Posts Tagged ‘weather’

harvey1

Houston, Texas: August 2017

“Anyone who says they’re not afraid at the time of a hurricane is either a fool or a liar, or a little bit of both.” Anderson Cooper
I decided to blog about the experiences of the most recent of days. I know a few people have reached out to find out if I was okay and I am appreciative.

Texas is a giant mess right now. However locally it is not as severe as other places.

Harvey was brutal when it made land as a category 4 hurricane. By the time the true outer bands of the storms had reached my area it was only a Tropical Storm. And as of the time of this blog being written, it remains as one.

It began to rain late Friday night/early Saturday morning. And it has been ever since in this area. The storm either was not moving at all or not very fast which caused so much rain to fall in the area. The more east you go from where I am the worse it gets with rivers flooding and mandatory evacuations being put into place.
All day Saturday and much of today (Sunday) there was a lot of wind and rain. The only problem was that the wind never stopped. It never slowed down. And it gusted over 50 mph at times.
My biggest worry throughout this event was the possibility of losing power. And that being over the weekend when nobody is really around. My home phone is connected along with my Internet service provider. If the power went out, the home phone went out. And with nobody around because of the weekend, had their been something that came up that I needed to reach out and call for help, I would not have been able to do so at all. I had my cell phone stolen while in a crowd of people the weekend before. So essentially, if the power went out, I would have been totally lost and in the dark.
I am thankful that never happened. The power did flicker once Saturday evening, but it just “blinked” and that was all.
I had barely used the telephone at all and never really opened my front door through it all.
By the time this whole thing could end and be gone, my area could potentially receive any where between ten and fifteen inches of rain. So even though the storm threat is gone, we will have to deal with the threat of major flooding for quite some time.
We had what is called the Memorial Day Weekend floods happen in 2015. I am not sure if Harvey is going to end up being a worse event than that or not. At least for this area.
My heart is crushed though because of the Houston area. Knowing so many people in that area and now realizing the horrible weather conditions that they are suffering at the moment is a horrible feeling. And it gets even worse knowing that its not over for them as of yet. With that area projected to receive over 40 inches of rain!!! I suspect that this will be a worse storm than Alison that they went through so many years ago.
I am safe for the most part. But due to the damage that the area did suffer through, it will be a struggle to adapt to until this storm clears out and the city is able to clean everything up. Even though the worst parts of Harvey are seemingly done for me, its a battle to be able to get out and get things I may need.
But I am alive. Thank you to all of those who reached out. My struggle alive and well, but it isn’t as bad as it is for the people in the Houston area. My thoughts are with them.

FloodedBartonCreek_0

Hey there. Just a quick message out there to all of you readers.

The past couple of weeks have been quite tumultuous as far as weather has been concerned.

In my area, we’ve received more rain thus far in 2015 than Seattle or Portland has.

The drought here is practically erased. And that’s a good thing. But the flooding is continuing in other parts of the state.

On the 23rd of May, I had spent an absorbent amount of time hiding out in my bathroom as four different TORNADO WARNINGS was broadcast for my area. Each time a different storm came through, it was more intense and more powerful and dropping insane amounts of rain!

I expected with each storm that passed that the electricity would go out. But thankfully, that did not happen. What did happen was the horrible sights that everyone by now in the nation has seen on television….. the flooding.

Today I think that we’re starting a drier spell but still have about a 20% chance of rain. The rest of the week will see rain chances going higher than that. We may not be out of the woods with this yet. People are comparing it to the Memorial Day weekend floods of 1981. But we’ll see how it turns out.

So far now in 2015, there have been four confirmed that have lost their lives.

On the other hand, I happen to be situated on a hill. Flooding is always possible, but the rains will always rush downhill. So far, I have been fortunate not to have any specific damage. Although I cannot say the same for the others around here. It has been a terrible mess. Yet when you are dealing with the threat of tornadoes… that is very, very real. And cannot be handled lightly.

