Wednesday, February 11, 2009
Life In Tornado Alley
Nothing quite gets your intention in Oklahoma like the following words. "There is a tornado heading right for us". But that is what I heard at about 2:30 yesterday afternoon.
I had stopped in a local watering hole on the west side of Oklahoma City after dropping off some work to a customer. I was was talking to the waitress when her cellphone went off with a text message alerting us to the weather.
I had seen some dark clouds out to the west when I stopped in but thought nothing of it.....heck, we have at least 2 months before the official start of storm season. But storm season decided to start early this year. Hard to believe that just 2 weeks ago we had an ice storm that had us unable to get out of our neighborhood for two days.
As the bartender tried to figure out how to turn the TV to news, I called Tracy to see if she knew anything. You would think that someone who has an office right next door to the top storm weather experts in the world would have the inside scoop....but she had been on a conference call and knew nothing about it. She pulled up the information about the time the TV came on showing the radar. There was a wall cloud about 2 or 3 miles west of us and moving northeast
Here is when you know you have lived in tornado alley far to long: I was looking at a TV screen showing a possible tornado nearby as tornado sirens were going off.....but relaxed knowing it would miss us by at least a couple miles.
I know 2 miles does not sound like much, but we have the best weather people in the country, and I knew that I was safe where I was. I also knew it was nowhere near our home 20 miles southeast of there, so had no worries for Tracy or Whitney. I did decide to leave about 15 minutes later before the next round was set to hit. As I left the tornado sirens began going off again as another one formed in that same spot a few miles away.
After getting home, there were reports that the first tornado had touched down about 4 miles north of me and then again a little while later. Both were areas I had just been in while making deliveries and there was quite a bit of damage. Needless to say, I was glad my favorite watering hole was not up there.
The funny thing is, you would think that dodging two tornadoes would be enough danger for one day.....but it wasn't. On the drive home I had a car run a stop sign right in front of me while driving 45 miles an hour, and I had to swerve into the grass to avoid being hit. Luckily, there was no damage to either of us. Would be just my luck to avoid tornadoes just to get done in by a bad driver 5 miles away.