Inside the Newsroom @ A2 Journal

Welcome to Inside the Newsroom @ A2 Journal, a blog written by the newspaper's staff at A2 Journal, a new, weekly, community newspaper covering Ann Arbor. This blog is a place for members of the newspaper's staff to write their thoughts, observations, opinions and other informative pieces they put together while covering the rich history, interesting people, institutions and traditions that make Ann Arbor such a unique community.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

June 6 - Lisa's Musings (on tornados) and Every Day Life

There is nothing like a tornado WARNING to get the hair on the back of my neck standing up and tingles going down my arms.

Last night was nothing short of scary.

I was watching a DVRed version of "Glee," catching up before the season finale this week when I heard the warning sirens in Chelsea last night.

I know what that means.

So I immediately flipped to Fox News and the weatherman was reporting minute-to-minute updates, telling viewers that Manchester was under a tornado watch. That's a little too close for comfort.

Now, we've had tornado warnings before, but this is the first watch I can remember in a while.

A watch means keep an eye out, bad weather's possible. A warning means look out, the conditions are favorable for bad weather to happen.

Translated -- head to the basement and hope your card hasn't been played and the twister skips your house.

For someone who has lived through a tornado's wrath on their property, I was scared as sacred could be. Looking at those spots where red touched green on the weather map didn't help, either.

My friends laugh at me when I head for the basement during storms and bad weather but let me tell you when you've experienced a tornado, you really appreciate it in a way that watching the aftermath on TV doesn't show you.

It was Labor Day in Virginia and I'd just gotten back from a trip. I was all snuggled in my bed with two dogs when I heard the roar. It's described as a freight train. And, it's kinda like that, fierce, whirring, whooshing and LOUD. Once you've heard it, you never forget that sound.

But what I also heard was the cracking and destruction of trees and buildings on my property as they were taken by the tornado. There wasn't a darn thing I could do but hug the dogs, ride it out, and hope and pray that we'd survive.

I was living in a log cabin with no basement at the time.

The tornado seemed to last minutes, but in reality, they move so fast that it was probably mere seconds.

After all the ripping and tearing and whooshing, there was silence. Complete, you-could-hear-a pin-drop quiet. Like the property and its creatures were waking up from a deep sleep.

Since it was in the middle of the night, I couldn't really access the damage until daybreak and I must have fallen asleep after that, because what I remember next was the phone ringing -- it was my dad.

He'd been watching the weather channel and saw that a tornado had touched down in Danville, VA, and he wanted to make sure I was OK.

Even though the sun was up, there was still an eerie silence. I looked out the window and saw that one of the empty chicken buildings was gone and another was badly damaged. Then I saw the path in the woods behind the property with felled trees everywhere.

What I didn't see until I went outside was that a huge tree had been uprooted and felled, thankfully away from the house, but it flattened one side of the chain link fence in the dog yard.

Had that tree fallen the other way, I wouldn't be writing this blog. It would have taken out the corner of the house I'd been in. In fact, it probably would have flattened my entire 900-square foot cabin. It was a BIG tree.

So, after surviving one tornado, I'd prefer to never experience another one, thank you very much.

You'll just have to excuse my extreme caution when bad weather's on the way.

And laugh all you will, but one of the things I looked for when I bought this house was a basement.

I was really glad to have one to serve as my panic room last night.

And that my card was still somewhere in the deck, hopefully at the bottom somewhere.

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Blogger PammH said...

Lisa, a watch means conditions are favorable for tornatoes, a warning means get your ass in basement, pronto!! I slept thru the whole thing. Thankfully, it didn't come my way. I'm usually Ms Safety, didn't realize it was gonna be that bad Sun morn.

June 8, 2010 at 6:00 PM  

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