Feb 062008

The whole family spent a short-but-not-insignificantly-so time sitting on the floor in the master bathroom early this morning. From 3:20 to 3:45, maybe?

I love northern Alabama, but as with anywhere, there are trade-offs. A big one here is that a time or three a year, your chances of being indiscriminately thrown hundreds of yards and/or just ripped to pieces increase markedly:

Our weather radio‘s warning tone is lengthy, piercing, and nearly incomprehensibly irritating—desirable qualities in such a device. So it sounded last night, and when the tone stopped and the voice started, it described a tornado warning and named our part of the county. So we collected children, sat in the bathroom floor, and watched our local six-figure meteorologist on my little pocket television that won’t work next year.

With current technology and competent personnel, tornado path tracking is remarkably accurate. It’s to the point that they can list community/landmark names and times for you (example: 3:21 Belle Mina, 3:23 Greenbrier, 3:26 Burgreen Gin, and so forth). Last night they drew a southwest-to-northeast line on the map that went directly over our house.

We escaped. Mathematically, any one family pretty much always will. Others didn’t. God be with them.

So our biggest problem wound up being the lost sleep. It was only about an hour start to finish, but you know how if you miss the wrong hour, it’s as if you never went to sleep at all? Well, it was the wrong hour last night. I was already tired when I left this morning, and coupled with our workout today, I was going to sleep at my desk about 3:30. So I took a little leave and came home for a nap, which lasted until nearly 7, and now I’m headed for horizontal barely three hours later. ‘Night.

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 Posted by at 10:01 pm

  4 Responses to “Chaos, meteorological and circadian”

  1. I, too, was stumbling in a fog trying to teach class last night. My students were trying so hard to stay alert. I was heartbroken, though, over those deaths. Those 3 that died in the same family left behind a sibling, who happened to be a good friend of one of my students. I cannot imagine the horror of losing the rest of my immediate family in one fell swoop.

  2. I cannot tell you how glad I am to hear that you are all well. This is scary, scary shit.

    I wrote a post today about the Blizzard of ’78. It’s not nearly so dramatic or immediate as tornadoes, but serves as a reminder that we’re all just playthings in the face of severe weather.

  3. I was up, too. Turns out one of my neighbors is right neighborly … he came around pounding on our doors (I live in a one of 4 little duplexes in the Greenbrier area) to make sure we knew what was coming. But nothing came. Thankfully. But the weather nut in me was a wee bit disappointed … but not enough to outweigh the freakiness of being awake at 3am listening to Dan rattle off the arrival time over my very roof. *blink*

    People make fun of Dan (and all the local TV weather folks) because they say he gets excited, nay orgasmic, during severe weather. Being a weather junky, I can totally understand the excitement, the “something’s going to happen, but where and what” race, the chance to see your predictions, your gut feelings, come true (which is hard to ever have happen when you’re forecasting the weather), the drive to warn folks and to explain what’s happening and why it’s so serious. We love when the weather acts up … but we also hate the cost … we mourn the cost … If the weather could act up without any one or anything getting hurt, we’d be in weather nirvana.

    It hit me last night just how close we came to serious trouble when, during his 10:25pm weathercast, Dan said “the tornado lifted just 6 miles from Decatur” and didn’t really set back down until it got to northeast Alabama. Wow.

  4. Thing is, I almost defended Dan a little bit in the post, but I cut it as too much of a sidebar.

    I like him. I think he does a good job of talking about weather substantively without sounding patronizing.

    To be fair to “the other side,” he has toned down a bit from his first years here.

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