I've already spoken about the wind in this area. Unlike the bursts of high speed winds in my old home in the desert southwest, when the winds begin here they are high and constant. Overall, in fact, the weather is just... strange. At least for someone from the desert, that is.
Take the thunder. We've had a lot of it. I haven't, however, heard one loud, deafening crash. Instead, the thunder here is a low rumble.
Yesterday it was constant. I could hardly tell the difference between the end of one thunder clap and the beginning of the next. It sounded like one big, low rumble... that went on for about 30 minutes.
Then the alert came.
We were under an extreme storm alert. Several towns in the area were getting gigantic hail, some pieces measuring as large as 1.75 inches. The storm was also causing bursts of wind that were reading as high as 60 mph. People were warned to get inside a sturdy structure and stay away from windows.
Knowing that storm directions can easily change, and recognizing that the towns under threat were under 15 miles away from my house, I elected to follow the directions that were given to the nearby towns.
Naturally, as soon as I got my daughter and myself away from windows, the hail started here. I could tell that the hail hitting our home was much smaller than the 1.75 inches that were reported elsewhere, and I was glad. We stayed away from the windows, anyway, just to be safe. This storm was just feeling... odd. I don't know if the area is used to things like this or not, but I was uncomfortable.
Then I got my second alert:
Well, great, I thought. Just great.
Have I mentioned I have an overwhelming fear of tornadoes?
So I told my husband about it, grabbed my daughter, tried to grab my dogs, then headed for the basement. No more than 15 minutes later, the storm warning was cancelled.
I was totally blown away by how quickly the weather can change here.
And I learned a few things:
1) We couldn't hear the sirens. The only reason I knew anything was because of the storm alert app I had on my phone. It's a great app, and I highly recommend it.
2) I need to include my dogs in my makeshift storm drills. My 92 pound dog is terrified of the basement stairs, so I had to go into the basement without the dogs since my daughter's safety takes priority. Thankfully, since my husband went down to the basement after my daughter and I, he was able to grab my large dog by the collar and lead him down. The small dog happily went to the basement with them, since her only concern was staying with the scared large dog. That brings me to the last point:
3) I need to be sure my daughter recognizes the storm app on my phone as a "basement time" announcement. The sirens can be heard when the day is calm, and so she recognizes their importance, but since she couldn't hear them she assumed I just wanted to play in the basement. She therefore stopped halfway down the stairs and waited for me. This is why I had to choose between my daughter and my dogs.
I have a lot of family training to do.
Honestly, this probably wasn't as scary as I thought it was. I'm new to the area, so it's very likely that this is just business as usual for people who are used to the climate here. In my mind, though, it's better to be safe than sorry.
I'll be performing storm drills using my phone and including my dogs in the future!
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