As you know, I’m not from Texas originally. I’m originally from a small seaside town in Massachusetts. Tornadoes, earthquakes, and hurricanes were not things we had to worry about, pretty much ever. We did have the occasional hurricane threat, but by the time it would get that far up the coastline, it was not much of a storm and to me, hurricanes are not as scary, since there is SO much warning.
Now that I live outside of Dallas, TX – which is part of tornado alley – things are a little different when it comes to weather. In the spring, especially, if there is warning of severe weather it can range from just heavy rain, to extreme thunder and lighting, hail the size of a baseball (or bigger) and tornados.
This past week, has been an especially startling reminder of where I am now living. Last week there were a number of tornados that touched down outside of the Dallas/Fort Worth area. Full neighborhoods were leveled, including a whole habitat for humanity neighborhood in then Granbury area. Then over the weekened there were some tornados in Oklahoma, and today? Well today was a especially scary for people who live in the Oklahoma City area. A massive tornado, 1-2 miles wide, on the ground for over 30 minutes and going approximately 200MPH tore apart neighborhoods, businesses and sadly, schools. There are neighborhoods that you would never even know homes existed. The debris being dropped somewhere unknown, an elementry school destroyed while school was in session, and a devistated town of Moore, OK.
When the storms are that bad, there just isn’t that much you can do. You can get in your safe spot, but if your whole house is swept away, you’re unfortuantly, out of luck!
When I moved here and started experiencing all this, I had NO idea what to do! For those of you who have never experienced a tornado in the area, this is what we do:
Get in your safe spot — the most interior room or area in your house, usually a bathroom with no windows, closet, under the stairs or in the bathtub. Many will get in a bathtub and put a mattress over them – to protect them from flying debris. In my house, we get into the 1/2 bathroom or master bathroom closet. We pile everyone in there and turn the weather/news on to follow the weather tracking.
Listen for the sirens. Every town here has the equivalent to air raid sirens, and when there is bad weather in the area, they will sound to make everyone aware. They have testing days, usually the beginning of the month, on a clear day – but trust me, you forget about that and freak out for a few moments at first!!
Other than that? You just have to wait it out. I hope I never have to “live through” a tornado — hopefully we will escape any tornados that come to our area, but while we still love here, it will always be a stressful situation when they arise!
But tonght, as I finish this post, my thoughts go out to those n Oklahoma. I can only imagine what they are all going through, especially the parents of those sweet, innocent children killed while at school. I don’t want to see more headlines like this anytime soon: