We knew when as early as yesterday morning that there was a threat of severe weather forecast for today. (“What do they mean by severe?” “Don’t know, it just said SEVERE across today on the seven-day forecast.”)
That said, Jay Heaps took the initiative to try to move training up 30 minutes this morning. While the team ended up getting underway a bit earlier than originally scheduled, even that didn’t keep us from avoiding the weather outright. At the end of the team’s 75-minute training session at UT-Dallas, the sky opened up and even Jeff Lemieux had to finish recording his post-practice interviews at the hotel to avoid getting the equipment wet.
The group came back to the hotel in south Frisco and everyone showered up and got ready for lunch. With TVs on in most rooms, about half the travel party knew that tornadoes were in the area and headed our direction. As just about everyone was in the meal room – and some had even wrapped up and headed back to their rooms - team administrator Nick Kropelin came in to say that the hotel warned him the tornadoes were a few towns over and the hotel said to stay in the stairwells if we needed to go up to our rooms.
The guys keeping themselves entertained
in the Hotel basement
With the heads up, we continued to eat lunch and just a few minutes later, the hotel-wide announcement came over the loudspeakers directing everyone to the basement through the lobby area. Most of the group went straight down from the meal room, but some had to run up to the team’s floor to make sure everyone was heeding the announcement and hustle them down. (Mind you, some of the group had already experienced this situation last year when we had tornado sirens and hotel announcements come in Kansas City for our U.S. Open Cup match in May.)
After a headcount came up correct in the basement, everyone – including all the hotel’s guests and staff – settled in. While we were only down there for about 30 minutes, maybe a bit longer, the staff was tremendous and provided drinks and snacks as everyone was crowded into an area no bigger than a bank lobby.
Finally we got the go-ahead to go back to our rooms and saw that our area was spared. The cell that came over us apparently did some awful damage a short distance away, several towns over. What we did see was spectacular lightning, the remnants of hail and driving rain that was on the backside of the cell that came through. We didn’t really experience much heavy wind, but the sky was still pitch black until the storm moved further off to the northeast.
For all of our friends and family who tried to reach members of the travel party while we were in the basement, we appreciate it and we’re all fine. Unfortunately we didn’t have cell service and then it took about an hour to settle out and return to normal.
We hope that all of our FC Dallas brethren are OK, including friends, family and supporters.