Monday, July 19, 2010

Tornado Preparedness Gone High Tech

We had a huge thunderstorm on Saturday. Tornado warnings were out. One tornado had been spotted touching down fifteen miles north of us. Hail was expected. It was a test of our preparedness for inclement weather.

Over a year ago Hubby purchased an emergency, wind-up radio, with a special weather station. But it wasn't until a week ago that he figured out how to access the weather station. It has a computerized voice that sounds like it is hiccuping as it tells its grim news. It's now like a brand new toy.

So when the foul weather hit, out came the special radio. We had all the latest info like where the tornado touched down, how it was moving, what counties were in mortal danger, how long it would all last. Since our garage is being used by our kitchen contractor for his junk, our cars were in the driveway. Hubby moved them under our big elm tree to protect from hail damage. We figured if the tree fell, it would fall on our house, not the cars. We had the best spot on the block.

Then the lights went out. The whole neighborhood was dark. Even though it was only 8:00 p.m., we couldn't see much of anything. I went immediately to the candle drawer, found matches and lit a few candles. Then I went in search of flashlights. I used the candle to light my way to the flashlights which turned out was unnecessary. The super radio also had a built-in flashlight which Hubby failed to mention to me since he was so busy listening to the dire warnings of the hiccup voice. Only one flashlight had working batteries so my preparedness was clearly lacking on that point. In the end I managed to get batteries into two additional flashlights so each of us had our own. It was past midnight before the lights came back on, so they came in handy.

There's a certain excitement about dangerous weather that I enjoy. Obviously, I don't want anyone or anything to be hurt, but standing on the front porch watching the sky for suspicious shapes and seeing the trees sway in the wind is fun for me. As I stood there I was reminded of the tornado warnings of my youth.

I grew up in Kentucky where tornadoes were pretty common. When the warnings came out my mother and I would go to Mrs. K's house down the block. So did Mrs. K's daughter and kids who lived across the street. I don't remember any men at these events which tells me we only went during daytime when the men were at work. (This was the 50's before mom's went to work.) I think we went to Mrs. K's house because she was the only one on the block who could attest to seeing the devil on her garage roof. That made her pretty spiritually powerful in our neighborhood.

Someone would crack a window and then we would all say the rosary. I don't know if the rosary worked, but I do know that a tornado never touched down in our neighborhood. One did touch down just a few miles down the road though so who knows.

Weather radio and flashlights or open window and rosary. I suppose tornado protection has moved up the technology ladder.

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