Wednesday, July 18, 2007

The Storm

I had polished off the last of my Lou's Enchiladas, which is a four bean burrito recipe given to me by Lou, a family friend who died about two years ago, and was starting in on a piece of my wife's homemade blueberry pie when the siren filled the house. I walked over to the weather watch radio to silence it and saw that we were under a tornado warning meaning one has been spotted. Immediately I switched the television over to channel 16 just in time to hear that a tornado had been spotted to the northeast of town and was headed our way.

I told my wife to be read to move to our "storm shelter" in the little closet under the stairs in the basement at a moments notice and headed outside. I almost made it to the back deck before I realized that the blueberry pie and ice cream was still sitting on the dining room table. I quickly hurried back and grabbed it to take with me. If tonight was going to be my last night on earth, I might as well go with a belly full of homemade blueberry pie.

When I got outside, the sky to the north was a sickening green hue. Our neighbor to the north was out in the lawn looking up at the sky too so I walked over and chatted for a few minutes as we watched it move closer. Soon the clouds were racing across the sky from the south and east towards the storm approaching us from the north and west. This is always an indicator that the shit is really going to hit the fan weather-wise and we nervously parted company to get closer to our homes and hopefully basement shelters.

Back from the safety of the back deck, the clouds started swirling in a large circle as it approached us and on the north side of town, the tornado sirens started up. I strained this way and that to see an approaching tornado but couldn't see one. I listened for the tell tale sound of an approaching tornado but all I could hear was incoming traffic from the east decelerating as they headed into town fifteen blocks away. The trees were dead calm.

Over the next fifteen minutes, the sirens would silence and then start up again as the swirling mass of clouds slid by my house just to the east. The television was blaring out updates of all the sightings real and Doppler predicted to the north, east and south of us. Still no sign or sound of a tornado. Just as I was beginning to think we were safe, I could hear the wind and heavy rain approaching about thirty seconds before it arrived. I stepped inside the house, grabbed Little Abbey playing at my feet and watched it go ripping by, ready to run for the basement should need arise. Normally I would have gone if the siren had been still sounding because being inside meant my sound and sight identification of an actual tornado would be severely impaired. But the siren had gone off several minutes before the wind actually hit and the tornado watch had moved on to areas south of town.

Still, knowing that another one could pop up in severe storms like this, I nervously kept an eye on the window to the north. About that time during the heaviest of the rain, my wife started screaming for me to come to the living room. Fearing that a tornado had formed on the south side of the house, I tore across the living room and looked out the window to see what she was pointing at. Outside in the midst of this storm, a barefoot woman in her late twenties wearing a skimpy two-piece black bikini went running by down the middle of the street. Now I have truly seen everything.

I resumed my watch, pausing once in awhile to check out the radar screen on my wife's laptop that was wirelessly grabbing it off the Internet. Isn't technology wonderful? The rain turned into hail and then back to rain, finally tapering off with the heavy winds. The worst was over and we had dodged the bullet. The calm returned as the last of the evening light disappeared from the skies. Looking back I am thankful that all this happened during daylight hours because normally these storms crop up in the late evening when darkness has rules. When it is dark, you have but no choice to go huddle in the basement with only your fears to occupy your mind and hope for the best. At least in the daylight I can finish off a slice of homemade blueberry pie and watch the sights go running by in a skimpy bikini.

No comments: