As someone that has lived all of her life on the coast, I have always been free to enjoy the electric thrill of a heavy thunderstorm with no real concern for my safety.  Watch the storm come in from inside the house, and it’s perfectly safe to sit back and enjoy. It was a bit of a comeuppance, then, about a month and a half ago when a perfectly good thunderstorm was interrupted by my neighbor knocking to say we were under a tornado warning. We gawked a bit at the thought, and began to gather ourselves together to head to the basement just as the sirens went off.

Over the next few days, I talked to several people about the possibility of tornadoes here, and they all assured me that they were extremely uncommon and that we get about one warning a summer in this area.


Last Wednesday, I was out doing some errands and decided I really, really didn’t like the look of that sky. The wind was blowing like crazy, and it was hot, humid, sticky air. I came home quickly, and sure enough, we were under a warning again. One of the guys in my lab was over at the Minnesota border for a camping trip that night, and he said that there was a touchdown within 15 miles of their campsite. (Fortunately, there was also an old military barracks from the cold war, which has to be the safest possible place to be in a storm.)

Around 3:30 today, another warning was issued for the northern part of our county (we’re in the mid-to-southern side). The radar showed the storm quite a bit north of us, and there was no sign of it here, so I took the bus home as usual, and got back just as the big, heavy drops began to fall. So far, there have been two touchdowns tonight. One was about 15 miles north of here, and the other was 60 miles due west. Another high risk area was heading our way from the West at about 30 mph a few minutes ago.

Thankfully, the cats and I are safely stowed in the basement (much to their chagrin…they hate carriers, and especially hate being rudely thrust therein in a hurry to leave the house).

Thankfully, I have knitting and a computer to keep me busy while we wait it out, but living in the midwest definitely puts a whole different perspective on a summer thunderstorm.

***As I finished up the last paragraph, I got the email saying that the storm has moved past us, and we’ve been downgraded to a tornado watch. They’re not promising that it’s over, but the worst is past. I, for one, am very glad to see this storm go.