Of which I never do.

But for those of you who have been worried about it, I’m okay. I don’t have any property damage that I am aware of. And the rain, although wonderful for the drought that we’ve been through in the past four years or so, is beginning to turn into a drag.

Thank you for your concern and well wishes.

Soon, Dambreaker will be back and in top shape!!!

For those of you who wish to help with the horribly affected areas, which include MORE than 26 counties can visit the Red Cross website.

http://www.redcross.org/

 

blacklock12

On this day in 1979, was named “Terrible Tuesday” for the tornado outbreak that took just about as many lives as there were reported and confirmed tornadoes across the United States. Its also known by the Red River Outbreak of 1979.

This outbreak is noted for the tornado that struck the area of Wichita Falls, Texas at 6:00 PM and caused over 40 deaths and was 2 miles wide.

And it would appear that scientific history repeats itself as every 4-6 years there seems to be a massive outbreak of tornadoes across the United States. The last one either being in 2009, or if you want to count the amount of tornadoes in April-May of 2011.

There were tornadoes along the Texas and Oklahoma borders as well as a half of dozen other states. The tornado was filmed and used for many documentaries.

The Wichita Falls tornado stands firm at #5 in the most costliest in storm damage.

lafonbirthday

“Things can always be worse.” ~ Mrs. Froth

I suppose that I could have titled this post “It Was All A Dream” but the truth of the matter is that it was not a dream. It just really feels like it. Things just happened so quickly!!

It was time again to go to Houston to see SIX MINUTE CENTURY do their thing on stage. Since January is my birthday month, I wanted to be there.

But this trip was a little different than most that I have taken in the past. In fact, I wasn’t even in the city limits of Houston for a full 24 hours.

I was there for only one night, rather than two.

Thanks to Dr. Froth’s keen eyes, he noticed a La Quinta Inn that was so close to the place where I would be dropped off by the bus when I was there last November. There was a restaurant, a gas station/convenience store, and lodgings. Everything I could ever need right there in the same place.

So this trip was also an experiment in keeping costs down.

Also, I was given help by my sister back in late November when she noticed a promo code to punch in to megabus.com that would make my bus trip FREE.

However, it didn’t work out as well. The entire round trip fare was $14. But so much lower than what I have actually paid in the past. You just have to read the small print when it tells you that there are terms and conditions to these kinds of promotions.

My $14 shortfall came because I waited before I made my reservation. Lessons learned.

Another lesson that I’ve learned is that when I am on the bus, I’ve got to find something to keep me occupied. Otherwise I’ll just lose it and go crazy. Two and a half hours or so is better than the three hours I was travelling, but still I need to do something to occupy my space and time.

There was some “eye candy” that boarded. I suppose one could say that I was fortunate she didn’t go to the upper deck to sit. But I struggled for about an hour to decide two things:

#1- Is she married?

#2- Is she really that cute?

The answer to #1 would’ve definitely played a factor into the answer of #2. I could never figure out either question. US290

When we reached Brenham, Texas which is usually the “halfway point” of the journey, our beloved bus driver got completely nervous at the highway signs and ended up going into the small town, rather than staying on the highway and moving along the outskirts of the town.

So we got turned around and drove around in Brenham for about 15-20 minutes before “Little Miss Eye Candy” got up and conferred with the bus driver.

The driver got scared and ran off of course because of the signs that said that she was on US-290 Business. Ridiculous! And that caused her to throw the trip out of whack.

This was the first time I’ve had a female bus driver. I figured we’d make the trip in under an hour. Not so much… we were behind by about 20 minutes when we finally arrived in northwest Houston.

Then we passed through Chappell Hill where I’ve recently learned a dear friend of mine lives. She’s been ill and so has her husband and when I saw the signs in which she instructed me to find when I passed through, I said a little prayer for her and her husband, hoping that they would feel better soon and no longer be ill.

At long last we reached northwest Houston and I got off of the bus. I noticed a HUGE crowd of people looking to get on board. I had never seen so many people to ride megabus.com but there they were. I had forgotten about the promotion that they had going on and I suppose that people are taking advantage of it. Something I didn’t figure until after I had already came home.

I’d like to try it again and take full of advantage of a FREE trip, but the promotion goes until the end of February and I don’t see any trips in the future. Oh well.

The cold front had followed us into Houston and even several hours earlier, Mrs. Froth told me that it was warm and very humid. But that was all taken care of by the time I arrived.

It started to rain at some point, and the smells of the restaurant adjacent to the hotel was killing me! It was a BBQ place. And I was just drooling uncontrollably. But I never made it there. Instead of checking into the hotel and then going to the restaurant, I waited and waited for some notice that someone was going to pick me up. “Face time” is what I call it.

I ended up watching some documentary on VH1 about the Los Angeles riots and the Hip-hop culture. Some of it, I never knew. Other parts, I was just completely disgusted with…. even some twenty years later.  ReginaldDenny

Then it just turned later and later and there was still no word from anyone. It was probably the first time that I thought I had been forgotten about while in Houston. But around 7:00 PM, my cell phone proved me wrong. Oh ye of little faith should’ve been my theme of the evening.

I guess I was just probably way too excited to go. Too excited to see everyone. But deep in the back of my mind, I knew that it wouldn’t be like times before. And I just couldn’t shake that feeling away.

By then, the rain had come to stay. So it was a soggy and chilly mess to wait outside. A secret that I will share with my dear readers: The woman who was working the front desk was outside having a smoke when Dr. & Mrs. Froth arrived to pick me up. Both of them ready to go to the show, and dressed appropriately for it. I couldn’t help but laugh to myself, wondering what the hotel clerk was thinking when I jumped into a vehicle with them. Leather and lace, baby!!!!

The best thing about this location of the La Quinta Inn, was that the BFE Rock Club was really not that far away. It didn’t take much time to arrive at all. I began to wonder just how close Acadia was as well. It seems to be the two venues in which SIX MINUTE CENTURY plays the most.

I mean after all, this location where I was at seemed to be near perfection.

I was given the opportunity to hear the finished production of  “City Of Hope” which is a song going on the new album for SIX MINUTE CENTURY. It was the first time I had ever heard a recorded version of the song. Any other time that I’ve heard it, it was a live version. So it was a little different for me but I loved it.

Dr. Froth mentioned that lead singer Chuck Williams did a fabulous job with the background vocals. And there were parts that were just totally bad ass. He was right. When those background vocals popped up for the first time, I jumped. It literally scared me because I was not expecting to hear what I did. I was floored. Such a great thing to be pumped up listening to the music of SIX MINUTE CENTURY that hardly anyone else has heard as we prepared to go to a live show.

It was great to see so many people there. People that I’ve come to know in the past year and a half. Members from WELL OF SOULS, ECHO TEMPLE, and other bands were there. I got into a very serious conversation with the drummer for ECHO TEMPLE. Something that I fully intend to continue at a later time.

All these people came out in the rain. And that’s just awesome!

The show was great. There was a band that came from Austin that I was really impressed with. I wanted to get photos of them, but someone else was walking around, shooting video with a digital camera and getting around the girl was a little challenging. Plus, she was easy on the eyes. I’m tellin’ ya!

Mystic Cross was on stage next. The lead guitarist for SIX MINUTE CENTURY, Don LaFon, is also a member of this band. And since we were all there to celebrate his birthday, well he had two bands he was playing with in one night.

