Saturday, April 08, 2006

April Cyclones

Our local news channel is usually corny and amateurish; but when it comes to tornados, they have great computers and competent meteorologists who keep you updated and even better, they cut out all the commercials for hours. This is an example of community television at its best. Saw it coming on the radar around 5 pm, big cells headed right for Summertown. We are usually safe from anything coming directly out of the west as the eroded ridges east of the Tennessee River often act like a ship's prow or an icebreaker and send weather glancing off to the north or south of us. Trouble is brewing when we get flanked from the south like we did yesterday. The winds were coming up across northern Mississippi and Alabama to the southwest of us and would be avoiding the protective 'prow' to visit destruction upon our heads. So I packed up the guitars and put them under the bed, started filling water jugs, grabbed a knapsack and filled it with valuables and got ready to head out of the house to somewhere safer. Sat here in front of the 'puter with my sneakers and jacket on, the backpack by my feet. Then the satellite connection went down but I still had a general idea of what was happening thru internet weather (good old dial-up).

Fortunately, the winds were not very strong around here. We got plenty of rain and lightning. Later in the evening, some members of the sangha arrived to play music, but we ended up sitting in a circle, talking, sipping tea and counting the time between lightning flashes and thunder to judge how close the hit was and whether it was safe enough to warm up the amps. The flash and boom never stopped and we eventually fell over and called it a night. Tornado warnings continued to 4 am; almost twelve hours. Used to be we were beyond the extreme eastern edge of what was once dubbed 'tornado alley'; seems like the boundaries should be redrawn.

Over 36 folks were killed this week by twisters in Tennessee. Blessings and strength to those who lost loved ones or their homes.

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