Monday, April 16, 2012

An open letter to our friends & family out East: Blown out of proportion

Dear You,

I get it. Tornadoes are scary. If you think tornado warnings or watches are scary you should experience a thunder storm here. It's like nothing you have ever experienced. It is intense. It's crazy town. What one person experiences in my neighborhood, 5 minutes down the road will experience differently. And then? In an instant it's quiet. Like creepy, eye of the storm quiet. The skies light up, the earth shakes with thunder. My grown husband will wake up in the middle of the night and honestly ask the question, "Should we get the kids?"

Not kids crawling in our bed, scared. Reasonable. A grown man, wanting to crawl into bed with the children.

It's wild.

Why are tornado warnings or watches not quite as scary? Because tornadoes are not actually happening in the immediate area when you get a warning or a watch.

When you see "tornado watch" on the TV - don't bother worrying. Why? Because STL should be on a constant tornado watch status. Why? Because all it actually means when it is issued is the weather conditions are favorable for severe thunderstorms to produce tornadoes in and close to the watch area.  Every time it storms here, that's going to happen, it turns out. Welcome to Tornado Alley. It can (and does) happen here. That's why they named it an alley. Frankly, it should have been "Tornado Main Street" but whatever; semantics.

A tornado warning is when an alert issued by government weather services to warn that severe thunderstorms capable of spawning tornadoes may be imminent. It is likely a tornado is indicated by radar or sighted by storm spotters. Still, not a for sure, but more likely. If you are going to worry - I'd say this would be the only time to slightly concerned. And even not all that much.

Some facts to be aware of:
  • St. Louis, the county, which is what is named in weather alerts is 524 square miles.
  • St. Louis (city) is actually 66.2 square miles. 
  • Where we actually live is in a suburb within St. Louis city which is 5.9 square miles.
  • St. Louis (county) will be in almost every tornado watch or warning that you see, because now that we are here that's all you'll see. 
  • Tornadoes come here. They will come through our town and may very likely hit our neighborhood or even our house. 
  • We are prepared, we are no heroes - when we hear an alarm we will go to our designated bunker and be OK.
  • When a tornado rips through another state or another city that is not St. Louis - I have no idea what the tornado was like because we didn't have one. We live in 5.9 area of a 524 square mile area that didn't get hit by a tornado.
Seriously - when there is wild weather 10+ hours away from you? DO I call panicked?  Do I sit and stew and wonder - will you make it? Absolutely not. You are 10 hours away.
Pull it together. Calm yourself. You have your own health & well being to care about instead of putting yourself into a tizzy about us - hundreds of miles away from natural disasters and prepared for the inevitable.

The Twisted Guarros of Tornado Alley

1 comment:

  1. Is the sky green?

    That is freaky stuff! I went to college in Peoria and saw the green sky with tornado nearby but not where I was and well, green sky to me = freakishness.


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