Having just gone through yet another tornado warning around here, it’s been a common topic of discussion this week. I was talking to Lynn Hagan, who’s a social worker and Board Member with the Red Cross (as well as a part-time resident in a tornado-prone place), this morning. She told me of some precautions they’ve been sharing where she is in Mississippi, where tornadoes often come at night. I hadn’t heard of some of these, so I’m sharing.
First, be sure to wear shoes when you go into your shelter area. Think about it. It could be quite a mess with glass, splinters of wood, and sharp pieces of metal when you come out. Shoes are good. I have waterproof steel-toe cowboy boots right outside our shelter, so I’ll be sure to grab them.
Second, keep some kind of head protection in your shelter. They recommended bike helmets, old football helmets, and such. I thought of horse-riding helmets, of course, but I’m not going to store them in the house. I’ll get my bike helmet. I cracked up when Lynn said the weather forecaster on their television station said that if you didn’t have those, you surely have a crawfish pot you can put over your head!
Pillows and blankets are helpful, too, not because you might be sleeping, but to protect your body. I am glad our storm room is also where we store pillowy soft toilet paper and paper towels. I’ll just pile them on.
And finally, here’s a good one. Keep an air horn in your shelter area. What, you don’t own an air horn? Well, what do you do at sporting events, just ring a really loud bell, like I do? Joking…what Lynn said she did was to get the Air Horn app on her phone. She played it for me. It was plenty loud. This will help if you are buried under rubble and people are looking for you.
I am thinking these precautions could be useful in other situations, too. No doubt there are other things I could be storing in the butler’s pantry, so prepper friends, feel free to share other ideas.
Yikes, last night was not a lot of fun for anyone in the vicinity of central Texas. It was our turn for one of those giant gatherings of storm clouds to come through and send tornadoes off hither and thither. None of us were in the least amused.
My son and I both have some PTSD leftover from some tornado experiences when we were younger, so I know he wasn’t thrilled to be instructed to come over to our house where the storm shelter is, just in case. But when the warning happens, not a watch, I go into protective mode. We didn’t build that storm room for nothing!
As I shared yesterday, I’d battened down the hatches outdoors, so by the time the weather got bad, I was cooking dinner and watching the three or four straight hours of weather coverage on the television. I know someone in nearly every place that tornadoes were threatening, so that was nerve wracking. Even the cows were unhappy. They all crowded into the woods, mooing and bawling, which is what I guess they do when they feel a storm coming. The dogs liked THAT.
Cameron and Walker’s Creek (also known as Silver City, another non-existent town) lucked out and were squeezed between the paths of two potential tornadoes. It was so interesting and a little terrifying to look at how very close we were to danger, but it never quite got to us. We just got strong winds and lots of thunder and lightning.
On the other hand, the path was right over where we train horses, so we spent a lot of time worrying about everyone in Milano. And I have many elderly Master Naturalist friends in the Gause area, too, which had me concerned. At last the warnings ended, I heard that Tarrin and her family were all right, and I let the young folks go home.
But after we went to bed, yet another round of storms came and that’s when we got the rain…close to three inches, which we truly needed. Now all the ponds are full, and Walker’s Creek can once again be seen from the house as it does its best to pretend to be a temporary river.
The horses are enjoying the water in the arroyo and the chickens seemed fine this morning. The dogs survived, but were not thrilled, to say the least. We heard lots of news of damage to places in Round Rock, near where we used to live. Many friends got storm damage, especially coworkers at Dell. And we worry about the towns between here and Temple, which also got it bad.
I’ll be driving by some of the places that were hit tomorrow, and I hope not to see the amount of devastation we saw last time a tornado came through. These weren’t too big, though, thankfully. The storms did take down the main weather radar we use for a while, though. It’s like they wanted to be incognito.
Spring in Texas, wow. From the perfect day to a perfectly awful storm in 24 hours!
Here’s a quote from the KMIL website (I’d link to it, but it’s not a permanent link):
(CENTRAL TEXAS) Mother Nature reared its ugly head Monday afternoon as a severe storms and tornadoes ripped through much of Texas. Tornado warnings and severe thunderstorm warnings were the order of the day Monday afternoon and evening for a wide swath of Central Texas. Multiple tornadoes are thought to have touched down, including several in Central Texas. Milam County Sheriff Mike Clore reported damage in the 5000 block of FM1915, the 6000 block of FM1916, and the 6000 block of FM908. Damage included a barn, a residence, metal buildings, and a roof that was blown off. There were also multiple reports of power lines down. Much of Thorndale was without power this morning because of downed lines. Sheriff Clore also indicated that a trio of roads are closed to traffic this morning. Those closures include CR442, CR445, and FM486 at Brushy Creek. The National Weather Service has since confirmed a tornado touched down in southern Milam County. Funnel clouds were also spotted near Rosebud.
Whew. It’s been a rough couple of days. It was time for the annual spring flood! We needed the rain, though, as we hadn’t had any appreciable rain in three weeks, according to my husband.
We had a really strong band of rain come through yesterday, and we got the long side of the front. Lots of rain ensued. Then in mid afternoon, the tornado sirens went off in town, and we got reports of touchdowns not too far away.
So, Lee and I joined all five dogs in our fine storm room for over an hour while the system touched down four times, the last one just a few miles from us.
We were surprised at how well the dogs did in the little space, but it did keep the sound away. The wind broke a few things but we were okay.