Tornado Warnings, Now And Then

It was just the other morning
When we heard the weather warning
And we tried to drag the pets downstairs, for shelter from the storm
I remembered, with a chortle,
I was young once, and immortal,
And defied the nearing twisters, playing Frisbee by the dorm
Ah, but real life can be frightening—
I’ve since lost someone to lightning—
So I run inside from thunder, though of course I know the odds
And I’m thankful to the science
Where it’s safe to put reliance
How much better than to fear we’re at the mercy of the gods


  1. Randomfactor says

    I thought they usually EXCLUDED the tantrums of the Hairy Thunderer.

    But Cuttlefish, I enjoyed the heck out of this one. Although I live where only earthquakes and wildfires can get me.

  2. Cuttlefish says

    Kindasorta, Treb. Aside from one minor lie, inspired by true events of today, 5 years ago, and 30 years ago.

    Like I said on Twitter, the weather does change, but I think I changed more.

  3. says

    When I was a kid, my biggest fear was a tornado coming at night and we wouldn’t hear the sirens. Now I’m grown up with nearly grown kids myself and I still open a window at night just a crack in the worst of storms to make sure I can hear the sirens if /when they go off. My own little ju ju. (shrug)

  4. Cuttlefish says

    what is your location, nankay?

    As a kid, tornados were serious but common; they missed my house, but touched down less than half a mile away. In college, I saw the skies turn yellow and purple, like bruised oatmeal, and ran outside to play frisbee in the gusts. Now, miles and years from there, I open the windows as you do, and listen for sirens or worse. I’d call it a far more reasonable Pascal’s Wager–will there be a tornado?, and will you put your important documents in a strongbox? The Bayesian analysis is far more appropriate this way, I think.

  5. Menyambal says

    Heh. My tornado siren is less than a block away, and not much taller than my house. When it goes off, it is painful to be outdoors. When the windows are open, I can feel the reinforcement-cancellation patterns as I walk through the house.

    I have never seen a tornado, despite decades in tornado territory. The closest one came, the sirens didn’t go off until it was on past. Now, with cable TV and internet, and a cellular tablet, I am very grateful for weather technology. Yay, Science!

  6. says

    Oy! We just had a teen die from getting swept into a storm drain while out playing Frisbee! (The teens appear to have been out just after a storm had passed through the area, but we had gotten over 4 inches in a 24-hour period. So, the lesson here is to remember that things aren’t necessarily safe as soon as the storm passes.)

  7. Trebuchet says

    Tornadoes are just one of the many reasons I’m happy to live in the Pacific Northwest!

  8. says

    I grew up in Iowa and still live here. When I was a kid in jr high (boy, does THAT date me) I was home alone when the sirens went off, I grabbed the dog , got downstairs and listened to the radio. They started talking about where the funnel was– basically stating it was over my house. I was strangely relaxed thinking, “Well, this is it I guess.” Nothing happened except a few trees and powerlines were downed, but what a strange recollection. When the weather turns now, I open the window, make sure the dog leashes and flashlights are near at hand .

  9. JPS says

    Some years ago — perhaps six or eight — we had some very heavy weather pass through the area. I’d just gotten on the internet and was watching the local NOAA National Weather Service radar. I had it set to automatically update and was zoomed in to my location.

    Every time it updated I noted that the latest image was about 8 or 10 minutes old. I first became angry: Can’t we get something more recent?

    Then I realized that my non-internet option was to try to catch something on TV, whenever they chose to show it. (And since I live south of the “metro area”, the weathercaster often stood right in front of my town on the radar image keyed in behind him.) Suddenly 8 or 10 minutes old wasn’t too bad!

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