Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Are you prepared?

Wishing there was some way to do the music from the Wizard of Oz where she sees the witch riding her bike in the tornado-da da ta da ta da……..

Let’s talk severe weather and for those up here in Tornado Alley, just plain old preparedness. This week is National Severe Weather week and the schools are doing tornado drills, the sirens will be tested as well as the radio and tv stations running their emergency broadcasting stuff.
Might I add that this is none too soon for us. They’ve been running flood insurance commercials since before the first of the year. The forecasters have been revising this and that and the other predictions. But it’s official at our place with Monday night's craziness.

We’ve been rearranging stuff upstairs and downstairs which in turn means that nothing is where it should be. Monday night we are watching the skies, have the tv on listening to the weather man spout off about the current severe storm to hit the area. FYI-the roller cloud was amazing-Meredith’s new little camera is really getting some good shots. I'm still trying to figure out how to download the photos though.

Anyway, David is feeding horses and notices the hay going sideways in several directions, then it starts to funnel up. He hears it before it hits-thank God. Gets to the house, can’t get the door open the wind is so strong and when he finally gets in the sound is unlike anything I have ever heard. I actually feared that the windows in the bedroom weren’t going to hold. Afterwards, we started picking up the pieces and hearing hammer noises from the neighbors, we determine that it was indeed what they call a microburst. Yeah yeah, my “weather spotters” that took the training last year are finally getting to use their new words. Winds were 60-70 mph, lifted part of the roof off Chateau Quack, took my agility equipment across the yard, and the mulch in the back yard is now in the center of the yard.

Damage reports from Alburnett due to Monday’s little storm are just some poles snapped, Hiawatha had flying objects-a trampoline into a garage and some minor electrical outages.

So now tuning into Tuesday night, we work with the ducks a little. We had a few bands that needed removing, eggs to collect, duckaloo to relocate-back to it’s original location(it got moved across the yard Monday night) and fence to fix. Alec is then wandering around and thinking that maybe, just maybe, we should think about getting the downstairs ready in case we need to head there if the sirens go off. So we spend about ½ hour hauling crates down, rearranging and making up Tornado Central in the basement. The kid thinks ahead as the line of storms really started forming about 6ish to the west of us.

Side note—are you ready for a disaster with your pets? Go to the Red Cross and check out their list of what you should have ready. As for us-we try to have an unopened bag of dog food, several gallons of water(usually store bottled water), canned food, meds for those on meds and collars with id’s and leashes attached. Many of my dogs don’t wear collars on a daily basis, so those are hanging ready to grab. Downstairs, we have an extra set of crates set up with name tags on them. A list describing each dog and a photo are also in a folder in both the emergency bag as well as tacked on the side of one of the crates.

Back to the regularly schedule chaos. Storms start to build last night. Then the infamous “hook echo” forms. For those unfamiliar with Midwest meterology, that means a radar indicated funnel cloud. FYI-funnel clouds turn into tornados when they hit the ground. From that point, tornados are classified into levels-F1 through F5, with some additional separation in each category, all based on the wind speeds and destruction. The tornado that hit the Parkersburg area two years ago was an F5-worst of the worst.

We get the Ms downstairs with her side kicks-Bug, Clairee, Lace and Tosie. She’s got her book, the tv on and a grilled cheese sandwich. Yes during this all we were attempting to eat dinner, or gulp it down.

Wall clouds are visable. Updrafts are cool, storm is moving NE. Palo/Shellsburg area is reporting some nasty stuff and then the infamous sirens go off. Now there is a slight joke going on around our home about the sirens. First off Alburnett-noon and 6pm, the sirens go off. But the emergency siren is just 1/4m up the road. So the joke-hum, is it dinner, supper or tornado? We have the drill down-dogs in the basement, Ms under the stairs with her sidekicks and we, but of course, upstairs or out in the yard watching. It’s a family tradition, just ask about my dad and grandfather watching the weather on the hill.

We get some awesome scud clouds that skim the barn, some wicked wind and pictures of the rotation north of us. Ends up the “hook echo”, was 4 miles north this time around. If you remember last year, the actual F1 tornado that hit Alburnett, was just 1 mile north of us. Never turns into a tornado this time around, but we did get a few photos of the wall cloud and the possible funnel as it was skipping past Central City.

After all is said and done, we get just a little wind damage with a few things ending up in the hay field. The stop sign at the highway is at a 90 degree angle and my old agility tunnel is a mile up the road. But that’s not the end of it, the line is still forming along the front and it’s not past us yet. About 9ish, it’s raining buckets and barrels. Heavy down pours. Heehee, a couple misfits were out in the yard for their last potty run of the night and got caught in it. They actually were having fun. But wet dogs, ick.

Overall, this in one reason I love Iowa . What is the saying, if you don’t like the weather, wait 10 mins? It changes at the drop of a pin. It gets the blood pumping, the heart racing and the brain thinking. The lightening is awesome, though trashed more answering machines then I care to mention. Wind, well, that I can do without, that is until I get the shutters on the bedroom windows next week. Thunder-I sleep through it.

Weather radio in hand, emergency kits ready, plans made and eyes to the skies.

Later gators…


Winjammin' said...

Yeah, tornadoes are interesting creatures to say the least. I have always found that when explaining tornadoes to people, just ask them if they have seen the movie Twister, to which the answer is invariably, "yes". Those people should then remember the following quote from the movie....very accurate description of the big tornadoes we see here in IA:

Joey: [Discussing at Meg's on the tornadoes they have seen so far] No, that was a good size twister. What was it, an F3?
Bill: Solid F2.
Melissa: See, now you have lost me again.
Bill: It's the Fujita scale. It measures a tornado's intensity by how much it eats.
Melissa: Eats?
Bill: Destroys.
Laurence: That one we encountered back there was a strong F2, possibly an F3.
Beltzer: Maybe we'll see some 4's.
Haynes: That would be sweet!
Bill: 4 is good. 4 will relocate your house very efficently.
Melissa: Is there an F5?
[Everyone goes dead silent]
Melissa: What would that be like?
Jason 'Preacher' Rowe: The Finger of God.

Every time I think of Parkersburg, I think of that term....the Finger of God. How fitting...

Glad to know everything was a-ok this week and no big scares.

Frink Lemur said...

We were a-wondering and praying for you Cindy, and a bit for ourselves, as we were out on the Cedar Trail having a pack outing -(Kodi and Chdoe teamed up and giving a great skateboard ride Carla and the other Pete following tail-end) - When the sirens went. Saw the back-end of roller-fuss that was over your place.

Didn't get anything then, and not until later in the night when we got some good sustained gusts but just a few twigs down for us.

Kathy and Kim Gibson said...

Weee haa....yes I do believe that you guys have some sort of crazy weather sink. Glad you and company are alright!