Ok, it’s time for me to make a confession. I am a meteorological junkie. At least during severe weather season in Kansas. And for good reason. After living in Kansas for most of my life (& the TX Panhandle for 5 yrs), I have had many occasions to see funnel clouds and tornados.
I don’t remember the big Topeka tornado of June 1966, but I do remember all of the people who came to stay with us after their homes were destroyed. I remember many nights spent sleeping in our safe place under the stairs in the basement; Mom didn’t want to have to worry about getting us kids woken up and downstairs in the middle of a warning. And I do remember watching tornados & funnel clouds to the south and east of us as a teenager (that drove my mother crazy).
The closest a tornado ever came to my childhood home was the Friday before Mother’s Day in 1983. The third house down the street was destroyed, the two houses between had heavy damage, and our house only had a few broken windows. Very lucky indeed. There was a funny story about a kid I went to school with getting caught in the shower with the house disappearing from around him, but it’s only funny after you know everyone is OK.
Living in Amarillo, TX was actually pretty scary when it came to severe weather. Down there most people don’t have basements, so there is nowhere to really take cover. Hubby worked for the electric company and was often on call in severe weather, so I would go hide out at Area Control. That was actually fun.
But now we’re back up here in NE KS, and we’ve had some very close calls. One memorable one was May 4, 2003. Hubby was standing in front yard and saw a tornado pass about a mile north of the house. My best friend was throwing me a baby shower at church, and we went running for shelter when the sirens went off. (Imagine being 2 wks from delivery and trying to RUN across a parking lot! Ha, not a bit of grace in it!). But we did manage to get some pics of the twister, and have nicknamed little boy “Tornado” which applies in more way than one!
Last year was another big year for tornados around here. Dear Hubby was back East and we were at a softball game about 25 minutes from home. We could see the bad weather approaching, and the games finally got called for weather. (Being the amatuer meteorologist I am (ha ha), I had parked near the entrance and backed into the parking spot – easy exit.) We made it home in time to check the TV and the Net, and when I pulled up the National Weather Service site and checked the Storm Relative Velocity, the bright reds & greens were right over us! We flew to the basement and huddled under blankets and pillows. Kids were great and followed directions; we’d talked about and planned for this, but it is different when you are living it. I didn’t go look at the window, but it turned absolutely black outside. Luckily, it was a small tornado that did some damage in town (SW of us) then jumped up and landed NE of us. Dear Hubby saw the news report back East and worried when he couldn’t reach us.
Then we had another tornado in the area at another time when Hubby was traveling. It wasn’t as close and scary, but the kids were really great that time and knew exactly what to do. Now I think the kids keep an eye on the weather and know to take warnings seriously.
And now we’re into another severe weather season. Hopefully it will be mild, but you never know. We have two weather radios in the house, and I watch the 2 and 3 day forecasts on the NWS site. We’ve got emergency water, flashlights and other supplies, along with lots of blankets in the basement. I also have an external hard drive so I don’t have to worry about my compute. All in all, we’re ready – bring it on!
Until next time…