Wednesday, May 25, 2011

What's beyond severe?

Another day, another outbreak of tornadoes all over the general region where we live.  Last night they tracked to our northwest; today the reports pinpointed their development right in our general vicinity.  As the high-risk forecast extended over a larger area throughout the morning, I asked Noel to bring the kids to my office after picking them up from school so we could wait out the threat in a safer structure.

He arrived right after the first storm of the day formed just to our southeast and came through in a hurry.  Bearing some bags of food (in case we needed to stay past dinnertime, Noel put together a version of our soup-and-wraps supper that could be made in the office kitchen) and everything Noel needed to keep working for the next few hours, the family made its way back upstairs to watch the radar and wait.  Moments earlier the first tornado warning of the day had been issued for a storm that was tracking ten or fifteen miles south of us.  Turns out we were almost exactly on the line of storm genesis, which was moving east along with the storms it was spawning.

It didn't take long before the whole burgeoning complex was erupting to our east.  Soon the map filled with thunderstorm and tornado warning polygons stretching along I-30 and up to the northeast.  But we were in the clear.  The system had passed us by only moments before producing any severe weather.

We waited an extra 45 minutes just to be sure there wouldn't be any more storms firing in our area, then headed home with our food in tow to make dinner in our own kitchen.   From north to south, Missouri to Louisiana, the line of dangerous weather all the forecasts were warning about continues to march east.  This time we were lucky enough to be out of the zone where a safe place was necessary.  Others not so fortunate are, I hope, in a place where they can preserve life and limb.  This extraordinary tornado season should have alerted all of us that even though we can't steer a storm away from our property, we can be prepared to minimize our dangers.

Everyone in this region is ready for tornado time to be over.  The destruction has been horrific, unprecedented, dispiriting, and relentless.  Let's hope we don't see another year like this for another generation.

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