Back home for those summertime storms
After several years of living south of the Mason-Dixon Line, my wife and I were enamored with the thunder boomers, lightning crashes and the wall clouds that moved through the area last week. It reminded us of the severe weather we experienced while living in Arkansas and Missouri, the heart of Tornado Alley.
While there were no tornados reported last week, it was a heads up warning that as our weather patterns switch from strong cold north winds to a more southwest flow of warm, humid Gulf of Mexico air we need to be on guard and watch area weather forecasts for possible tornadic extremes.
Gully washers and torrents of rain are common in Minnesota. As a kid, my friends and I would dare each other to ride our bikes through flooded roadways after heavy rainfall. It was a dare no one ever turned down.
However, as an adult we have it drilled into our minds that precautionary planning is best when it comes to summer time thunderstorms that often produce funnel clouds and squall lines that can cause flash flooding.
Many locals have shared with me their eyewitness accounts of the river in Mantorville flooding the park and nearby downtown areas.
Even though Drill Day in Minnesota was back on April 16 (we may have had snow that day) many of us just turned a deaf ear to the Severe Weather Awareness Week that was done in partnership with the National Weather Service and local governments. It’s just a routine that many of us ignore.
However, I was on guard when KTTC Weather alerts appeared on the television screen during the NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt. Sorry Lester, my eye was fixed on the crawl on the bottom of the screen telling viewers that a tornado watch had been declared for the area.
My instincts told me to grab a flashlight, tell Tricia that if the tornado siren blares out a warning, we’d head for the lower level of the house and park ourselves in the food storage area. It seemed like déja vu all over again (that’s a Yogi Berra-ism), reminiscent of sirens going off in the middle of the night in the south.
Rather than hunkering down, however, we stood on the front porch and watched as a wall cloud moved from the southwest to the northeast. It was exciting. Tricia was taking photos (she wasn’t sure why, but it was her response to the enormity of the storm).
Within a half hour and a deluge of rains, things calmed down and rain pelted the roof of the house intermittently the rest of the evening.
It’s great to be back home for such simple things as summertime storms.