The sky grew dark. Lightning flashed. Thunder roared. The power went out. Strong winds blew over everything in its path, taking down a large tree branch in my yard.
That fast-moving storm did considerably more damage along its way. Trees were down, knocking out power and strewn all over the place, making roads impossible to get around. The wind had blown in the windows of an auto parts store, leaving broken glass for someone to sweep up. State of emergency was called. The National Weather Service called this a macroburst, a severe storm with straight winds of up to 85 mph.
Then the tornado picked up an estimated speed of 135 mph and touched down at Smithfield, a section of Madison County that had not been under the tornado warning. It destroyed homes, barns, and an outhouse. A mother, a four month-old baby, and an older female relative were killed. It lifted a three-story home off its foundation, with a man and his dog inside. The man and dog both died. A garage containing three vehicles was gone, leaving the vehicles intact.
The tornado vanished as quickly as it had appeared. It took less than four minutes to leave a path of destruction.
The storm was one of four that bounced around in Central New York, so it could have been another that headed northeast toward Rome. According to the record, the original storm lost speed and broke apart before it reached Rome.
A Bible Conference is located at Delta Lake, a few miles north of Rome. Family Camp was in session during that week in July, 2014. They received the tornado warning late in the afternoon.
Should it hit, the whole campground, including tabernacles, tents, campers, and cottages could have been destroyed with many lives lost.
Some campers formed a circle, held hands, and prayed that God would stop the storm. Jesus stilled the storm in the New Testament; He can still this one. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
Other campers elected to stay in their own cottages, while everybody else gathered together in the basement of the campground main building. They sang, they prayed, and they waited for the storm to come (even though they had already prayed for the tornado to stop).
Eventually it started to rain, a light gentle rain. Ten minutes later it stopped and the skies were clear.
A superficial thunderstorm hit Rome, New York, on July 8, 2014, leaving major damage throughout the area. The tornado split just before it reached the campground and went north and south, leaving the Bible Conference free of any damage.
God doesn’t always answer prayer the way we want, but thankfully He spared the campground during that threat of danger.
Marion Tickner writes from New York.
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