Let’s Talk About Tornadoes and This Sudden Abundance of Them

(And my irrational or possibly rational fear of them.)

I grew up in Texas from 2nd – 6th grade, before I moved to Wisconsin.  Texas is a wonderful place.  It has amazing food.  Amazing people.

Amazing weather.

It’s part of Tornado Alley.

And thus, there are Tornadoes.  (Is this right?  Spell check insists that it be spelled this way, but I’m not so sure.)  Frequently.  In an area with no basements.

In one particularly memorable event as a child, I was evacuated from a Chucky Cheese’s, to flee across a mall parking lot to the only building with a basement, all while a tornado was VISIBLE in the near distance.  Picture screaming children, terrified parents, and that nightmarish feeling of not being able to run fast enough.

It may have been a bit traumatic.

Ever since then, they’ve terrified me.  As an adult I have every possible alert on my phone, and the mere announcement of a watch is enough to send me nervously scurrying about grabbing my most important possessions (you know, the safe, my stuffed otter, my dog) and huddling in the living room while I wait for any news.

In fact, the first week of college, the sirens went off.  It’s a thing there that they test the first Wednesday of the month at noon.  I was at lunch with my dorm mates, and I did not pass go or collect $200.  Off to the basement I went, much to their confusion.  There was a great deal of ribbing when they figured out what had happened.  Ha ha.  Yes.  Very funny.

I’m just a wee bit over-reactive.

A few weeks ago, I left work on a stormy afternoon, arrived home, and had not been there even five minutes when the alerts and weather radio started going off.  Into the basement I went, husband and dog in tow, and I insisted on waiting there until the approved ‘safe’ time.

I came back upstairs, settled down to my Facebook to discover… my coworker had filmed one going by about 1 1/2 hour after I left.  While standing in the front door of my work.

I was horrified.  Absolutely horrified.  And of course  I immediately shared the film with all of my friends, not thinking to check if it was friends locked.  It was.  He dropped by and posted it himself on my post though so they could see it.

Sorry, coworker, I should have asked first!

So that was fine.

And then, last night, we were having a peaceful evening listening to the heat lightning and watching the storm (no rain), and my HUSBAND’S alerts went off.  You know, the last minute ones?

I had left my phone on mute, alert after alert quietly vibrating as they came in unbeknownst to me.

His alert identified a spot less than 8 miles from us and was a ‘Drop Everything And Get To Shelter!!1!’ alert.

Into the basement we went.  I called my parents as they’re six miles or so east of us, in the direction the storm was moving, and got them in the basement.  Popped open the basement window to listen for sirens, set up my computer, and I camped weather websites and listened to NOAA while I shivered and strained my ears  to hear through the storm.

I was so scared.  It’s ridiculous how much these scare me.

The dog loved it.  I threw treats all over the basement for him to find.  Snuffle, snuffle, snuffle, snort, chomp, he went while he looked.  He was very enthusiastic about being in the basement. My husband, less so, but at least this time wasn’t giving me any grief.

The alert didn’t give a ‘safe return’ time, but after forty-five minutes I decided we were probably not going to die, came upstairs, and went to bed.  We were fine.

But, Wisconsin, if this is going to be a thing, we’re going to have to talk.  I left Tornado Alley for a reason!  Well, many reasons to be fair, but one of them was to AVOID TORNADOES.

You’re not holding up your end of the deal.

Does bad weather freak you out?  Are you a ‘seek shelter’ sort of person or are you inclined to stand in the doorway with your camera filming?  What even possesses someone to just stand there?!  Love to hear from you.