My least favorite season of the year has come. It has me packing us a survival kit, and hunkered down in front of the storm radio when the winds get fierce.
Our friend the weatherman says it is his favorite season. I'm sure it isn't one of my husband's favorite seasons because in the middle of the night when I hear a strong wind I ask, "Do you think we are in danger of having a tornado?" My husband will reassure me we are safe (even though he'd rather be sleeping). And then I check the National Weather website to look at the radar. I suppose it doesn't really help that our weatherman friend told us we live in tornado alley which is an absolute wonderful place to spot tornadoes!
When I met my husband he lived in a two story house with no basement and no tornado shelter. His
slightly paranoid wife made him build a storm shelter. She insisted that no, she wasn't going to run to the ditch and jump in the culvert pipe. After all, what creepy, crawly things might be living there? He may have rolled his eyes, but he listened. Bless that man. He built me a storm shelter. The funny thing is that he designed the storm shelter using a very large culvert pipe.
Now that shelter, it has gotten very little use. We have an air mattress down there, several LED lamps, candles, and a tub of blankets. The last time we used it was perhaps one of the times we didn't really realize we needed to use it. I was five days from my due date with our son, and that night was supposed to be one of the worst nights in Kansas history of tornado touchdowns which are nothing like football touchdowns. Our weather radio went off. Then it went off again. My husband was on the phone. Enter very large with child pregnant woman who is hoping not to give birth in the storm shelter. "Honey, we need to get in the storm shelter." Five minutes later. "Sweetheart, I'm going to the storm shelter, please come with me I can't move very fast and I need to get down those stairs." We go together, armed with books, headlamps, and blankets. The shelter itself has a musty book-like smell that encourages book reading. Enter good conversations and books=about 3 hours spent in said storm shelter. I do remember the going joke that some dark and stormy night my baby boy would be making his appearance. (Thankfully, it was not that night.)
We leave to realize the electricity is knocked out. Hubby had turned on the back porch light, and it was no longer on. The house was standing. Inside are several messages on the machine. One from the wife of our friend the weatherman telling us to get in our shelter if we haven't already. Two from family calling to ask if we were okay. We waited about 30 minutes before cranking the generator (Old Green), and contacting people. I guess we'd hoped our electricity would come back on. After a little research and time we found out that we had been sandwiched between TWO tornadoes. One passed 1/2 mile to the east, and the other passed 1 1/2 miles to the west. The next morning we found out one of them totaled our neighbor's house and farm. (I wrote about it here.)
That said, I'm glad we have a shelter. I'm praying this year the storms will come and water our gardens, but be gentle on us. The rain falls on the just and unjust, and storms don't respect one person's land, crops, home over another. But there is a shelter that holds one safe in the storm. We are thankful for what we have but know we are just stewards of it. Tornado season reminds me once again of what really matters.
Do you have severe weather in your part of the country? What do you do when it comes? How do you prepare?