Tuesday, May 6, 2008


2008 is turning out to be a record year for tornadoes in Arkansas. Eight people were killed in an outbreak last week in the center of the state (where I happen to live). There was another major outbreak on February 5. And May and June are the biggest tornado months of the year.

At some point in my Chattanooga upbringing, I was told that we were safe from tornadoes because the city is ringed with mountains and ridges. The tornadoes, I was assured, were prevented from coming into the city because of these natural barriers.

I don't know if it was true, but I felt immune from tornadoes throughout my childhood. Moving to Arkansas meant leaving the safety zone for the open plains. And now I spend any stormy night with one ear cocked for the tornado siren. We're just entering the peak of the severe weather season, and they're telling us it's a "fifty year event." If we survive this one, can we relax for the next forty-nine?


Doc Thelma said...

Didn't a tornado touch down within the city limits of Choo-choo-ville a few years ago?

In any case, 7 years in Berkeley wondering if the Big Quake was going to hit (and getting a taste of it in Loma Prieta in 1989) stopped me from worrying about storms too much. They at least give you some warning.

the secret knitter said...

The fear of tornadoes was strong in my childhood. (A big one hit nearby years earlier.) If you remember, I got a reminder of that when tornadoes were in your area when I was down there a few years ago.

Maureen said...

Well, I used to think we were immune to tornadoes because of the "heat island" the city created around us. But since the tornado hit downtown in March, I guess that isn't really true. I no longer think anyone is immune. But I'm glad you're ok after this round of storms.

Adam Villani said...

Gotta tell you, I've never been within 1000 miles of a serious tornado, and those things would scare the crap out of me if they were anywhere near.

Adam Villani said...

I should also point out that Arkansas is very close to New Madrid, Missouri, where some of the biggest earthquakes in the country's history have been recorded.