In Maine we’ll get a Blizzard Watch which will turn to a Warning as the storm progresses. Some people go out and buy milk, bread, and candles. These same people may fill water jugs (to drink) and the tub (for flushing and other uses) Others go get gasoline for the generator. Whatever you do to prepare, we all sit and wait usually at least 12 hours. Sometimes we get lots of snow, sometimes a little, and sometimes it misses us altogether.
We have had to sit next to a wood stove to keep warm, light candles to play card games, sleep with extra blankets, and walk the house with flashlights because snow has taken out the electricity. But you take precaution, have some supplies on hand, and do without internet or TV until the power is restored.
Last night in Florida we had a different warning. I woke up around midnight to a thunderstorm that was pretty close. It was about one-one thousand between lightening and thunder, which, if you believe the old saying, means that the storm was about one mile away. At 12:44 my phone sent off a startling alarm. I sprang out of bed, and noticed that Riley was sitting straight up in his bed. He must have heard it in his earphones. I tried to talk to him, but he was still so asleep that he wasn’t making sense. Sure enough the phone alert read, “Tornado Warning until 1:15 a.m. Take shelter now.”
What to Do About a Tornado Warning?
I ran around changing into long pants, finding my Crocs, and trying to wake up Robert. Zoe was dead asleep, and the dog sat calmly on the couch watching me. I grabbed the leash, hooked up the dog, and stepped outside. It was perfectly quiet and no breeze. My next door neighbor climbed out of his camper, too. I said, “You heard the alert too?” He replied that he had, turned back to his wife, and called, “Come on. We need to go now.” I asked where they were going, and he pointed to the concrete bath house.
I went back in and Robert kept asking, “What should we do?” I decided to take Emi out to pee so I could watch the sky. We made our way to the bathhouse. Our neighbor was there right outside the Men’s Room, while his wife and an older gentleman were inside. He and I stood looking at the sky, while watching the weather radar on his phone. The neighbor informed me that he was an emergency responder and thought you shouldn’t take a warning lightly. I texted Robert to bring the kids to the “shelter.”
A Tornado Warning Gathering
Another couple drove up in their truck and parked just outside the bathroom. Finally Riley showed up, followed by Robert, and a very dopey Zoe. A fourth couple walked up with their rambunctious and aggressive dog. We congregated, compared phones, kept the two dogs apart, and watched the night sky.
In all 11 people and 2 dogs showed up at the concrete structure. We were staying in a full campground of 80 sites, so a conservative estimate is 200 people were present, yet only 11 showed up during a Tornado Warning. Maybe this shows that we are from New England and not used to this type of emergency alert.
We’ve experienced a variety of warnings so far — about snakes, alligators, and now tornadoes. All three make me shudder, plan, and take action. None of us walk along the ponds or rivers now that we are south. I watch where I put my feet, keep Emi on a short leash, and prevent her from going into the bushes.
The tornado warning, though, takes the cake; I’m not quite sure how to prepare for that. I guess I’ll just keep my phone on and turned up, keep my shoes near the door, and know we head to the campground cement structure to wait it out.
I’d definitely take a Blizzard Warning to a Tornado Warning any day — as I’ve never sen a Blizzard Warning say “Take Shelter Now.”