Gypsy's Travels

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Tornadic Turmoil

Well, tornadoes are the talk of the town after the wild weather we had last night. It is no wonder since the devastation of the small town of Jarrell, Texas, just shy of exactly 11 years ago. On 27 May 1997 a category 5 tornado ripped through the town leaving horror in its wake. I live in Georgetown, Texas, only about 20 miles away. Just as survivors of hurricanes on the coast pay their respects to a storm's fury by leaving town, so do savvy residents in the possible path of a tornado prepare for the worst.

My neighbor and I were at a concert of choirs when the director made an announcement near the end of the concert.
"A tornado warning has been announced. Do you want to leave now or hear 'The Hallelujah Chorus'?" he asked the audience that overflowed the building.
A vote ("Baptists vote on everything," he said with a smile) overwhelmingly opted for hearing Handel's music. Afterward, our hearts full of the night's musical offerings, we all departed in good humor, without undue haste, but with great purpose. It was dark, windy, and raining, but there was no tell-tell hail which might indicate a tornado in the immediate area.

At home, I implemented a simple plan of opening the door to the half bath in the hallway. This room has no windows, is protected by outside walls, and stays fairly well stocked with bottled water, a flashlight, and a blanket. I added a pillow and cell phone. This dry run reminded me that I need a battery operated radio so I can maintain my flow of information. Fortunately, I did not have to use it, but I was pleased with my readiness. A tornado does not give much warning before touchdown.

DD's said they were prepared as well. That was harder since they have small children to oversee and to avoid undue alarm. See DD Ko's preparation here. The community has sirens that sound in emergency situations. We hear them tested every Wednesday at noon. DD Ko said theirs went off several times, which tends to discount the veracity people assign to them. Ours did not go off, but I sleep soundly and I doubt I would have heard it. I stayed up until most of the danger was past, otherwise I would have nested in the half bath for safety.

Amazing to me was the apparently large number of complaints to the TV station which was tracking and broadcasting the storm information. Some viewers were upset over the interruption of a popular TV show. Although the station ran the show on a sister station, they announced it would be aired at 1 a.m. for anyone who missed it and wanted to access it. Obviously, some of the populace did not realize how serious the situation was.

This was not my first brush with a tornado. When I lived in Colorado, one swept by one night leaving our house intact, but taking the garage that stood a few feet away. I never stop to question the fury of the spiraling winds.


  1. I remember your telling us about the Powder Room sanctuary when we were there last. At least you didn't have to get into a Linen Closet, although it sounds as if the kids did OK there.

  2. Yup, I quite the light show last night. I'm just glad that there was no tornado.


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