Some thoughts, in miscellaneous order:
The town in which I took up residence for approximately two years was recently subjected to what an acquaintance is calling an “inland hurricane.” I don’t know yet if this storm has gotten it’s official Tornado Certification (turns out the test is harder than it looks), but the pictures I’ve seen tell a pretty devastating story. On an actually-serious note, it seems near-miraculous that not more were injured, particularly on the campus, where winds blew out windows (frames and all) in the residence halls.
This part of the country is intimately acquainted with such powerful storms. The first year I lived there, I experienced some scary-ass straight line winds, tornado warning siren and all. It’s the only time I’ve ever slept in my shoes (on purpose*).
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It’s hard for me to imagine living somewhere with no such weather. I went to Albuquerque in March, and was informed that they don’t get “severe storms.” Wait, what?
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After June 5, it’ll be nice to go back to respectfully ignoring tornado sirens again. Now, they jolt me from sleep, my first instinct to round up the residents and corral them into the first-floor hallways. Before I had a job that required such diligence, I could wake up, turn on the weather, and just make myself generally ready in case something happened. But the area of Missouri in which I grew up has the adorable policy of sounding sirens when a tornado has been spotted in a neighboring county (or, at least, this was the case when I last lived there year-round), so I rarely had to actually “seek shelter.” The unspoken agreement between my family was generally: As long as you stay back a healthy distance, tornado, we promise to at least go to the lowest level of the house and give the appearance of reverence.
* Incidentally enough, the only other time(s) I’ve slept wearing shoes also happened during the same two years I lived up there.