. We would have been trapped due to the freeway closures and in harms way.
We are currently unaware of the damage OKC sustained. But, I’m really glad we carried on driving into the wee hours of the morning as opposed to being well rested having stayed in Albuquerque.
As always, you never know the effect small decisions will have. As for all those impacted by the tornados, our thoughts are with you.
Our car navigation has a useful weather feature. After dinner and returning to our trip we pulled up the current weather map. This is the visual we were presented with.
Shocking! Yes, those are tornado icons. They are representative of a storms ability to produce a twister.
For the remainder of the day we will have clear skies and warm temperatures ahead of us. Let’s hope it’s smooth sailing.
As we always say, “It’s always an adventure!”