How to Effectively Manage a Tornado Warning

Okay, so we had our first “what the hell is that noise?” experience at 12:30 am last night. That noise, come to find out, is a siren that sits about four miles from our house (two miles if you count by fields) and comes on to warn everyone about tornadoes. Which means I probably should not have been so royally pissed off that it woke me. But I was.

We had a severe thunderstorm warning last night which started with the little picture in the bottom on the TV around 9 pm indicating all the Ohio counties that were in a tornado watch.

“It would be helpful” I thought “if I knew which county was mine in that picture.”

Because I don’t. I had this same problem when we lived in Kentucky and luckily we moved before I really had to figure it out. Las Vegas was easier since we were the only county (Clark) in the bottom of a barren state. Not to mention the 362 days of weather that essential remained the same day after day. But being relatively new to Ohio, I really had to learn how to decipher that picture.

Even after I saw the impeding line of squalls during a break between shows and constant reminders about the possibility of high winds, tornadoes and hail, the only thing I did to prepare was shut the pet door so Boca, our cat, couldn’t go outside. Priorities, right? Besides, he had brought in a critter the day before and we still had not found it so Boca was given clear instructions that he was not to bring another animal in the house until the current one was found.

A little after midnight, I went to bed. And immediately fell asleep. My husband is the big weather person and I knew that he would wake up if needed. Besides, the NOAH radio was on his side of the bed.

But once we were both up after the siren (my 17-year-old slept through the entire thing, of course) and turned on the TV, it did look pretty bad. We had just bought a new gas grill, which was sitting outside. And all the little trees my husband had just potted and the brand new cushions for the patio furniture…well, we decided to be smart and move everything into the garage. So there we were, at 1:30 in the morning, outside in our pajamas and slippers.

We barely made it before the rain came bashing down. And the wind was pretty bad – bad enough for Michael to add a second ladder and two by four up against the already swaying in the wind about to fall over fence around the swimming pool. But once done, back to bed I headed. NOAH instructed everyone to find shelter in the lowest part of the house. I took off my slippers and sweats and crawled back into bed. Michael mentioned I might want to keep my clothes on “just in case.” But I didn’t bother. After all, I made it through Florida hurricanes by sleeping through them and I sure wasn’t about to change my ways for a tornado warning. Besides, that’s my husband’s job.

And the critter? The next morning there was a headless field mouse lying in the foyer. So we knew how Boca entertained himself all night.

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