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Nature Overpowers

Moore,OK  tornado May 2013

Moore,OK tornado May 2013

I was 13 or 14 when I saw a tornado first hand, We were hauling hay on a hot June day in the Mississippi River bottoms just outside of Finley, TN.  We had just brought a load of square bales into the barn to stack it when we saw a tornado bearing down on us. About all we could do was sit and watch as it picked up cotton trailers and tossed them around.  I watched it pick up a round metal grain bin full of wheat just like you would take a toboggan off a baby.  The grain bin ended up smashed against a big Cottonwood tree.   The wheat stayed in a perfect rounded pile with nary a grain disturbed.

Over my ensuing 45 years, dairy farming, driving a truck, doing what I did, I had plenty of opportunities to be involved with the ravages of severe weather.  During the Baloney Years I owned an old two story turn of the century hardware store on the town square of a small North Texas town.  I lived in one of the upstairs apartments and when the weather radio started hooting I would make my storm preps.  My only companion at the time was a deaf white cat.  I would gather up Deaf Cat and put her in an empty dresser drawer with a pillow case on top.  When the tornado sirens started to wail, I would throw Deaf Cat in the pillow case and run downstairs to huddle in the corner under the stairwell where it met the brick wall until the all clear sounded.

Miss Kathy does NOT like super cells.

Miss Kathy does NOT like super cells.

Even so, weather never really terrified me.  Even two years ago when we had a little fracas up in the Barnett Shale of North Texas I was still pretty unfazed by the ability of bad weather to really hurt you.  We were sitting in the Old Girl and the local weatherman was talking about dry lines and low pressure systems and Gulf moisture and everything else that goes into making a good ol’ Tornado Alley Super Cell.   The weather radio suddenly came alive and warned of straight line winds up to 100mph and the location was right on top of us.  2 minutes later they hit the Old Girl and rocked her up with all 3 wheels on the right side off the ground.  All I could do was look at Miss K.  All she could do was look back at me.  I had nothing to get us out of that deal; I was useless as a white crayon in the box.  That same windstorm turned a 90 foot Halliburton crane over on 5 frac tanks on the pad a mile from us and destroyed a good part of Downtown Muenster, TX.

Still yet, I thought I had this weather thing under control.  I have preached for years about the prudence of owning a weather radio especially of you spend much time in an RV.  Let me re-phrase that.  It is utter STUPIDITY if you do not have a weather radio in your RV.  I have used the same MIDLAND WR300 Weather Radio for years and I like it. I am not the only one. It is the best selling weather radio on Amazon and has over 1000 reviews. About $40 folks; you can’t afford NOT to have one!  My weather swagger changed on Easter Sunday 2013.   The Old Girl and the big ass Suburban got hit by a freak storm that packed 90mh winds and hail as big as oranges.

It scared me.

Easter Sunday 2013

Easter Sunday 2013

The first hail that hit the roof sounded like somebody slamming the roof with a sledgehammer.  It didn’t sink in exactly what was transpiring until the entrance door window exploded inward with considerable force.  For the next ten minutes, the Old Girl rocked up on the left side wheels from the force of the 90mph winds as the big hail beat the stuffing out of her.  I put on my hardhat when I saw the hail penetrate the 3/4″ plywood roof of the Old Girl and bulge the carpeted ceiling.   I was helpless.  I was along for the ride.  The weather radio had given me a heads up 5 minutes previously that a dangerous storm with large hail was bearing down on my location and I had acknowledged the warning in my mind but I had not taken action.  I had made the mistake many people make;  I had said to myself “How bad can it be?  Really?”  What I should have done was jump in the big ass Suburban and drive fast away from that roiling black storm cloud that rolled right down the Frio River.  I learned a lesson that Easter Sunday.

This blog post was prompted by the devastating tornado in Moore,OK on May 20th.  God help those poor folks as they sort out their lives and bury their dead.

 

 

 

 

End Note: Shelter Me by Tab Benoit from the Power of the Ponchatrain CD

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2 comments to Nature Overpowers

  • joel

    I was in Oklahoma City Sunday and Monday. In the city, you would never have guessed it was anything more than a typical afternoon thunderstorm both days.

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  • I was about the same age when I saw my first tornado, it was a beautiful and frightening sight. Luckily, it did not touch down. One of my biggest fears about living full time in an RV is being in a tornado!

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