Terrible Tuesday……

My interest in survival began on September 10, 1979. On that day a massive tornado, actually 4 tornadoes coming together to form a monster, hit Wichita Falls, Texas. My wife had asked me over and over that day to take her to Sykes Center Mall in Wichita Falls and I told her there were storm warnings and that it was silly to make the 10+ mile trip. Sykes Center Mall took a direct hit – glad I didn’t give in. The day before I had seen a small water spout over a railroad tank from the roof at work and that was on my mind at the time.

After the tornado, my father and I went over taking some supplies that we had to see if we could help. The damage was unbelievable. Entire sections of houses and businesses were gone along Southwest Parkway, making it impossible to know even where we were; no buildings, signs or other landmarks remained until we came to where the bank used to be and only the vault remained. We learned the next day that the manager and 6 employees went into the vault, closed the door and when they emerged they were all they remained of the Safeway store and surrounding strip mall. The devastation went on and on for miles.

At our home, ten miles away, we found ourselves without electricity, water or gas for the better part of the next three days. The trunks all came from Wichita Falls and were cut due to the storm. We cooked on the fireplace, charcoal grill and used my camping equipment to get through.

Following this experience, we began to put away items to make sure we never found our family in this situation again. I brought home boxes from work and we put away gallon jugs of water, canned foods, and personal items for my wife, my children and myself. I amped up my camping equipment and purchased my first rifle and pistol to go along with my shotgun as well as several boxes of ammo for each. I took my wife out and taught her how to handle each of my guns so that she could defend herself and the kids if necessary.

We had gone back over as a group from work and took some supplies to give away. We were surprised at how people pushed and shoved for what we had brought. I put this away in the back of my mind as something to prepare for in the days ahead. If people acted like this on day 2 of a disaster, what would happen if it lasted for a week, or a month, or even longer?

The next thing I did was to stock up on firewood both at my house and at the farm located three miles north of my home. We also stocked the pantry there with food and other emergency items. Since there were three ponds on the property and a creek, we felt we had the needed water in case of emergency. We also placed some ammo there as well to make sure we had backup.

This experience changed the way we packed for travel both short and long trips and the way we looked at situations that occurred on a daily basis. I guess this made up preppers for life!


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  1. I guess you could say I got into prepping on9/11 and after hurricane Katrina I saw what the terrorist attack did to nyc and how it effected the whole country my best friend lost 2 brothers that day on9/11 one was a firefighter the our was a cop both where killed when the towers went down I live in west ny state there was a call that came out that day for cots chairs food water ANYTHING that could be spared a friend of mine and I took a little of everything listed above in a matter of THREE HOURS there was 4 full truck loads full of stuff

    hurricane Katrina I saw could happen if someplace was totaly cut off from the outside world so I started stocking up on long lasting foods I started drying foods as well I started making large amounts of beef jerky drying onions corn stuff like that I started buying camping gear like winter rated sleeping bags 4 season tents a camping stove ihave always had knives around but I bought a tomahawk and other large weapons I went out and bought a shotgun and started practicing with it and buying different kinds of ammo for it I guess the main thing I learned for all this is that its just not possible to prep for EVERYTHING

  2. Thankfully you survived and learned.

    As native Texan, my maternal grandparents owned a wheat farm in SW Kansas which we would visit every summer. I remember grandma ringing the farm bell to call in the hands when the weather turned gray. She rounded up the dogs and run them into the large storm cellar, then the chickens went in, and finally the people. Around age 6 I asked her about the order of occupancy. The dogs went in first to kill any snakes, the chickens went in so we could have breakfast the next day in case everything was blown away. Grandma had her priorities. Grandma was a real survivor.


  3. small correction, the 1979 tornado that hit Wichita Falls happened in April not September…
    I live here and was 10 years old when that storm hit, me and my mother was at the mall watching a movie when it hit(Buck Rogers was the movie by the way) my oldest brother was in J C Penney’s which took the worst damage from the tornado. I remember the movie flickering and then people lined up at the theatre entrance to get out then they said take cover. I remember laying under the seat in the aisle looking up and seeing hints of light through the roof. We got out when it was over and the only car not seriously damaged or moved was an old Bonneville that we were in. We tried to use a phone in a store called Toys By Roy but lines were down. My dad ended up coming to get us and I remember we rear ended someone and they said not to worry he was trying to find his family… scary day in my life I was ten years old at the time. Merry Christmas to all of you and may God bless you.

  4. It was April 10, 1979 not September Tim. You are correct. Had been reading about 9/11 before I wrote the article, thanks. Actually DrSique I have been able to use that on a few occasions! Just like prepping – use anything you can!

  5. Small world. My wife and I were living in Dallas that day and were told a tornado had been forming over Dallas but passed over and hit WF, not real close to the Big D but close in tornado travels. There was a write up somewhere that said a man in his WF house looked out one window of his house and saw blackness as far as he could see and out the other window across the room it was bright sunlight. We were pretty scared as we had waited out several other possible tornadoes during our time in TX. It was actually a very unusual week long power failure due to a snowstorm in Dallas that turned me, unfortunately not my wife, into a prepper. I had a kerosene lamp and the first day went to Skillerns Drug to buy some oil. They had oddly made a huge pyramid of lamp oil bottles and people were frantically loading up shopping carts with bottles of it, tons more than they could possibly use. It was all gone by the time I made it to where they’d put it out. When I asked several people who’d filled their carts with dozens of the bottles for ONE bottle, no one would give me one. So much for friendly Texans. That was my wake up call and I took advantage of living in TX to arm myself and learn how to use weapons, something hard to do where we came from. I have also taken many other prepper precautions the past decades after returning here up north but am fortunate I got my first lesson in TX.

  6. Same day but in southern Alabama. Hurricane Frederick! Two weeks we lived with a relative. We laughed that our first child wore undershirts as diapers. Thank God we did have water, just no open stores or electricity for a week +.

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