Last night around 10 our weather alarm warbled and said “Tornado Warning”. The sky had looked a little iffy earlier in the evening- piled-up cumulus and cumulonimbus clouds all around us glowing fuschia pink with dark gray bases. The air had a stagnant odor, a miasma if you will. While I was getting ready for bed a storm blew up out of nowhere with tornado in tow, heading east from Norman and on a course more or less straight for my house. I grabbed the cat, cell phone and flashlight and ran to the storm shelter (we have one in the garage floor) and climbed in. And waited. And then called my good friend and fellow blogger, TR from From The Faraway, Nearby.
Ah, spring in Oklahoma. There are different levels of alert from the weather radio. Ours is hooked up to the National Weather Service. A Severe Storm Watch means that conditions are favorable, but nothing’s happening. A Warning means it’s in progress. Likewise for the diff between a Tornado Watch and a Warning: you can go ahead and barbecue during the former and take cover during the latter. So the robot voice on the radio said, “Tornado warning for east Norman, Lake Thunderbird, Little Axe and Pink (yes, that’s the town just east of me. It even has a Pink Baptist Church), take shelter now.” That was me. Down the rabbit hole I went, struggling cat in arms.
I don’t usually call people up at that late hour, but Tim was unfazed. He lives in OKC to the north of here and was enjoying a clear, peaceful night. The storm was a solo act which mushroomed up out of nowhere, practically hovering over Norman and the east side for about an hour before moving south and east. Tim switched on the TV weather, turned up the sound, and through my phone, from my in-floor metal box, I listened to reports from the weathercasters and stormchasers. And good buddy TR added blow-by-blow accounts, running commentary, words of encouragement and even a few funny asides. Up above, the storm pounded and shook the house. I heard hail hitting the roof. From out in the kitchen the weather radio warbled non-stop. For close to an hour, until the storms moved on, he was my very own Severe Storm Information Center.