Don LaFon came up to me and said hello. I wished him a happy birthday since it was ON his birthday that he was playing. And he mentioned that my most favorite song, “Zero Hour” was on the set list for the night. A piece of information that had been unconfirmed before, but I just nodded and smiled. I told Chuck Williams that since I was there to celebrate MY OWN birthday, I’d hoped that the so-called rumor was true that they would play the song. But I honestly didn’t have any doubt as to whether or not they would. I was told once by someone reliable, then Don LaFon brought it up to me before the show started. So I knew that I was in for a treat. Considering the fact that the band has been wanting to drop it from the set list to make room for new material. They had decided that they would only play the song when I was there. But for the band, I’ve made most of the shows throughout 2012. So I’ve got to hear it played live.

Chuck Williams made a special birthday dedication to me before they played the song. It was kinda funny. He looked right at me and said, “You. For you. Birthday!” and I just clapped and smiled knowing what was going to happen. After they played the song, Chuck then mentioned the men and women of our Armed Forces, to which the song truly goes out to.

Someone screamed out their unit and Chuck Williams was all proud and honored and thanked the guy for his service.

The rest of the show was so awesome. And loud. Holy crap, it was so loud. I don’t know what the hell the sound guy was thinking, but after Mystic Cross got on stage, everything was just turned up and left that way. But the stage lights, there was nothing going on with that. Weird.

I found myself being accosted, again. Another blonde, another DRUNK woman. She asked me why I was in a wheelchair and I gave her the short answer. But it was like it went flying right over her head.

I’m going to say this right now….. I DO NOT MIND explaining the reasons why I am in a wheelchair. I believe that talking about it actually can educate those who do not know. Plus, it helps you understand me on a more personal level. So I am not the kind of person that is going to get upset if someone asks why I am in a wheelchair. However, her reaction and response made me feel like I had just wasted my breath and that wasn’t cool.

She asked me where I was from and I told her. Her reply was that I was too far away.

Too far away from what????

She asked me if I was “with anyone” there at the venue, and I said that I was not. She asked then if the people that I was sitting with and hanging out with was my family, and I told her that they were. Because to me, they are. Yet when I told her that I wasn’t with anyone and I didn’t have a girlfriend, she responded that she was glad because she didn’t want to have to take anyone out in the parking lot.

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, over?

It was at that point that I began to wonder if it was a mistake that I told her that I was on my own. That I was not with someone. I could have very easily pointed out that I was with Mrs. Froth just so I could cover my ass and possibly get her to go away. But that kind of response… ugh. I’m glad I didn’t. It probably would’ve started something that didn’t need to happen.

She again asked me WHY I was in a wheelchair. So I gave her the technical explanation. That didn’t help. It just caused her to cry. And hug on me and kiss on my face and head and shove my face into her breasts.

Do not get me wrong. I do like breasts. I am a straight man. And I realize that my current altitude that I get a lot of them in my face. That’s just the way things are. But these were SHOVED into the side of my face and ear. I was not consenting to this kind of attention at all! I prefer that women have full use of their faculties when engaging in that sort of behavior.

After the last band was on stage, it was time to get as many photographs with people as I possibly could. But Mikey Lewis I noticed was back behind his drum kit. A brand new photograph with SIX MINUTE CENTURY was not going to happen. I’ll have to work on that later. I didn’t get one with Dr. Froth either. Something else I’ll have to work on.

Eventually though, the bro hugs were plentiful. Even one came from Dr. Froth, although we were both acting out and being stupid. I am given to understand that bro hugs aren’t something that comes a lot from him.

And I got picked on by Mrs. Froth but that was only because I was being a complete and total dork and pretty much deserved every single “love tap” the woman gave me.

By the end of taking as many photographs that I could, I took one with Don LaFon. He was talking with a woman that I have seen at shows before in the past. Apparently, Don LaFon had told this woman that I was the #1 fan of the band, and he also included the fact that I come from great and long distances and spend lots of money just to make it to the shows. The woman was flabbergasted and shocked and basically bowed at my feet.

I find it unusual that I am still to this day being introduced as such. I think that I’ve come to terms with it by now.

