Sometime last week…we hit the calendar’s first day of spring. And last night, in North Carolina, we hit the real first day of spring. Here, spring arrives via pansies, crocuses, daffodils and imminent danger, in the form of tornadoes.
Yesterday was the first one of ‘those’ days when the air seems kind of chilly and then suddenly seems to heat up a bit – not hot or anything, just noticeably warmer. And no sooner than the temperature changes, the clouds start taking on strange (and pretty) patterns. Yep – storm brewing…
I doubt I paid much attention to tornadoes when I lived in Pennsylvania. And I probably didn’t pay too much attention to them when I first moved here – until I realized they were not only real, they were kind of, um, bad.
It didn’t take me long to buy the standard necessities: A weather radio, a battery powered radio, a flashlight and a gallon of bottled wather. I bought these a few years ago (weather radio was courtesy of my parents) – but last year was the first year I’d ever collected them all together and brought them into the downstairs bathroom with me to hide.
That day, the clouds above my neighborhood were clearly working into a rotation ~ and eventually swept down about a mile and a half from my house. Fortunately, my bathroom entrapment was short lived. Ironically, I was reading Anne Frank at the time – and as I sat perched on the closed toiled seat with my gear and pets at my feet, I developed a whole new admiration for her.
Last night…things were looking grim once again. I’m pretty used to the Tornado Watches – they pop up all the time. The biggest problem with these is that I have to work through the alert slowly…”Okay, a Watch…that’s more than a Warning? No….less. Wait, that doesn’t make sense, if they are saying ‘watch,’ doesn’t that mean I could SEE a tornado?”
So yeah, a Watch is first, then a Warning. Last night, the Watches started flipping to Warnings and tornado sightings – just when I wanted to go to bed. And the quandries began.
First, what do you wear to bed to be ready for a possible tornado? I mean, I want to be comfortable (Tshirt only) and safe (plus bike helmet, elbow and knee pads), but also look cute in case a fireman has to rescue me (brush hair into chignon, apply make up) and still be able to run from the threat of danger (sneakers).
Second, what to do about the weather radio? My dream is to find a weather radio that only alarms if I, personally, am in danger. Instead, what I have alarms for the entire county and for both watches and warnings. There is no in between.
So I have this dilemma of leaving it on, knowing that I will be woken up regulary for repeats of the latest watch – but safer in the event of an actual warning. Or turn the volume to mute and rely on the tiny dots (orange for watch, red for warning) that I could peek at throughout the night. I went for option two. Clearly not the safest, and yet, aren’t I more refreshed today?