Thursday, June 05, 2008

Home, With Tornadoes on Our Heels

This isn't Lola in front of the tornado, but we came damn close today. After visiting my folks in Kansas for several days, we spent this day driving back to Colorado. Mom is recovering nicely from a knee replacement operation, and we enjoyed keeping her company. Sometimes when I go home I slip half-consciously into "adolescent" mode and leave the heavy lifting to the parental units while I lounge around. Not this time. This visit was all about being a caretaker, and Noemon will soon replace us in that capacity.

We were originally planning to return Wednesday, but we decided to stay an extra day. Little did we know we'd be driving through what weather forecasters predicted could be a "historic" storm. The one piece of good sense we displayed was leaving early in the morning after hearing that tornadoes were possible in the evening. Going West on I-70, we hit Trego County just as a line of storms was approaching. Judging from what we heard on the radio, we were about an hour's drive ahead of the storm that hit WaKeeney and Colyer.

Early press reports, suggest that not much happened in Central Kansas this afternoon other than some roof damage and a couple of circus elephants getting spooked. But you can imagine how scared we were driving through this weather. The looming front, the lightning, and the radio announcer trying to be calm all had Lo shouting, "Where the heck is my divan?" She was referring to Mom and Dad's late dog, who always stuck his nose under the couch when there was thunder.

I have always heard that if a tornado approaches and you're in your car, you should get out and lie on the ground if there's nothing else you can do. This is the closest I've been to having to do that since the big storm that hit Jarrell Texas came down IH-35 while I was driving around Austin. All I can say is we were damn lucky we didn't get our windshield smashed in by golfball-sized hail or worse today. We're glad to be home and glad we're not camping out at Wakarusa Fest. Hope the storms that are hitting northeast Kansas as I write this don't do anything but get all the concert-goers wet. Thanks to robinstorm for the image.


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