After the show, it was time to roll on out and allow those who had been drinking to sober up and have something to eat. But getting people together to decide on where we were going was like pulling teeth and hair at the same time. Finally, Dr. Froth trumped everything and everyone and had made the decision to go to IHOP.

It was most convenient for Dr. and Mrs. Froth and myself as my hotel was directly across the street from the restaurant. Chuck Williams and his wonderful wife joined us, along with O.J. Morris from WELL OF SOULS.

I was glad to get that extra face time. SO glad… that I didn’t even bother to look at my watch or a clock throughout most of the night.

When we finished at IHOP it was after 4:00 AM. So it was about eight hours of face time with the Froth family. Considering how short my trip was going to be, I didn’t complain. Yes, I would’ve loved more face time but there was no reason to complain.

As I was being dropped off at the hotel, it was time to say my farewells. And it wasn’t something I was willing to do, but had to do. Everyone was tired, but happy. But mostly tired. I was running on excitement and adrenaline, I probably could have kept going for a few more hours. But all good things must come to an end.

I crashed and burned and fell right to sleep. I didn’t even think to take my nighttime medication!

I woke up in a panic. Check-out was noon, and I woke up at 11:10 AM. I grabbed all that I could and threw everything into my bag and I was out of there in fifteen minutes. I checked out of the hotel and I had more than an hour before my bus was to depart from Houston.

I took off for the restaurant, still in that “rushed” feeling. It really does suck when you wake up in a panic like that because then everything else in your day seems rushed and you often get that feeling that you are running behind and you cannot catch up.

But I had been dreaming of eating at this restaurant ever since I knew it was adjacent to the hotel. The sign said to wait to be seated. But because of the rushed feeling that I had, I felt that I’d never have time to wait to be seated, eat, and then get over to the gas station to wait for the bus. So I walked out of there disappointed and defeated and hungry.

The weather was worse. The wind was bitterly cold but there was no precipitation. The temperatures had to have been cold as well. And I had more than an hour to kill. I bought a cappuccino to help warm me up as well as wake me up. But it only warmed me up for a little while. $1.29 not so well spent.

Then the bus arrived a few minutes late. Not bad, but late. A rush of people came out. Probably somewhere between 40-50 people waiting to get on the bus in the cold and wind.

There was MORE eye candy that I had seen while waiting and I had been hoping that they were getting on the bus. Only one woman got on the bus. But she did not see the one remaining seat open, so she went to the upper level and I didn’t see her much after that. Even when she got off of the bus where I was getting off, she vanished. I never had a chance to say hello or talk with her.

But the crowds waiting in northwest Houston to get on the bus, it was the most unusual experience that I had never thought possible.

A man had a piece of luggage that had a strong odor coming from it that he was trying to store under the bus, but the bus driver was asking questions about why it smelled so bad. Come to find out that (and I know that this is hard to believe) inside of his luggage, was a cat that had died.

NOBODY can figure out how that happened. The guy screamed up and down swearing that he had no idea that the animal was inside of his luggage. But with a strong odor like that coming from the bag, it had to have been in there for a while.

Needless to say, he was not permitted to get on board and the fine boys of the local police department took him and his dead cat away.

I hated leaving. I always do. Because I do not know when I will be able to return again. But I left with a better and more secure sense of belonging.

I came home, and my neighbor who picked me up took me to get something to eat. I came home and realized that the entire trip in the city of Houston was 21 hours. The same amount of time that I had been awake the day of the concert before crashing like crazy.

Even when I got home, I threw myself on the couch and passed out for about three hours. But that was in the evening time and its probably going to mess with my sleep schedule for a few nights.

I can’t wait for SIX MINUTE CENTURY to finally get shit done and get this new album released.

 

 

 

 

“Yeeehaww!!!”~ everybody in the state of Texas

Today is Day 80 that the temperature has been either 100°F or higher. Right now, I am seeing that it is 101°F. I do not know how much higher it will go today as the afternoon wears on.

