We were all really concerned Friday morning when we watched the Weather Channel and saw what had happened to Northwest Arkansas around 6:00 a.m. A long-path tornado had touched down not far from some very dear friends of ours. We called, and they were all okay, fortunately, but I’m sure you saw where three people in that area were killed by the storm. Our friend said she had gotten an automated phone call from the Springdale Emergency Management Services which woke them up and told them to take cover not long before the storm hit. She said she didn’t even know they had such a service, so it was a big surprise to get the call. Apparently, it’s a new thing there.
She told us how she and her two grown sons, plus a friend of theirs, plus two dogs, and a cat all hunkered down in her laundry room while they waited for the line of storms to pass. I’ve seen her laundry room, and I’m amazed they could all fit in there. It must have been an interesting experience. She said the cat howled the entire time. What fun!
All of this made me think back to the many, many times we’ve had tornadoes swirling around us in the past. A tornado flattened a huge shopping center very near our home. A student in our school system was killed by another one. One of our largest, newest high schools was severely damaged. Houses and businesses destroyed all around. Trees down. Power off. You name it.
I’ve actually inadvertently driven right under a funnel cloud while taking students home from an after-school activity. It was one of the most frightening experiences of my life. I could go on and on. Living in “tornado alley” is not conducive to great peace of mind, if you know what I mean. The TV weathermen were no good at soothing nerves either. Whenever a line of thunderstorms formed to our west, they started with the crawlers at the bottom of the screen, then escalated from there. If anything seemed remotely threatening, all regular programming was halted for non-stop weather reporting, just as if a big hurricane was right offshore here. I don’t miss that excitement at all.
Of course, I’ve never been through a hurricane here, and I hope we’ll never have another one, but I’ll trade that threat for the constant dread of a line of thunderstorms any day. The weather here seems gentler for the most part. Hot as heck in the summer though, but I guess you can’t have everything.
Oh, and if we actually are, in fact, prone to having destructive tornadoes here, don’t tell me about it. I want to remain in this bubble of blissful ignorance — for a little while anyway.