The gates of Tornado Alley

My grandparents are country folk, so it was no surprise when they moved from their little home in Springfield, Missouri to an old country community outside of Miller. It sits on the edge of what’s known as Tornado Alley.

My folks are here in Greenville with me while we wait on Dos, so when my brother called from Springfield early this morning, it was clear the news wasn’t going to be all good. The storm I mentioned in this post came flying in off the plains and whacked most of southwest Missouri.

There was good news. The worst injury to my family was a cut on my grandma’s leg. The bad news was that their property took a hell of a wallop.

My brother and sister-in-law waited for the danger to pass and then drove down to help out however they could. They were there until sundown and there is still much to be done. My grandparents house survived with only moderate damage, but everything else on their property is pretty much…well, everywhere.

I’m really thankful my brother is there to help out. He sent these fairly amazing pictures tonight. Two of them are are just astounding in terms of what this kind of weather can do.


My grandpa

No one knows where this came from or how it ended up in the side of the house

Reason to be happy this didn’t happen to the house

This was inside the house in a room where the window broke out–you’re looking at a shard of glass stuck into a desk top
One National Weather Service official said the storm was like an inland hurricane. Three people died in Missouri this morning as a result of the storms. I’m feeling pretty damned fortunate that my grandparents weren’t among the victims.

Thanks, bro, for the pictures and being there when we can’t be.

Brad Willis

Brad Willis is a writer based in Greenville, South Carolina. Willis spent a decade as an award-winning broadcast journalist. He has worked as a freelance writer, columnist, and professional blogger since 2005. He has also served as a commentator and guest on a wide variety of television, radio, and internet shows.

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8 Responses

  1. Daddy says:


    So glad everyone is okay.

  2. Ruth and Gary Schafer says:

    So sorry to hear of your grandparents’ struggles this morning. They are in our prayers.

  3. Dr. Chako says:

    Wow. Just wow.


  4. Tammie McGoldrick says:

    Wow, I am so happy their house was minimally damaged, but so sorry to hear they had any damage at all. This had to really unsettle them and I’m glad to hear only a minor injury was sustained. Thanks Jeff and Cindy for being their for them.

  5. KenP says:

    We seek to order or lives and sometimes it even seems possible. Funny that we can get exercised over bad beats at the table as though they have some meaning. The real bad beats happen and there’s often no rebuys.

    Good luck for your family to manage a split pot on this hand!

  6. Cindy Willis says:

    Technically, as your grandmother pointed out, a lot of the “everything everywhere” on their property wasn’t theirs. Their stuff was being picked up by someone else, God knows where! Grandma is using someone else’s trash bin, but with their own lid, and she had formed a small pile of buckets, a stepladder, etc. at the alley for people to claim. I’d guess no one’s out looking for their missing bucket, but these are good country folk so it’s very possible someone is.

  7. Da Goddess says:

    So happy to hear that your grandparents are okay. Whew!

  8. Astin says:

    Glad everyone’s okay.

    Every year tornado season rolls around, and every year I wonder the same thing – why does ANYONE live in tornado alley? Personally, I’d see that as a major reason to consider other locales. Perhaps they should rename it something MORE ominous?