Today however, it is very windy. So that heat is just being blown all around. But I understand that all of this wind is ahead of a cold front.

I actually thought that this has had something to do with what is left of Tropical Storm Lee, which is slamming the Gulf Coast states at the moment. I’m not sure if it has drawn this cold front towards us or not. Nevertheless, the cold front is coming.

This means that our temperatures are going to be about 10 degrees cooler than what they have been. Which is a wonderful relief! Even though we really need the rain desperately!! And that is why I was hoping that these tropical storms that are in the Gulf or heading towards the Gulf would hit landfall near here… so we could get something, anything!!

So I think that we are at least going to enjoy cooler temperatures. There’s no rush into digging in the closet for winter clothing yet, but it should feeling a lot better.

And I really do not know how long this “better weather” will last. Usually in this area, the weather begins to get cooler in September and we leave the triple digit temperatures behind us for the rest of the year. I just cannot say that we have reached that point yet or not. I can at least cross my finges and hope for the best.

As far as rain is concerned, I was told that we will not be receiving any significant rainfall until spring of next year, and that is terrible news. So much plant life and everything is just in danger of dying off. This summer has definitely been brutal. The worst days of summer since 1925, and we blew it out of the sky as the record was 69 days of 100°F or more. Today it is 80… will there be more in 2011??

“It would be a shame for you to miss New York in the Spring.”~ Tom Hanks as ‘Joe Fox’ in “You’ve Got Mail” [1998]

Well, this isn’t Spring, its Summer. And this definitely isn’t New York either. Thus, there really isn’t anything out there that I would consider that I would be “missing”.

But I think that irony is a funny thing as I am sick. It is early August, and this is commonly the hottest month out of the year, and I’m sick. How does that happen??????

So now I am sort of confined to the ceiling fan going full blast, three oscillating fans blowing, and the air conditioner doing its job. Meanwhile, I cannot seem to be able to feel any better.

Sufficed to say that it is not heat stroke or heat exhaustion or anything of that nature. I just simply lack the fortitude and desire to want to do anything in this heat. And then I found my own body temperature almost as hot as the air temperature outside. Well, not quite THAT high, but high enough to be called a fever.

I’m just a rolling mess I guess you could say. But at least my mess does not require me to go and venture outside in this heat any more. I did my errands before it reached 99°F today. And was glad that I did. One must do what they must do.

After that, I’ve had a few comforting phone calls from friends. Great times. I love the diversions and distractions of the pitfalls of life when I am able to speak to them. But other than that, the day just went downhill and I am just surprised at my own self for coming to the realization that it is the Summer, and I am sick?

Doesn’t this crap normally happen during the later months of the calendar year? Perhaps Spring as Joe Fox had put it in “You’ve Got Mail”?? I don’t know. It’s a wild sensation. Nothing enjoyable no doubt.

My guess is that it has something internal going on that is making me feel like the crud. I’m just waiting for someone to steam roll me over and then shove me in a closet. But I don’t suppose that I will be so lucky.

Nevertheless, being sick in general is never much fun at all. Our bodies adjusting to the weird and wonky things that really give our immune system a battle. Sometimes we win, sometimes we lose. I suppose that I could say that I lost this round.

People here are generally grumpy from the record setting heat. But it is almost everywhere else in the country. NOT just the south. I cannot speak for much of the country but our own heat records for the year are being shattered almost continuously for the past two months straight. When the meterologist on the local weather report are cracking open the Weather Almanacs, you know there’s something to be paying attention to because this heat is so dangerous. Records this year are being broken that were only set back in 2009, and again in 2007. Anything more that is still a standing record goes all the way back to the 1920’s. And this heat is punching forward to shatter those as well.

I am happy to say that I am staying hydrated. My bladder can testify to that. And I’m not outside a whole lot. Or should I say- that I haven’t been. Especially not today since 10:45 this morning. But my point is that I am doing very well with hydration.

