Friday, April 11, 2008

The Emergency Broadcast System

I was in the middle of writing my Fashion Fiesta post (stay tuned!) while Wendy watched Bob the Builder when I was rudely interrupted by the Emergency Broadcast System. It was pretty strange to see Bob's mouth moving and hear the grating sound of the EBS.

(What is that sound, anyway? It used to be a pretty straightforward, ear-splitting, dissonant siren, but now it's...strange. I bet they got it from the same sound studio that makes the "chung-chung" sound for Law & Order. I digress.)

I wasn't too surprised to see that we had a tornado warning, because the light had been weird all morning. I think those of you who live or have lived in tornado-prone areas know what I mean by "weird light."

I switched channels to the local weather, where I can be guaranteed of constant radar images and predictions of VW-sized hail and hurricane-force winds, and tracked the storm as it inched closer. The storm cell that headed for us was showing signs of wind shear (never good), and a funnel cloud had been spotted in the town just upstream (upstorm?) of us.

The prudent thing to do was alert James, so that we could all huddle together in our sort-of safe spot and watch the radar. As the storm approached, it started going just north enough to miss us. I went out on the front porch to look at the sky, and it was awesome, in the true sense of the word.

The clouds were ragged and low, and came in shades from charcoal to split pea. Just north of the elementary school (which is right across the street), the lower level clouds were quickly moving east, while the next layer up was quickly moving north. The result was a rather frightening swirling motion, and I was quite relieved it was heading away, towards the unpopulated farmland. (And Carrie - if you read this - rest assured that the school personnel were taking things seriously. They were keeping a close eye on the clouds & the direction of the storm.)

Anyway, it all fizzled out and we were spared serious weather. But it's been a long time since I saw clouds that scary - most of our storms occur at night, when you have no idea what the clouds are doing.


Nichole said...

I watched a storm from the atrium of the library in Columbia once. It was incredible. And then the tornado siren went off, and I high-tailed it downstairs.

Heather said...

Yes, I remember that green sky look. Glad that it veered away - hope no one was hurt.

I always thought that Law & Order sound was a "doink doink."

carrie said...

Oh, yes. The school was very careful. Read my blog for the whole story!