You can keep that, thank you very much

Yesterday about 11:45 something occurred that has never happened to me before.  Out here in the wilds of Kentucky, they have tornados.  Real ones.  When I got up yesterday morning and checked into Twitter I saw lots of local-ish people talking and retweeting information about the warnings for tornados.

I went to meet a friend for coffee.  I asked all kinds of questions about tornados and how I would know what to do and what to be aware of.  It seemed unlikely that anything was really going to happen except wind.  When I got home I put away all the chairs on the patio and put away the toys.

As soon as I took off my shoes the sirens started…

…and I started to shake.  My hands were shaking, the windows were rattling with wind and I could not stop this feeling of panic that crept up from my toes.

In emergency situations you are never supposed to panic.

I couldn’t help it.  I sat in the stairwell to the basement clutching my phone while furiously chatting with a friend to keep myself sane.  This tornado and the siren turned out to be not a whole lot of anything, at least for me.  There were seven tornados reported in Kentucky though.

Chick’s teacher called me as the second siren went off to let me know that they were keeping the kids at school (she was past her time to be home).  For the first time in her twenty years of teaching they had to take the children into the basement for safety.

I am very glad that Chick’s teacher is a communicator.  She emails everyday and for her to be able to call me and tell me not to worry was such a wonderful thing.  I am sure Thor was okay as well (he goes to a different school).  I worried about him because when they did tornado drills last year he did not know what he was supposed to do and he’d told is teacher he was scared.

We have never lived anywhere where tornados are something we needed to be worried about. We’ve survived hurricanes coming up the Delaware River.  Floyd brought immense rain.  Hurricane Isabel (which to this day I still have the newspaper clippings from it) rocked our house and made me feel like the entire thing was going to blow over.  70 mph winds will do that. We lost power for twenty-four hours but things were pretty much undamaged.

I will take a hurricane any day of the week over a tornado.  A hurricane I know is coming.  I can plan, buy supplies and if necessary flee for safety in advance.  The scariest thing for me about a tornado is having no idea it’s coming, no way to get away from it, no idea where it will wreak havoc.

I know what happened yesterday wasn’t really that big of a deal to most people here, but for me, as a first timer it scared me.  I didn’t react well at all to those sirens.  It is something I’m going to have to deal with hearing in the years ahead though.  I just hope I’ll get used to it.

Have you ever been through a natural disaster or severe storm?  Share your story in the comments.