Still my body and my moods suffers today. And there really isn’t much that I can think of that would make me so miserable, but here I am…. trying to get my temperature down and drinking so much damned fluids.

So as I sit in the dark, as the sun begins to set as I finish this blog post and realize the temperature is STILL at 100°F, I roll my eyes and just wanna curl up into a ball. Let’s hope that tomorrow becomes better for me (even though the weather will not as it is predicted to be even worse and possibly the HOTTEST day of the year!), and that future blog posts will have more to it than just blather.

Thanks for hanging in there, oh Disciples of Dambreaker.

Today being the 23rd of May, in the year 2011, my heart is very troubled and broken over the news that the recent severe weather that has caused so many tornadoes to form, has taken the lives of scores of people.

Mainly in Joplin, Missouri where the death toll is at 116. I do not know if that will rise. But I certainly hope not. Its hard enough to fathom that so many people have lost their lives during the storms.

And now, they are saying that the storm that hit Joplin is one of the top ten deadliest tornadoes in U.S. history.

Also taking into consideration the massive outbreak that occured just last month in April, which wore on for several days in a row, totally beating out the Super Tornado Outbreak of April 3-4, 1974 where 148 tornadoes were reported and hundreds of people dead.

http://www.weather.com/outlook/weather-news/news/articles/deadly-year-tornadoes-perspective_2011-05-23

The wild part is that I love severe weather phenomenon. Tornadoes are my key interest. Ever since I was a child, tornadoes have always found their way to capture my attention. True, when I was younger it would scare me to death whenever I would hear those tornado sirens start to blare. It got so bad that whenever there was a thunderstorm and it had a lot of thunder and lightning, I was trying to prepare myself that at any moment I would hear those sirens.

One time in particular that I will never forget for the rest of my life was when I was a child. I was playing at a neighborhood friend’s house at the time the storm hit us. It is significant to me in my mind because I was with my brother and we were inside the house, without prior parental permission. That definitely would have met the death house for me and my social life for about a week!

The thunderstorm intensified and my friend’s mother came into the bedroom where we were playing and simply said, “You have to leave.” Then she walked out.

I was horrified that my friend’s mother would just simply toss us out in the rain. Even though we lived directly across the street and one house over. I figured she knew about my issues with loud noises, including thunder. And to just send us out into the rain like that was cruel.

But she had laid down the law of the house. Time to go. So I got up from the floor and walked into their den. My intention was to plead for a stay of execution until the storm had passed. When I looked over at their TV, the National Weather Service had issued a tornado warning for our county! Earlier days of radar back then was showing that the tornadic storm was basically right on top of us. So I stood there frozen, not knowing what to do.

My friend’s mother called my name and said, “Your mother is calling for you. You need to go home.”

After that, my brother bailed on me. I guess it was every man for himself at that point. Especially if the mother was out on the front porch, calling for us. Some way, some how he was able to cross the street after my mother went back inside to get out of the storm. He darted across the street, into the front yard, up the stairs and through the front door where he ended up going downstairs in the house and located himself into our shelter for when we had tornado warnings in our area. He never got caught.

I on the other hand, was not that stealthy. By the time I came out of my friend’s house and walked down their driveway the storm was terrible. I froze when I saw my mother had returned to the front porch, frantically calling for her two sons. I decided to hide behind the neighbor’s vehicle and wait her out. It didn’t take long at all because the storm was getting worse.

When I saw that my mother had once again went back into the house, I began to hear that dreaded noise of the wailing sirens. Because of my decision to wait before crossing the street, the loud sounds of thunder crashing hurt my poor young ears. My body soaking wet from the downpours of rain.

But I saw my chance to do the same thing that my brother had done. I continued my way down the neighbor’s driveway and stopped before I ventured out into the street. After all, school was doing me some good. Keeping safe before crossing the street by looking both ways.

After that, I remember that I was about to take my first step down from the curb and begin to cross the street. That never happened!!

