Last night was an interesting storm night around her. For whatever reason, I entirely missed all warnings of severe thunderstorms until I was kicked out of the YMCA pool due to lightning. Then the “tornado” sirens went off. Then all hell broke loose and I was confined to the coffee shop I was in because of the hail.
Later on, after leaving the coffee shop (because they closed) I had the privilege of observing our local emergency services pull a woman out of a car using a backboard. The EMS personnel were working in a pounding rain—slanting in at approximately 60 degrees due to wind—with hail. I was impressed. Couldn’t get any images because all I had with me was the crappy canon kit lens for the Digital Rebel, but I did get a nice shot of the lights.
I stopped to get some gas when the “tornado” sirens went off again! The storm was exhibiting some righteous fury at this point and I ran inside to find out if there was actually a tornado coming. Nobody knew. I hid inside until the majority had passed, then went home.
The county will sound these sirens for three to five minutes when:
* The National Weather Service issues a severe thunderstorm warning with a tornado watch.
* The National Weather Service issues a tornado warning.
* A tornado has been spotted or reported by public safety officials.
* Additional weather warnings are issued.
* National Security events.
* Hazardous material incidents where evacuation or other action may be warranted.
Ignoring the last two bullet points, I will apparently hear the sirens whenever a severe weather warning is in effect. I’m not sure I approve. A severe thunderstorm is dangerous, yes, but you’d be relatively safe just sitting in your car listening to the radio for while. A tornado is deadly, and requires shelter. Last night’s sirens taught me that I don’t necessarily need to set up the Emergency Cat Transfer Device™ if I hear the sirens; I may just be listening for our brand new roof to be stripped off and pounded by hail. The one requires us to go to the basement, the other just requires us to fill out insurance forms.