Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Tornado Time: North vs. South

I grew up in the relative north (compared to Arkansas): Nebraska. I remember scores of tornado warnings and citywide sirens blaring during tornado season. I had classmates whose homes were destroyed. My high school's roof was damaged by a very weak tornado just before my freshmen year, leading to very interesting classroom assignments in that fall term.

Yet, I also remember being way more comfortable during tornado season than I do here in the South.

In Nebraska, we always had basements, and I usually slept in the basement (three of four houses I lived in). Growing up, a tornado warning basically meant watching TV in the basement. That's it. Only once or twice did we actually get under the stairs or other cover.

Not so, here.

Here in NW Arkansas, there are few basements. Where my father lives in North Texas, there are also few basements. I hear that in Oklahoma, the state with the highest ratio of tornadoes to land area, there are also few basements, though many do have storm cellars.

So, twice this spring we've ended up in the bathtub. Just sitting there. Singing or generally trying to lighten the mood. Uncomfortable. Cramped. Four of us. And for some reason, in our neighborhood I have yet to hear tornado sirens. Our phones have been our only lifelines.

Give me a Nebraska tornado warning any day.

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