The alert went off on my phone.
Heeding it immediately, I told my husband and dog.
We had to go to the basement.
County M and W. Route 108. Stevenstown.
I know the area well.
It’s not far away.
Green and red pixel colors mixing on screen.
Dark storm clouds fill the sky.
The tornado siren goes off.
I ask my husband if he can hear it.
My husband moves his truck into the garage.
The weather man tells people to seek shelter.
It is eerily quiet.
The proverbial calm before the storm.
The wind picks up.
Plants not buffeted by our house are beat by this invisible force.
Do I see a funnel forming off to the south east?
I am unsure, but cautious.
The storm is to the north.
Soon, the weatherman reports that the pixels have separated.
The storm is passing.
The rotation has stopped.
An hour later, the sky is blue once again.
And, my phone is quiet,
Like nothing ever happened.
We don’t get too many tornados or even tornado warnings in the upper mid-west, thankfully. But, when we do, we heed the warnings to take shelter. We stay alert to possibly rapidly changing weather. We’ve been lucky. Severe thunderstorms that can spawn tornados are nothing to fool with – even if you reside outside of tornado alley.
When I was a child, probably seven or eight years of age, we experienced a tornado that took off two sides of our single car garage. We lived in a rural but growing area of one of the suburbs west of Rochester, New York.
My mom was a school teacher and dad worked at Bausch and Lomb, in the city. Both had already went to work. My sister and I were watched by our neighbor in the morning before the bus came. The neighbor was not next door but across the street from us. We watched as the storm ripped through the neighborhood, cutting a visible path and leaving busted garage walls in its wake. We were all safe, and that’s what mattered.
It seems so long ago, and was – fifty years or more. But, it was my introduction to how weather can be a friend or a foe and developed a healthy respect within me for seeking shelter when told to do so. Things can be replaced. People cannot.
Hopefully, our excitement yesterday will not become a more frequent occurrence. I do believe our weather patterns are transitioning because of climate change. Time will tell.