Archive for May, 2011

Note: I had this ready to post before all the bad weather news of the last few weeks. So I feel like I have to say, I know exactly how lucky I am to be safe and dry this spring and able to whine about missing t.v. shows.

I still have two brand new flashlights hidden in my office because of the ice storm warning we had in January or was it December? I kept hearing it over and over on T.V. and I knew I should pretty much ignore the warning and continue with my life, but in the end I gave in and bought flashlights, emergency candles and, for some reason, bread and milk. But I was embarrassed by my gullibility, so I hid the flash lights and candles and put the bread in the freezer. Eventually we threw out the milk. With no kids at home, we use very little milk these days.
Is it just me, or have television weathermen become a little bit hysterical lately? It might be a regional thing, or maybe it’s just the “chief meteorologist” at the station we tend to watch, but we’re getting more and more warnings of more and more weather disasters these days, but I don’t see where the weather has changed much.
This week it’s the tornadoes. I totally understand the devastation caused by tornadoes and I do like knowing when it’s possible for one to come my way, but really, tornadoes are not that common here by Beaver Lake and I’m get a little sick of preparing my safe spot. I don’t understand why I can’t just watch “Gray’s Anatomy” in peace.
I didn’t understand tornadoes when we first moved south. There were many things I didn’t understand when we first moved south, including some of the language, but that’s another whole story. I grew up hearing stories about hurricanes and every now and then we would have a hurricane watch. Hurricanes don’t move that fast and we could watch them coming up the coast and have plenty of time to prepare. Although there was a time or two when people actually reached the taping of the windows phase, in my 20 plus years on the New England coast there were no actual hurricanes. I probably shouldn’t admit this, but I was always a little disappointed when the watches were canceled and all we got was a lot of rain.
So we moved to central Kentucky, into a little house that had kind of grown up around a travel trailer, in a little neighborhood where we didn’t know a soul and I started hearing about tornadoes. At first every time there was a tornado watch, I took the dog and went to our safe spot which happened to be a walk in closet. Even I knew that the little house/trailer really had no safe spots if an actual tornado came through, so I used to cover us up with the foam camping mattress and read a book by the light of the big flash light until I thought the watch had lifted. One afternoon I was hiding out in there when there was a knock on my door and I crawled out to find the neighbors kids selling school band candy.
“Don’t you know about the tornado watch?” I asked. They just looked at me blankly, obviously wondering what I had been doing in the closet in the middle of the day. Later I learned the difference between a watch and a warning.
The first time we ever had an actual warning the time when the tornado touched down less than a mile away and destroyed the drive-in theater and all the neighbors rushed to the one house on the street with a basement and rode out the storm there, I was on the telephone. I was talking long distance, completely oblivious to the tornado warning.
Since then, It seems like the difference between a watch and a warning has blurred. Lately, we have a lot more warnings then we have tornadoes and I think that’s a problem. These days our safe spot is much more comfortable. Our basement family room has a big television and a couch, but I still don’t go down for every warning and never for a watch. It’s just not worth it.
Yet, for no reason I can think of, I still get sucked in by the weatherman’s hysteria. I got up and checked my hidden flashlights when they preempted “Gray’s Anatomy” last week and even after I switched to the Joplin channel to avoid the non-stop emergency weather information, I found myself switching back to check every few minutes. Was I even a little bit disappointed when the “softball size hail” never materialized?
Now I’ve lived more of my life in the tornado zone than the hurricane zone and I have never, ever seen a softball size hail stone. I’ve never even seen golf ball size hail. The other night we had about one minute of mothball size hail. It’s not that I want my cute little red car damaged; it’s just that I suspect there’s been some hail inflation by our chief meteorologist lately. How come the big hail is always in the area, but never close enough for me to take one of those pictures of a hail stone and a baseball?
O.K., I understand. I don’t want softball size hail or tornadoes. I don’t devastation or even danger. But I’m getting a little tired of watching weather coverage instead of “Gray’s Anatomy” and I don’t want to have to inventory my emergency supplies every few days. Next time, could we please wait for something to happen before we all get hysterical?

Although we didn't have any dangerous weather, we definitely got our share of rain!

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