Thank heaven, in the 33 years Mary and I have lived here, we haven’t had to deal with any damage to our house due to severe weather. It’s a constant threat here, especially during the summer, but really any time of the year can be bad. We’ve seen more dangerous weather here than we ever saw in Chicago.
We’ll be watching TV in the evening, and suddenly a red stripe appears at the top of the screen and we’ll hear the duck calls of the Emergency Alert System, letting us know that there’s a severe thunderstorm or tornado on its way to make life interesting. Problem is, when they announce the counties, sometimes we can’t tell whether we should be concerned. I have a bunch of weather apps on my phone, including a couple of radar apps so I can tell where the storms are and roughly the direction they’re moving. If it looks like it could be bad, we move down to the garage and sit in the van until it passes over.
I generally don’t have much use for Twitter, which too often seems to be strangers yelling at strangers, but during severe weather I’ll watch it for what people are saying about the weather and what they’re seeing, if they include their location (most do, some don’t). Plus, it can be fun when you’re stuck down there.
Forewarned is forearmed, as the old expression goes, but unfortunately knowing bad weather is coming doesn’t mean you can do anything about it. You can protect yourself from the bad weather, but you can’t keep the bad weather from coming. Shortly after we moved here, we woke up in the middle of the night. The electricity was out and we could hear the wind blowing outside. After a couple of minutes, the wind died down and the red letters re-appeared on the alarm clock, so we rolled over and went back to sleep. Early the next morning, Mom called, wanting to know if we were all right, that she had heard there were severe thunderstorms and tornadoes in Marietta. We assured her that all was OK, they didn’t come close to us.
A couple of hours later, I was at work, and one of my former managers came up and said “I bet you’re happy you didn’t buy my house.” (When we had been working with our realtor, we stopped at a house that was pretty nice, then I discovered he owned it. We would have bought it if there hadn’t been so many stairs to deal with, thinking my father-in-law would have trouble with them.) When I asked him why, he told me that a tornado had come through and knocked it off its foundation and that it had been condemned. It was about a mile south of us. We never told Mom…