It was a slightly windy and sunny evening. One might have been deceived into thinking it was the perfect evening for a run. Blaine was in his running clothes on the way out the door when I hollered at him to wait while I checked the weather. I knew severe storms were in the forecast (I always know...), but it looked so darn nice outside. I checked the weather and to my surprise find that we were under tornado warning. Let's clarify, a tornado watch means to "watch out" the conditions are favorable for a tornado. A tornado warning means that a tornado is imminent and has either been spotted or that there is extreme rotation in the thunderstorm. Okay that has happened once or twice in our county since we have been here (warnings are usually issued by counties). I referred to all of my weather websites and found that this particular storm was supposed to track right over top of us! It was a big storm, but the particular part that was going to track over us was the part that was rotating. Um. Yikes.
Okay, this is the doppler radar image. You see how the storm has a little tail (ie "hook), where the diamond at the base of the arrow is? That is where the rotation is, when there is strong rotation in a storm the winds are so high that the rain actually wraps around the tornado (hence the stillness that precedes the tornado!). Okay well that little hook rotation part is the part that was on a crash course with the part of the city we live in.
The storm wound up not being so scary. I mean, it was scary, but we were safely gathered in our closet with our flashlights, granola bars, weather radio, blankets, and even the dogs this time (much to Blaine's dismay). I had enough forewarning and it seemed imminent enough that I even had time to barricade our closet with our couches.
I know it sounds insane, but my philosophy is that if we are given the time to prepare, we may as well prepare as much as we can. I would rather have to put my kids to bed late and move my couches back the next day then lose a kid to a tornado. You know what I mean?
Don't worry, we even had our bicycle helmets on. I know. Crazy.
As the storm passed over us we could hear the hail pounding the windows and the porch. The storm had produced hail 4 inches in diameter (that's really big folks), but in our city it only got to about baseball size.
It was so long before I let anyone leave our closet that we didn't really get to see the hail. I don't think ours was quite so big....from neighbors I have heard it was about marble size.
Anyway---the good news is that since I freak out and hide in my closet during all severe storms (it used to be ALL storms, now I am so relaxed that it is just severe storms :) ), that we are all used to it, we know the drill. Gwen thinks it is fun. We keep toys and blankets and all our emergency supplies in the closet, so there is no last minute freaking out.
This particular storm was so bad though that my neighbor came and pounded on my door to warn me (which was really nice of her and it made me realize that I am not nearly so thoughtful since I had been in my closet for a good hour before hand). Lots of other people from the area have blogged about the storm too (ie the people who I stole the images from---thanks Chelon!), so it wasn't just me this time. That feels great!
We are alive and well though, and now that we have been through the eye of a storm hopefully my tolerance for bad weather will increase!
The end :)