Tornado Warning

Chester the cat hid under the bed.
An appropriate place, since tornado warnings suggest covering oneself with a mattress.
I grabbed Princess the cat and we headed into the walk-in closet where we could watch the storm through a window.
The thunder roared so long and loud outside that I wasn’t sure if it was thunder or the freight-train type roar of an approaching tornado.
I wasn’t taking any chances.
The winds had picked up, as had the lightening and rain.
The tornado warning on my phone had made it quite clear that something was on its way.
The tornado warning on the tv cemented it.
We had to take cover.
No ifs, ands or buts.
The skies were so dark it was like there was an eclipse.
And it was only 6 o’clock on a long July evening.
By 6:30 it was almost over.
The winds had stopped.
The rain had diminished.
And the thunder had become low growls as opposed to full on roars.
Perhaps we were through the worst of it.
Perhaps a tornado had struck somewhere, and the storm was continuing on its way, rolling over Lake Simcoe.
The tornado warning was a reminder of the storm that struck two years ago, in July 2021.
I remember getting the tornado warning on my phone that afternoon, and then on the tv.
I remember the high winds and the dark skies.
I remember looking out the back screen door at the rain and thunder and lightening.
Then I remember hearing the sirens.
A tornado had struck south Barrie, just a few kilometres away.
No one had been killed thankfully, but there were some injuries, and dozens of homes were severely damaged.
My sister-in-law, who lives in Alabama, a virtual tornado alley, told me quite sternly that I should not have “looked for the storm” out the back deck screen door.
A tornado had just rolled through their neighbourhood in Birmingham and they were “watching for it” in their garage when it approached so quickly they barely had time to make it safely inside.
Point taken.
Which is why I headed for the closet this time.
I know that we are supposed to head for the basement, but I have a fear that the house will just topple in and bury us there and that will be that.
And so, I took my chances in an interior closet, well away from doors and windows at the very least.
That same day back in July 2021 I had an appointment scheduled for a Covid 19 vaccine shot.
I called the pharmacy which was in Innisfil and told the pharmacist that we’d had a tornado here in Barrie. Could I still come in for a vaccine?
“Sure!” he said. “No problems here!”
Just a few short kilometres away, no tornadoes, no damage, no worries at all.
I told him I may be a bit late.
When I left my house, I didn’t have any clue as to the devastation that had happened, and that would unfold before me.
It started when one road was closed heading eastbound.
I headed west.
Then a full stop on the main road south.
Trees covered the road; uprooted garbage bins and trees toppled over at the base littered the area.
I could see the shingle ripped of numerous homes in the neighbourhood.
It was like a war zone.
I was thinking that perhaps I should have stayed home.
But I couldn’t look away.
I made it to the pharmacy for my Covid vaccine.
A day that will be forever etched in my memory.
And a vivid reminder that we need to take Tornado Warnings seriously and remain vigilant in this new world of climate change.

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