Saturday, December 11, 2004

Just part of Oklahoma life

It's Saturday. And it's noon.

Those of you who live in Oklahoma know what's happening right now, don't you? Yep, the tornado sirens are being tested.

Every week. Saturday at noon. WhooooOOOOOOOOOOOOOO they go for a couple of minutes.

We live with it, barely noticing it. It's like a whistle in a factory town, just marking the time. The state clock, if you will.

We live with it, because we know there are a lot of times each year we have to rely on that sound -- unless of course, we have televisions turned on with the world's best meteorologists letting us know what intersection a tornado is hanging out at.

If you've ever been a child growing up in Oklahoma, you learn how to read the weather for yourself at an early age. It's almost instinctive. You can read the clouds, feel the air pressure and recognize the color of the sky long before there's a hint of that "It sounded like a freight train" sound. If you hear that sound, it's too late.

Even so, we listen for those whistles too, because we don't go outside as much as we did 40 years ago, and too often these critters of destruction sneak up on us when Gary England isn't on our TV sets. The sirens aren't as specific as Doppler 2000 radar or whatever version they use now, that shows the street maps. They are intended to warn a huge populated area, just in case someone is out in the back yard hoeing the veggie patch.

Well, it's December, not much chance of a tornado today, but we never take such things for granted. There was a tornado in the area a month ago today, which is pretty unusual.

Whoops, it's nearly a quarter past tornado whistle, and I need to run. I've got to get to a Christmas ornament exchange at 1. See you all later.


Erudite Redneck said...

Ha! We just had our weekly (when we're home) high-noon-on-Saturday chuckle when the sireens went off -- and so did our primary dog, Riker, the Pembroke Welsh Corgi. Riker moos like a cow when the sireens go off. :-) Our auxiliary dog, the allegedly miniature Dachshund, Bailey, never knows what all the fuss is about, although he barks at everything else.

And hey, we had a tornado come dang close to our place when I was little one December. I remember Mama opening both doors to the house and the wind swooshing through, blowing some of the fancy glass bulbs off our Christmas tree, scaring a little bitty ER and makin' him cry! It blew the east end of our big haybarn plumb off. The next morning Mama soothed little ER by allowing as to how it was not the tornado that damaged the barn, just the wind from its tail as it went over. I was grown before it dawned on me how sweet Mama was being, since the wind off the tail of a tornado is PART OF THE DADGUM TORNADO! :-)

Dr. ER said...

Dangit, ER beat me to the story about our Corgi mooing on cue with the sye-reens each Saturday. But he can't beat me in terms of tornado closeness, 'cause I was IN the one in Wichita Falls, TX in 1979. In it. In an 8 X 8 cellar next door with 16 other people, one baby and a guy smoking in there. Mom freaked 'cause the guy was smoking, so he put the cigarette out on the wall. Daddy and three other guys held the cellar door shut. All I remember was looking down as my legs moved involuntarily. I said to mom, "Mama, my legs won't stop moving." I doubt she heard me, but it was pure adrenaline making 'em move. Pure fright. And then it was over. And yes, they sound like trains when they are directly over your head. And they are scary as all get out. So tell me why I love tornado season so much? I just do!

FrenziedFeline said...

Before I spent a summer in Denver, I probably would have been glad it was only once a week! That whole summer in the Rockies those sirens went off every afternoon, and not as a test, as soon as I got home from work. My roomie was never home at that time, so I sat there all by myself.

The sirens scared me, and being alone only added to the angst. However, by the end of summer I was used to them and learned to love thunder, too! :)