I live in Tornado Alley in Alabama, a state where basements are a rare commodity. When the threat of severe weather is mentioned, people are on edge. Everyone watches the weather and hangs on every word said by James Spann, the local celebrity meteorologist.
Yesterday was not one of those days.
The threat of thunderstorms was high, but those are normal and not that scary. I checked Spann’s blog several times yesterday to weigh whether I should work out or go home after school. My desire not to be a lazy slug, combined with what seemed like a relatively low threat of severe weather had me convinced to risk it and go to kickboxing.
There I was, punching a bag when one of the ladies at the gym stepped inside and said, “the tornado sirens are going off”. We barely heard her over the blaring music, and we definitely didn’t hear the sirens. Rather than panic though, we just kept working out. We did finally turn the TV on to see what was going on.
From what we could tell, the storm was south of us and headed away, so everything seemed fine. I checked to see if my neighborhood was in the path, but it didn’t look as though the threat was anywhere near us.
But then I picked up my cell phone while on a water break.
I had seven missed texts. Seven.
They all basically said “Are y’all okay? I saw on the news a tornado touched down near you”.
Hmm. Well, shoot. I had no idea. I assured everyone that I was fine; I was happily relieving stress and completely oblivious to the devastation happening not far from my home. I texted to make sure my husband was okay–he was–and went back to my workout, hoping that everything would still be fine when I left.
Let me tell you when they said it touched down near our neighborhood, they were not wrong. Trees, power lines, even a church steeple had been destroyed about a mile from our house. The road was impassable due to debris, trees, and emergency vehicles. Power was out for almost twelve hours. It was dark and raining when I headed home last night, and I had to take an alternate route, so it wasn’t until this morning with the sun shining brightly on the path of destruction that I saw the full extent of the damage.
Scary stuff. And way too close for comfort.
I’m trying to write for 31 days straight with the Slice of Life challenge from Two Writing Teachers.