Wednesday, May 25, 2011
Like a scene out of "Independence Day," the morning sky in Kansas City brewed with heavy green cumulonimbus clouds - the type of clouds that form tornadoes.
I've witnessed these emerald anomalies on a few occasions and from my experience, when the clouds turn green, you can bet you're gonna catch a glimpse of a twister! That is exactly what happened here today.
If looking up at the sky wasn't enough to warn me of the eerie danger that lurked on the horizon when I woke up today, the city's tornado warning siren was sounding outside and the Emergency Broadcasting System was alerting loudly across the bottom of all channels on the T.V.
I thought about where to hide. The corner of the basement where the foundation of the house is most underground - That's where I'd go. I thought of southern Missouri and the unwavering hit that those folks in Joplin took barely two days ago by a gigantic tornado with 190mph winds! People, cars, animals, trees, literally everything ripped off the ground and sucked up into a whirlwind in the sky. It happened a few years ago here, too. Just two blocks away from where I live. Houses missing all except their foundations. I thought about leashing my dogs up to the pipe in the basement bathroom.
However, when I peeked outside, the trees were completely still and there was no rain in sight. I was in the "eye" of the weather pattern, a complete calm before the storm. The weather radar on T.V. showed the severe "red splotches" approaching my house, and the rotation of the storm hovered over the city as a whole, lingering, cycling, and promising severity. The texts started rolling in on my Droid about tornado sightings and the local weatherman confirmed a touchdown in nearby Overland Park, KS. Luckily the tornado was weak, the damage minimal and the storm moved on.
The rain began in my area, starting lightly and then increasing in intensity. The wind blew it one direction and then the opposite and I decided it was time to get underground. Luckily, the golf ball sized hail missed me by about five miles sparing the damage to our cars. The sky darkened and if it wasn't for the fact that it was noon, I would have guessed it 8pm. A couple of twisters began to form over cities to the immediate north and east of me (less than 5mi away), but no touchdowns.
Phew! What a relief!
It's days like this one when I really think of how temporary life is and count all of my blessings. I think the panic in Kansas City, MO was greatly intensified by the week's prior devastation in Joplin and the fact that so many have deep personal connections there. I pray for all of those who have nothing left - no house, no car, no family - all stripped away in the blink of an eye and I pray for those who the storm has not yet met.
If you would like to get involved and feel like volunteering or donating to the cause, I found a ton of great info here.
Also, photographer of the picture featured above, Scott Cook, has set up his own relief fund:
If you would like an 8X10 of this print, please send $15 to his paypal acct, email@example.com and include your address. Proceeds will be donated to Joplin, MO Tornado Recovery.
As always, thanks for reading! Be safe out there!