I live in what’s fondly known as Tornado Alley. I hate the spring storm season. And in fact, I’ve recently realized none of my books take place during the spring. I equate spring with storms, not with lovely flowers, soft breezes, and birds singing.
It used to be that our area of Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas were the primary places for an outbreak of tornadoes. Thus, the name. However, that has changed in recent years and more and more locations have experienced these dreadfully scary storms.
We were wakened at 2 am on Wednesday morning with the alarms going off on our phones. Not just a severe thunderstorm warning, but a Tornado Warning. (A warning means a tornado is likely. A watch means there’s a possibility of storms or tornadoes.) The sirens went off almost immediately. That sound means take shelter. Now.
I took time to hastily shut down the computer, which I’d meant to do before going to bed because Pete Delkus on Channel 8 News told us what to expect. I forgot.
Bob and I began gathering stuff to go in the closet.
Here’s the deal. We prepared to go into different closets!
Originally, when we considered buying this lakehouse, one of the first things we looked for was what we could use for the tornado shelter. In our old house, it was the pantry built in under the staircase in the center of the house.
Perfect. Enough space for us and the two pups we had at the time.
At the lakehouse, we decided the closet near the utility room would be best. It didn’t have an outside wall and was really the only space in our small lake cottage that didn’t have an outside wall. This outside wall thing is a big deal in seeking protection from tornadoes or any storm with high winds. Also, being near plumbing. Apparently, the structure is stronger there.
Closet is on the right. Tight fit.
You remember I broke my ankle late last May right after we moved in, and I spent June and July in a wheel chair and later a walker. Storms during that time mostly happened in the daytime while Bob was at work. I couldn’t get into the closet we’d originally selected to be the storm space. I could roll into our bathroom/master closet area, which has two outside walls, but was sufficiently large for me to get in with my wheel chair, Charley, and later the walker.
Right and left side of large tornado closet, which we’ve filled up.
Time passed, I got up on my own two feet. We didn’t have storms for several months. The next time we did, Charley and I went to the master closet. Why? Because that’s what we had a history of doing.
Wednesday morning’s storm was the first one Bob had been home for and thus the confusion. I got ready to go to the master bedroom closet, and he started moving things out of the closet near the washer and dryer. He looked at me like I’d lost my mind. It was a bit tense to say the least. Only funny in retrospect. LOL
We went into our master closet, and fortunately the storm wasn’t as severe as it might have been. We didn’t even lose power, which we almost always do. Other parts of our town weren’t so fortunate.
While we were sitting in the master closet, listening to updates on our phones, Pete Delkus said oh so specifically, “Take cover now in a room with no exterior walls on the ground floor of your house.”
So when we got up Wednesday morning, I told Bob he was right about which closet. I was wrong. (So not fun.) LOL Now my job over the next couple of days—at least before the next storm roars through—is to rearrange the stuff in the “real” tornado closet so we can easily get in and have enough space for Charley, Bob, me, my laptop, make-up, medicines, flashlights, my tax papers (not quite complete), the WIP folder, flashlights (My mother would be proud. After experiencing a tornado in Wichita Falls in the late 60s, she always gave family members flashlights.) and water. Those are my essentials for an emergency.
What are your essentials? Do you have a tornado closet or safe room? Where is it? Do you keep it stocked for an emergency? If you’re nearby, how did you fare in the Wednesday morning storm? Love to hear from you.
If you missed my radio interview last week, here’s the link for the recording.