In a blink of an eye, I felt light and free. I recall sitting the roof of my house for just a fraction of a second, before I realized I was laying down in the dirt, mud, and leaves. But I was also in my front yard.

What actually had happened, that I realized years later was that the outter bans of the tornado had picked me up from the ground. It lifted me into the air. Throwing me across the street and then slammed me into the front yard. I was not harmed.

All of that took less than two seconds to occur. Needless to say that when I went up the front steps to go through the front door, I was met on the inside of the house by my mother. She yelled at me for two things: One- that I was not in our hiding place where we were supposed to go when we heard the tornado sirens. Two- I was covered in mud. Accused of playing in it prior to.

I slithered downstairs and joined the rest of my family until the storm had passed. Like I said, it took years for me to realize what had happened. But at the time, I was just glad that I was okay. But couldn’t figure out how I had gotten there so quick. And why in the world would I see the top of my house like that?

In case you are wondering, I was in fact grounded for the rest of the night after the storm had passed. But not for being in someone’s house without prior permission, but for “being foolish to play in the mud”, and not coming directly home when being called upon. What I thought was going to be at least a week of grounding, was only for one night. My brother as I said, was free and clear to go back outside and playing with the neighborhood again once the storm was gone.

We would find out that an elderly man lost his life in the storm, who was residing in a mobile home only one block over. So who knows what would have happened to me if I had been directly within the tornado, instead of being engulfed by the strong outer winds!

From that point on, I became fascinated by tornadoes and its awesome power. To be able to take something as small and simple as a playing card and slice it through a tree was incredible to me.

Naturally, it would take years to get over the original fear of thunderstorms. The constant picking on by older siblings never helped much. But now its laughed at. I would come to realize that not ALL thunderstorms were a prelude to a tornado.

From that point on, I think that the last time I had any involvement in any severe weather phenomenon that was particularly including in a tornado event was the Hesston Tornado on March 13, 1990. I was not actually in Hesston, but I was in the area where the weather was dangerous enough to prompt tornado warnings for a large area of the state. I had to seek shelter then too.

And even in the late 1990’s I correctly indentified four different cloud formations that would eventually spawn tornadoes in other parts of the state. One of which was only 35 miles away.

My fascination led me to study them on my own. I learned about weather and clouds and what they commonly mean for the weather forecast. I can tell which is a thunderstorm and which has the potential for producting tornadoes.

I’m not bragging. I’m simply explaining just how deep this fascination really goes! My family has told me for many, many years that I need to study and have a career in meterology. But these conversations only happen in between the months of March and June, which is “tornado season” for Tornado Alley.

I have yet to see a tornado from a distance with my own eyes. I have been in many situations where the tornado sirens were blaring and instead of going outside to look, I seek shelter. I find that these people who run outside are very foolish. Even though you are not any where near tornado, if you are able to be a witness to one, that means that you are within the storm’s realm. Lightning is capable of striking you. The same with hail. So I don’t run outside, I stay safe.

I’ve never been on a “tornado chase” either. I know that there are many tornado tours that are available. I’d like to try one, but haven’t yet.

And I absolutely HATE tornadoes that come during the night! You cannot see them coming. You don’t know what’s going to happen.

On December 24th, 1982, a night time tornado struck our area. On Christmas Eve! All I could think about was “Christmas was going to be cancelled.” Especially if this storm hit our house and blew it to pieces. It hit at night, and hearing those sirens blaring in the dark was horrifying. (Christmas was not cancelled that year, and as a matter of fact only a day or two later from that, there was six inches of snow on the ground. Go figure.)

But going through all of these experiences really has caused this wild fascination. I still feel so bad when I hear that there has been fatalities. It is a horrible feeling. And my heart and prayers goes out to those who have been affected by ANY tornado. Whether it is a loss of life or property.

And today, my thoughts are on Joplin, Missouri. I hope that they will be able to recover from this deadly storm very soon.