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07/11/2010

The Trouble With Tornado Warnings

The idea for this blog post came to me because I am currently sitting inside my house listening to the rumble of thunder and watching the rain. South of me severe thunderstorm warnings have been issued and we are currently under a tornado watch. This is not uncommon in this area as I live on the edge of tornado alley.

I know the goal of weathercasters everywhere is to be able to warn of tornados early enough that people can make it to safety before the twister actually arrives. That's awesome and the results of the improvements in tornado forecasting have saved lives. But here's my problem.

I live on the periphery of the tornado alley, that results in lots of watches, many warnings and few actual tornados. I try to take any warnings seriously. I'm a weather junky and I know when bad weather is in my area or headed for my area. If the sirens go off, I'm headed for the basement with my family, my laptop, and my kitty's in tow. Then we sit and watch the weather until the power goes off. Then we sit in the dark shooting each other with our flashlights until the power comes back on and the warning is released.

Or that's what I'm supposed to do. I do head for the basement with said family and stuff in hand. I do turn on the basement TV and watch the weather until the power goes out. I'm good with that for about fifteen minutes, then I'm ready to get on with my life. In the old days, before early they could offer early warning for tornados, by the time you hit the basement, the twister had taken your house or moved on. Now you have this interminable wait and I just can't stand it. I'm a weather watcher. I want to be outside watching the storm roll over, ready to dive into the basement if it approaches. I can't stand to be cooped up underground while all that awesome weather is happening above my head. Didn't use to be a problem when the warning coincided with the arrival of the tornado, but with the new early warnings, it's killing me. 

I'm afraid one of these days, I'm going to run downstairs like a responsible adult, then after about ten minutes I'm going to poke my head outside just in time for the twister to swoop me up and toss me into the next county, cause I just can't handle the early warning.

Have I seen a tornado? Do I realize the damage they can cause? Well, yes, several, yes I've seen the aftermath. Doesn't matter, when the big weather starts, I want to be outside where I can see it.

How do you handle severe weather warnings around your part of the world?

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