Oklahoma weather is a source of fascination and fear.
What I’ve learned in my three-plus years in Oklahoma is this:
Don’t be afraid. Don’t be stupid. Just be prepared.
I used to shudder at the thought of a tornado — any tornado.
Now I understand that the difference in damage caused between an EF1-rated tornado and and an EF5 is vast. The difference spans shingles ripped away and a sign or two tossed about to TOTAL OBLITERATION OF EVERYTHING IN PATH.
Damage from the EF5 2013 tornado that struck Moore took my breath away. It stunned me, standing amid splintered neighborhoods as far as the eye could see, that more people hadn’t died. That the tornado took no more than 25 lives is a testament to modern meteorology and communication.
We got our first taste of storm season Wednesday.
Skies darkened as I pulled up to my home from work about 5:30 p.m. and switched on the tube. Hard not to notice that the storms pictured on weather radar had stunning purple-hued cores.
Purple on the screen makes me wanna stress-eat something…maybe cheese puffs.
mmm cheese puffs
TV weathermen rolled up their sleeves and in a fit of mania started dropping vocab like hook echo, rain-wrapped, scud clouds and mesocyclone.
We could not look away from the TV coverage.
At my house, Laila turned the weather updates into dramatic pronouncements.
ie,”It’s gonna HAIL!”
*feigns fainting and falls backward onto couch*
“But what about my SCHOOOOOOOL!”
*waves hands in air, spins in circles, collapses in a heap onto ground*
Eli, oblivious, rode is toy truck around the living room.
Then shit got weird.
The skies turned a green-gray-yellow.
Damn, no cheese puffs. Popcorn, decent substitute.
No time for that.
“Uh, OK, kids, away from the windows, chop chop!”
Sirens rang out.
The storm hit central Oklahoma City at 6:45 p.m.
We herded the children into the central and lowest part of our home. Eli found this hilarious, and as hail rained down, he hopped on his truck, busted through our barrier of arms and legs and rode toward the window uttering oblivious cheeky giggles.
*retrieves and restrains toddler*
Our weather people follow storms so closely we are told about movements of and developments within these systems minute-by-minute, even street-by-street.
Hail busted through a front storm window, but then that was that.
The warm weather turned cool, weird yellow skies turned eerily bright and the horizon showcased a double rainbow.
A tornado dropped in Tulsa, killing one man in his mobile home. A truck driver died in an accident in Moore, though the tornado was small. Of course these violent deaths are tragic, however few in number, and our minds all wandered back to 2013, especially since the Wednesday Moore tornado dropped out of the sky on the exact path of the deadly monster of two years prior.
The tornado of two years prior followed almost to a ‘T’ the path of a ’99 killer twister. The little twister Wednesday prompted a big, communal WTF throughout the region.
I don’t relish this weather, but it fascinates me.
From it, I’ve learned that while a little adrenaline keeps us on our toes, letting fear take hold or inform your decision-making is a mistake.
It’s better to keep our wits about us and exercise common sense. Situational awareness, children!
What else can you do in the face of something as powerful and moody as Mother Nature?
That’s right, make a Vine!
Right, I’m off to buy some cheese puffs.