Tuesday, April 03, 2007
It didn't look or smell right when I left work this evening.
The sky was gray and it just had that subtle, electric, flat, airless haze to it. You just know the feeling.
Here's a tick tock:
8:15-ish p.m. -- TV moved to a weather report during a commercial. I thought, isn't that funny? They never interrupt advertising.
I looked for the flashlight and candles. Got my dog, cat, purse, notebook, pen, laptop, camera, land and cell phones and passport. Just to be ready in case.
It's amazing the things you think you'll need when you feel your house is about to be blown to bits with you in it...
8:25-ish -- The weather guy says Doppler radar detected a developing tornado moving south at 15 mph TOWARD MY HOUSE.
I called my friend Monique, who lives two blocks away and has a little girl. "Take cover," we both said to each other shortly after she answered the phone. I then got up from the couch, ran to my bedroom and started throwing things out of the closet by my bed. It's in the middle of the house.
I got the animals and threw them and those things I knew I'd need into the closet.
8:30-ish -- I left the TV on so I could hear the weather guy. He said expect egg -, golf-ball and baseball-size hail in some areas, an inch or two of rain per hour. Winds could be upward of 60 mph.
It started hailing. I opened the back door to see the hail. It was like jumbo marbles.
The weather guy started tracking when this system would hit certain cities. It would reach mine within 10 minutes.
The TV screen went red with the Emergency Alert System logo in the middle. That screechy alert sound went off, but this time without the "this is a test" part at the beginning.
"Tornado on the ground in the southeastern part of the county."
"The National Weather Service urges people living in MY CITY to take cover now..."
I dove into the closet with my dog, cat and those things I knew I'd need.
I could hear the rain fall steadily, the hail bounce off my roof and backyard deck. Thank goodness I parked in the garage.
8:35-ish -- It got really hot in that closet, but it was that kind of hot, the eeery, clammy heat. We stayed put, no matter what.
In the middle of the rain and hail, I heard this low hum.
Kneeling on the ground, between the dog and cat, an arm around each, I'm not sure when it happened, but I started reciting the Rosary. For the next 20 minutes.
Then it got quiet. That could be good, but also bad.
8:55-ish -- The weather guy comes back on the TV and I hear, "Warning is canceled, the storm has broken up."
He said it's over.
I emerged from the closet, shaken, but grateful. I made sure everyone was OK and poured a glass of wine.
I thought about what weather guy said. No, it's just the beginning, dude.
Welcome, Texas spring. Let's give it up for tornado season.
(photos from: http://www.met.tamu.edu/ and http://prairiepictures.com)