Sally’s home wasn’t completely leveled; Control Flow was another story. The tornado wiped away the building, leaving behind oil-soaked ground. It twisted, tossed and wrapped beams around each other in pretzels of steel.
It dropped a small car, recognizable only by its blown-out tires, on top of debris piled a dozen feet high.
n n n
Avoiding that disaster didn’t mean survival came easily for those working at Control Flow.
At first, Mosley and his colleagues stood on Sally’s wraparound porch. From the house’s perch on the crest of a hill, they had a perfect view of the approaching storm. They considered the chances it would hit them to be small. Mosley even snapped a few pictures of the approaching twister with his smartphone.
Conditions changed quickly. Baseball-sized hail rained upon them. The group scrambled to the cellar and huddled inside the cramped, damp and dark shelter.
Mosley couldn’t recall how many minutes passed inside the shelter. But he vividly remembered what he saw and heard: The sound of hail pounding the ground above their heads. The drone of a tornado that quickly grew to a deafening roar. A woman crying uncontrollably as she fought a panic attack.
Insulation flew into the shelter through the air vent. Mosley worried that a slow-moving tornado could suck out the oxygen from the air, suffocating everyone inside the shelter, even if the winds never reached them.
“I wanted to cry, too, but I had to try and keep my composure,” he said. “The roar was unbelievable and the power of it was incredible.”
There was one other sound: Throughout the tumult, Mosley’s wife held the line. His cell phone connection with her stayed intact even as others in the mile-wide path of the tornado lost all service.