Monday, May 20, 2013

Tornado Watch

One of the hazards of living in Oklahoma... and Tornado Alley in general... is spring weather.  Tornadoes aren't, of course, limited to spring, but that is the time we're most prone to them.

We've been lucky this year.  Just a few days ago, the news stations were actually talking about the fact that we were in a 'tornado drought,' because there had been so few tornadoes this year.

I think Mother Nature heard them.  She's vindictive like that sometimes.

Yesterday, the first round of storms came through.  I wasn't particularly worried about them coming here because while it was humid, it was also cloudy and windy all day.  The conditions just didn't seem right.  Sure enough, all the storms fell apart before they got here, and we only had a small cloudburst, just enough rain to make the gardens happy.

Today, though, things felt... and still feel... different.  It was sunnier, more humid, hazier, and just generally more like the weather that I've grown up to know means storms and tornadoes.

I've swept out the closet under the stairs (we're spending our tax refund on a safe room, but it's not here yet), and totally unlike yesterday, I've had the kids pack bug-out bags.  Sometimes when you can see a tornado coming your way, the safest thing to do is actually climb in the car and head south or east as fast as you can, then come back when it's over.  I've only had to do that once, but hey... it's an option.  And when that's an option, it's nice to be able to tell the kids to pack their pajamas and a couple of their favorite things, just in case.

Hanging out and waiting
As for Oz and I, he's home, too, and we're watching the weather on television.  It might as well be labeled the state hobby, because when the weather gets nuts, nobody gripes about missing their favorite sitcoms or dramas unless they're total brainless boors who just need to be nicely dropped into the nearest hook echo as a reminder of how nasty these things can be.

Radar and knowledge of local geography are your friends
This is what the TV looks like during tornadic hours.  Lots of red and yellow.  Storm tracks.  Helicopter footage.  Wind inflow and outflow patterns.

More radar
I also usually have radar pulled up on at least one tab on my computer while the weather's going on.  I know it's fairly useless if we lose power, because the Internet will go out, too, and I'll have to swap to using the 4G on my phone or the weather app on Oz's iPad, but it's just another layer of knowledge for me to add to my database, so I can make informed decisions about what to do for my family.

To someone who isn't used to tornadoes, it probably seems like I'm freaking out, hyper-aware, and just taking far too many precautions.  To those who live in Shawnee or Moore this week... well, I think they'd say I'm doing exactly what I need to do.  My heart breaks for them and any others affected by these storms.

To help those affected by tornadoes this week, please consider donating to the Red Cross.  They aren't paying me to say this, but I'm saying it, anyway.  You can donate by visiting their web site or text REDCROSS to 90999 to donate $10.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Saw what happened in Moore on BBC news this morning. :(