Tag Archives: tornadoes

The power of weather

I’ve spent the last three days watching the weather almost non-stop. I’m fried. I could never be a weather forecaster. I just… couldn’t.

Monday, I watched the storms roll through Arkansas as I helped my parents get back home to Texas. I watched the storms move across the state, and I’d call my parents when I felt they needed to get off the road and wait a storm out. As they made it through safely, I continued to watch… my heart aching for those in the path of the tornadoes and flooding.

The next day, I watched to get a feel for what was headed this direction, and I also watched the weather back in Texas… once again giving my parent’s updates as they ran errands. Texas needs rain so bad… so, so, so bad. But the storms that popped up had a violent hand. I feared for the safety of friends, family and strangers alike.

By the time we went out last night, my stomach was in knots. I feared what the next day would bring to us. I once again had a heavy heart for those affected by the wrath of nature.

We got home from being downtown, and in an eerie similarity to almost a year ago, my husband and I slept in shifts… keeping weary eyes on the radar.

Thankfully, we do have a basement to retreat to if it got ugly. But we talked about, “What would we do if…?” I couldn’t wrap my brain around the rest of that sentence.

I did get some sleep, being jerked awake by National Weather Service warnings blasting out of the TV. Here in Nashville, we were thankfully spared. Murfreesboro sustained a lot of damage, but Nashville itself was okay. However, we watched with knotted stomachs as cities in Alabama were hit hard. And we still watch as I type this as the storms continue to march across Georgia, east Tennessee, etc. The death count rises. The video and photos tug at my heart.

I am so thankful to have been spared, but I ache at the same time for those who WERE affected. I keep reading posts on Twitter… people who are pausing to reflect on the day’s events. We are humbled by nature once again.

I grew up in “Tornado Alley.”  We not only had fire drills, we had tornado drills. I grew up with this stuff… and even with that being said, I will NEVER “get used to” this stuff. The fear I have for them… the respect I give to them… tornadoes are horrible.  Tornadoes are humbling. Tornadoes remind us all that we don’t have control over everything, and all we can do sometimes is hope and pray for the best. And if “the best” is not what we get, we hope and pray for the strength to carry on and pick up the pieces.

Tornado tourists??

Tonight on ABC’s Nightline, they did a report about tourists who pay to chase tornadoes. I grew up in “tornado alley” and today I still live in an area plagued by tornadoes, the article just made my stomach clinch.

I can understand meteorologists chasing tornadoes. I can understand journalists and photographers. But tourists? WHY?

“For the thrill!” one could say, or perhaps even, “Just to witness mother nature.”

I grew up in school having tornado drills, something that baffled my Pacific Northwest-bred husband. Like everyone has fire drills, we would have tornado drills so we would know what to do should that day come that a tornado came straight at our school. My sophomore year of high school, that threat became very real. We were lucky, but I’ll never forget taking cover in the band hall, praying that the threat would pass us without incident.

When I think of tornadoes, though, Jarrell, Texas crosses my mind. So does Greensburg, Kansas. Good Friday 2009 when Murfreesboro, TN got hit — so close to my house — also pops into my head. (I couldn’t help but look up this list of F5 tornadoes.) Tell any of these people directly affected by these natural disasters that tourists want to chase tornadoes just for giggles, and I believe a good percentage of those people would be just as shocked as I am. Shocked and mildly disgusted.

From photos, I know there is a strange beauty to tornadoes. And their power is humbling. They are also something that regularly causes death and destruction. While people run around to chase them — pay money just to see them in this case — there are hundreds of others praying they are spared. Hundreds of others gripped with fear, in no way taking a thrill from it.

I want to believe that the people who are chasing tornadoes are doing so to help the people being affected. Who are trying to learn about these monsters. Who want to be able to predict them more accurately, or who want to find ways to protect people more effectively. Or who want to be there first to lend a hand to the victims. Not who just want to get a rush from it.

Somehow, deep down in my gut and heart, I can’t get behind the idea of people taking a thrill from the same thing that leaves so many in fear and sadness. I can’t wrap my brain around it…

…I don’t want to wrap my brain around it.