It was Friday morning at a farm outside the town where the Rugrats lived. Today was a special day. It was Aunt T's 87th birthday party. Everyone was getting ready for the celebration at the farm where Aunt T had lived for the past few years. She and Uncle Charles were happy to see most of the family and their friends.
Edwin and Buster were at summer camp while Alisa was on vacation in Florida.
Susie, Randy, and Lucy had brought their friends along. Also at the party were the Pickles, the Finsters, and the Devilles.
Susie was the first to hear about the party. The letter had come the previous morning. Susie was checking the mail when she suddenly recieved a letter from her Aunt T. She opened the envelope and read it.
"You and your entire family and friends are invited to my 87th birthday, this Friday at my farm."
Susie told her parents about the party. They told their neighbors, the Pickles, the Finsters, and the Devilles.
Since tomorrow was Friday, everyone packed up into the car and drove off out of town.
When they arrived at the farm, Aunt T greeted them warmly. She could use a little help in preparing for the party. But she also needed some help on doing some of the chores around the farm. The kids spent much of the day looking after the animals and cleaning the yard for the party.
The next morning, Tommy was the first person up. He dressed and went down to the kitchen to make himself some breakfast. He looked outside and noticed that there were several clouds in the sky.
Tommy then noticed that the cherry blossoms on the ground seemed to be carried upward in a spiral. Tommy knew that air was being sucked upward. Something was happening and he didn't like it.
As the day progressed, the Rugrats helped their parents make the final preparations for the party. By early afternoon, Tommy noticed that the clouds were slightly darker in colour. Before supper time, the clouds were brown. And by the time it was time for the party, the clouds had turned black.
Tommy had told his parents about what was happening, but they told him not to worry. They told him that the worst that would happen was rain. But Tommy knew that this was a powerful storm coming. Lightning and hail were the least of their dangers. Their greatest danger were whirling winds at high speeds.
Tommy watched The Weather Channel on television. The weatherman said that there would be a heavy chance of lightning storms with rain and hail and a slight chance of tornadoes. This made Tommy very nervous.
After everyone sang happy birthday to Aunt T, she blew out the candles. As she cut everyone a piece of cake, Tommy noticed that the sky in the distance began to flash with lightning.
"Look at the cool fireworks!" said Dil.
"That's lightning Dil" said Stu. "There's nothing to worry about. The storm is far away from us."
But as Aunt T opened her presents, the storm came closer and closer. Tommy suggested that everyone go into the house. Everyone thought that with a storm coming, it was a good idea.
Soon, the sky outside lit up with lightning as the storm raged overhead. Hail and rain began to fall.
"What a storm!" said Aunt T. "I haven't seen a storm like this since Hurricane Coco!"
The kids shuddered. They hated that name.
Eventually, the lightning stopped flashing. The rains and hail stopped falling.
"Susie, could you and your friends go check on the animals?" asked Aunt T, "they get so tense during storms like that."
"Sure thing Aunt T!" said Susie. She and the Rugrats went outside.
They checked on all the animals. Kimi and Chuckie checked the horses. Angelica and Susie, looked in the hen house. Phil drooled over all the worms that were on the ground. Dil and Lil went to check the dogs.
Tommy however was still inside. He was watching The Weather Channel. The weather man was still talking about thunderstorms with hail and lightning. With a sigh, Tommy went outside.
Had Tommy stayed any longer, he would have caught a glimpse of a ticker crawling at the bottom of the screen, which said the following:
"The weather service has issued a tornado warning for this region for the next 30 minutes, as a tornado has been sighted. Please take shelter at a safe place at once."
Tommy went outside and looked up at the clouds. They were still black, but their undersides were slightly bubbling with instability. Something wasn't right. Tommy knew that the worst was yet to come.
Then suddenly, it happened.
In the distance, a funnel shaped cloud appeared in the distance and extended downwards towards the ground. Nobody saw it...except Tommy.
Tommy watched in horror as the cloud touched down on the ground in the distance and began to suck up dust like a giant vacumn cleaner. The winds began to roar.
Tommy knew what it was. A tornado. It was rated an F1 on the Fujita scale. It was narrow, but slowly widened near the top. Tornadoes with an F1 are usually mild tornadoes, that only causes damage in a limited area.
The other Rugrats heard the winds too. They ran out into the yard. When they saw the tornado in the distance, they were terrified.
The grownups came outside to check on the kids.
"Kids, are the animals ok?" asked Aunt T.
The kids didn't reply. It was almost as if they had never heard.
"Are you kids listening to me?" asked Aunt T.
"What's going on?" asked Stu.
The kids continued to stare into the distance. The grownups looked too. Their mouths dropped open when they saw the tornado.
"Everybody get the animals to safety!" said Aunt T. "You kids get to the cellar!"
Everyone ran off into different directions.
While the men took the horses and dogs to safety, the women grabbed the hens and placed them with the other animals in an underground animal shelter. Aunt T ran back into the house and grabbed some matches, blankets, and a lantern.
Meanwhile at the cellar, the kids waited for their parents. Every once in a while, they would keep an eye on the tornado.
"Tommy, is it me, or is the tornado getting bigger?" asked Kimi.
"It's not getting bigger Kimi" said Tommy, "it's getting closer!"
"Where are they?" asked Chuckie. It was obvious that he was scared.
Finally, the grownups came. "Now lets get to safety ourselves!" said Chazz.
Aunt T struggled to open the cellar. "I can't get it open!" she said. "I guess it's hard for an old woman to do."
"Stand back!" said Kimi. "I'll do it!"
Kimi grabbed the cellar doors and forced them open.
"Get in everybody!" said Uncle Charles.
One by one everyone ran down the stairs into the cellar with Aunt T being last. Kimi closed the cellar doors and latched them shut.
Aunt T turned on the lantern, creating light in the cellar. All was quiet, except for the winds of the approaching tornado.
"Now all we have to do is stay in here until the storm dies down" she said. "Even if we have to stay all night."
So everyone waited. To pass the time, Aunt T began telling everyone a story about her life. She had been raised in Missouri as a girl. At the age of ten, she and her family survived the Tri-State tornado in 1925. She recalled how scared she was.
Soon everyone grew tired. They each took a blanket and went to sleep.
Finally, the next morning, everyone awoke from their sleep. Aunt T unlatched the doors and forced the doors open (with a little help from Kimi). She stepped outside. Everyone soon followed.
"Well what do you know" she said. "Next to some broken windows, some peeled dry paint, and a damaged roof, there hardly seems to be any damage!"
"We got lucky" said Tommy. "That was a small tornado. Think about what would have happened if it was bigger."
"I wouldn't have a farm anymore" said Aunt T.
"I guess last night is a night we'll always remember" said Uncle Charles.
"And this has been a birthday that I'll never forget!" said Aunt T.
Everyone spent much of the day helping Aunt T repair the damage. After a barbeque, everyone bid good-bye to Aunt T and went home.
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