Tuesday, May 11, 2010

We dodged a bullet there...

Now, depending on who you ask in our house, me or S, you would get two responses on what transpired last night meteorlogically. S would say it was nothing, I would say we dodged a bullet last night

Around 4:30pm (5:30 EST), the tornado alarms went off before I could get dinner started. They went off for a good 15 minutes. It took until about 4:50pm for S to get home. My blood pressure decreased just a tad when I heard the garage door go up.

I continued grabbing what I could 'just in case'. The basics - food, candles, lighter, batteries, screwdriver and cameras (you know to cover us in terms of recording for any potential insurance claim).

The furballs got thrown into their large carrier. Phenix was so not impressed. Gryffin could care less. Yeowling ensued.

We all got downstairs and turned the TV on in time to see a very large 'hook' forming an about 20 minutes west south west of our home (near Goddard). A hook visible on radar is an indicator of a tornado forming. The trajectory of the hook looked to be right in line with our home too. (You get to be a bit of a weather geek living in Tornado Alley.)


As the weather guys continued to tell us to get to our storm shelters (ours was mere feet away in the closet under the stairs), S kept running upstairs to open windows just in case.

There was a lot of stuff done yesterday, just in case. He wanted the windows open so that if something came over us but didn't hit us, the air pressure wouldn't blow the windows completely out. That's my limited understanding.

The hook was 'wrapped in rain' so if there had been a tornado, you couldn't see it without radar. But you likely would hear something like a freight train sound.

The weather teams tell everyone to get to their storm shelters because after you've experienced a few of the close calls or lack of anything special, people just don't take hede, they just become apathetic. Yes, some people stand outside waiting to spot it before they head to the basement. I have brilliant neighbours.

I don't think we are at the apathetic stage yet...

The weather teams here do storm trajectories every couple of minutes so they can alert folks if the direction has changed. Thankfully the hook disipated before it got too close. The storm headed just southeast of us and towards the Zoo (which is about 5 minutes from us). That was just a little too close for me.

Twenty minutes later, the hail (only pea size, they had said we might get quarter or baseball sized hail), wind and rain stopped. The sun came out for the first time all day and poof, it was all over. And nope sorry, no rainbows, houses on top of wicked witches, munchkins (aside from T) and no ruby red slippers were seen post storm. The only thing left swirling in the air was lots and lots of pollen.

I believe from what I've gathered so far, this is the same storm that did so much damage earlier on in and around Oklahoma City/Norman.

Tornados are rated on a scale of a 1 to 5, 5 being the most severe. Early indications are that a F3 touched down in OKC yesterday, that means lots of damage and around 150mph winds. We had an F5 hit Greensburg, Kansas (about 3 hrs drive straight west of here) 3 years ago...95% of the town was wiped off the map and about 10 people lost their lives.

When you hear news like that, snow storms down seem too bad.

On a totally geeky note, one of the local TV stations has an interactive map set up showing storm chasing teams who stream live video from their mobile units. Right before the storm hit yesterday, nearly every mobile unit was within minutes of Wichita and the surrounding area. Here's the link -http://www.kwch.com/global/Category.asp?c=185375

That was not exactly comforting.

All is quiet today. Tomorrow things might pick up again...wonderful. T is still sleeping and baby is still cooking so we will take that as a good sign until the sirens go off again. I am not unpacking my just in case bag until we get a few days of clear weather...you know just in case.

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