Thursday, March 3, 2011

WARNING: Do not try this at home

Home destroyed by tornado in Eminence, KY on February 28, 2011.

Monday morning’s are always rough for me, so you can imagine my displeasure at being woken up by an unyielding wailing noise at 4:30 a.m. this past Monday. After a few minutes of falling in and out of sleep, I realized that it wasn’t the neighbor’s dog or the alarm clock keeping me from REM, but the local weather siren.

Once I realized what was going on, I immediately turned on the TV for more information. Almost the entire Kentuckiana area was under a tornado warning. Knowing that the threat of a tornado was VERY highly likely, I woke my significant other and we . . . stayed in bed watching the weatherman frantically attempt to keep up with the fast-moving storm.

It’s not that I don’t know how to respond to a tornado warning. As a former disaster educator and resident of eastern Colorado, I know exactly what you are supposed to do during a tornado warning. Lying in bed is not recommended.

I must admit, I have always been terrible about following instructions, especially when it comes to tornado warnings. Perhaps it’s because ever since I saw the movie Twister, I’ve secretly aspired to be a storm chaser. I like to see what’s going on. In any case, please, as the old adage goes, do as I say, not as I do. During a storm, it just might safe your life.

Take, for example, the couple in Oldham County woken by the phone alert system. They immediately took shelter in their basement. Moments later, a tree came through their roof, landing right in their bed. If they had ignored the alert, as I did, they might not be here today.(full story)

March is notorious for stormy weather. Take time to educate yourself on how to react during tornadoes and thunderstorms, and please, leave the storm watching to the experts.