Monday, April 03, 2006

Scary Night

There are few things more powerful or awesome than a strong thunderstorm. Whipping winds, driving rain and incessant lightning followed by a deep thunderous growl leave many feeling small and impotent. Some people are frightened by such storms. I love them.

I attribute my adoration to my childhood home. We had a westward facing front porch that welcomed the weather. Spanning toward the western horizon were a large yard and fields, with very little to obstruct the view of approaching storms. I would love to sneak out onto the porch to watch the lightning streak through the sky and count off the seconds until the thunder finally followed. I relished the variations of rain that would fall: the large scattered drops, the piercing cold downpour and then finally the reassuring sprinkles. I enjoyed everything a large thunderstorm brought, except the possibility of tornadoes.

The very thought of a twister sends my blood pressure skyward. I don't know if I watched The Wizard of Oz one too many times or took the 10:10 am drills on March 10 just a bit too seriously during elementary school. I have always had a horrific fascination with the swirling death column. As a child, I remember gathering all of my important toys and sitting on the steps to the basement whenever the news announced a tornado watch. We had very few warnings in our county and never had a tornado touchdown near our farm. I guess much of my fear may be due to lack of experience and knowledge. Whatever caused the aversion did a great job because I am still frightened by the possibility of a tornado.

We had some very powerful storms surge through our area last night. Our TV service was down, so I opted to watch Mother Nature's programming. I was observing the lightning from a second story window when I heard what I had dreaded all of my life: the tornado siren. It was the first time I had heard our siren outside the standard test each Wednesday at noon. I froze. My heart began to pound and migrate north to my tonsils. I was home alone with Aveline and Elvis. I needed to get my family to safety. Adrenaline took over and I quickly gathered a few things I would need: a pillow, flashlight, my cell phone and a radio. I scooped Aveline up from her crib and rushed down the staircase. In the kitchen I grabbed a bottle from the fridge and coaxed Elvis to follow me to the basement. I made a little bed beneath the stairs and placed Aveline on the pillow with her bottle. At this point she was just waking up and grew very excited to see me. I turned on the radio and listened. Outside the sirens continued to blare. The radio offered no news about the weather. I called my sister in Wisconsin to check the internet for me. She assured me that no tornado warnings were called in my area. I chatted with her for awhile. The sirens still blared for another twenty minutes. When they finished, I decided it was safe to emerge and go to bed. Aveline went to sleep easily in her crib, but I stayed awake for a few more hours. I had experienced too much excitement to sleep.


Christina said...

Eek! What a scary experience!

See, I've never liked storms. I was home alone as a 12 year old when we had a bad storm that produced a small tornado or a microburst of wind (they were never sure).

We were driving through the mountains of West Virginia last night during the storms. They weren't as bad as what you experienced, though.

Rae Ann said...

I'm glad you were safe. We had bad weather too and a tornado warning about 30 miles from here. My 5 year old was terrified. I told him it would be just fine as long as we went to the basement. But we ended up just getting a strong thunderstorm. Tornadoes appear in my dreams a lot. I'm not sure why.

Josh said...

You are very smart to take it seriously. Many people dont.