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?