Tuesday, June 9, 2009

The Calm After The Storm

I spent the first 29 years of my life living in central and southeastern Wisconsin, and in those 29 years I thought that I had seen a lot of thunderstorms and bad spring weather. Then I lived for a year and a half in Las Vegas, Nevada. I grew used to very dry weather in those 18 months. Two months ago, my husband and I moved back to the Midwest, this time to southern Illinois. A few hundred miles makes a world of difference in the weather.
There has been a lot of rain since we moved. It's spring, and this area gets a lot of spring rain. Yesterday didn't seem like it was going to be a rainy day. The day was mostly sunny, very warm and humid. A friend of mine from college was driving through the area on her way to Wisconsin for the summer and we decided to meet up for an early dinner. We had a lovely dinner and a long conversation, and when we finally got up to pay the bill and go, the weather had changed from sunny to dark. There was lightening and thunder, but it looked to me just like a small thunderstorm was moving through, nothing to worry about.
My husband and I sprinted out to the car and reached it just in time to avoid a huge downpour of rain. Then things got interesting. We were driving towards the highway when we saw a bunch of stuff swirling through the air. At first, we couldn't even figure out what it was we were seeing, but then I saw a small branch blow by, with all the leaves still attached. I still wasn't concerned, and for some reason, I thought a tree had just been struck by lightening and had exploded. Why that didn't concern me, I have no idea.
We saw other debris in the air, but they were small pieces and hard to identify. We drove home and it looked to me like we were driving out of the storm. When we were almost home, my husband mentioned that it might be a tornado in the sky, and turned on the radio. I was like, "There's no tornado, the weather doesn't seem that extreme." Uh, yeah, right. As soon as we found the emergency weather station, it announced a tornado WARNING for Shiloh, Illinois. A tornado warning means that a tornado has been spotted. And the restaurant we had just left? It is right next to Shiloh.
We arrived at home safely to see the neighbors on the lawn, staring at the sky. I wanted to stop and look at the storm clouds, but right then, a lightening bolt struck very nearby and I didn't feel the need to be outside any longer. We went inside and the power was out. We watched the storm blowing out in our backyard. Trees were blowing in the wind, and not just in one direction. I went and sat in our stairwell, while my husband kept looking out the window, until I made him come and sit with me. After the wind came the hail, and you could hear it hitting the windows. I kept praying that the windows wouldn't break.
Then all of a sudden, the storm died down. The hail and rain stopped, the wind calmed down, and the sun came out. I went outside and looked around. The house was fine, the car was undented, and the only indication of the storm was a bush in our front yard that was a little beat up, some wet ground, and the dark clouds that were moving away from us.
Right then and there, I gave up any ideas about the romance of being a storm chaser.
Instead, I went inside and read until the power came back on.
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Katidids said...

Nothing like a wet "welcome to the neighborhood!"

Graceful Moments said...

Live in Georgia...what you described is what we call normal spring and summer weather here! I spend a lot of time in the stairwell. LOL I have a routine when the STW (Severe Thunderstorm Warning) comes on the weather radio...very first thing I do is pray for protection of my family, our house and our friends, then I grab my backup drives for my computer, my flashdrive with my financial info, my purse and my camera and put them in a basket by the basement stairs. If it turns really bad with Tornado Warnings I take the basket and my two dogs to the basement. If it gets really, really bad, my husband joins us.
Be safe.