This morning, we had our first brush with the possibility of a tornado. Yep, tornado. As in like in “Twister” the movie. Recall: flying cows, trucks, running for your life and hiding in a shelter.
Texas is part of what you call the “Tornado alley“, states that have the highest occurrences of tornadoes. We don’t get tornadoes as often as Kansas, but the possibility of it happening is there. In the short time that we have been living here, there have been tornado occurrences, but usually in the cities and towns outside of the DFW metroplex. They’ve said that the tornadoes are more likely to form in areas with wide open spaces for the funnel to touch ground. We lived in a suburb, which was growing with multiple real estate developments, didn’t seem like a hotbed for tornado formation.
Every once in a while, sometimes on perfect, cloudless sunny days, the warning sirens go off. Then at the end of a few minutes of wailing, an announcer would say “Testing. Testing.”
Last night, local news viewers were all warned of the possibility of a tornado that would form in a number of counties, which included ours. So we shuttered our open windows, which we have kept open to enjoy the cooler Fall temperatures, charged our mobile phones and dived into bed to sleep. The winds were howling, pounding against the walls, the skies ripe and red, a sign that there was rain coming.
I’m not a light sleeper, unfazed by noise nor light; I can sleep through almost anything. But I was woken up by wailing of sirens. Where was it coming from? Was it someone’s car alarm? But that particular sound was one that I’ve heard before. Sirens! I shook The Husband, who was sleeping soundly despite the noise. “Tornado sirens! Hayan na ang tornado!” I stood up from bed, grabbed my phone and laptop, called Obi to come and hide with me in the bathroom-walk-in closet. It was the safest place in the apartment. We had no basements to act as underground storm shelters. It was 3:56AM.
The Husband hesitantly stood up and peeked through the blinds like a kid seeing his first snow fall. It was possibly our first tornado, but I didn’t want to see it. It was too dangerous to be near the windows.
The sirens continued for a little over five minutes. “Tornado warning! Tornado warning! Tornado warning!” the announcer went. I checked my phone’s weather app. “Tornado warning” the screen screamed in bright red. The emergency alert started beeping. “Take shelter now.” Was this really happening?
“HUY!” I called The Husband to the bathroom. He shuffled to the bathroom-walk-in closet, where Obi and I were huddled – struggling to keep awake, check what was happening and what to do next. “The tornado warning is until 4:12AM.” I read the warning from the National Weather Service. Time check: 4:01AM. I was so sleepy, tempted to come out of hiding and crawl back under the covers. I wanted to go out and tune in to the news, but the TV was out in the living room, right behind the window. Where we were was the safest place to be, so I just settled checking the social media pages of our favorite local news channel for news.
Sirens were sounding off in cities around ours. The wind continued to whistle and howl. Then silence. Time check: 4:09AM.
“Wala naman eh.” The Husband trudged back to his tornado viewing spot and then settled into bed. I was unsure whether it was safe, all clear, to resume sleep. Obi looked up at me with sleepy eyes as if to say “Let’s go to bed, Momma. Please.” I did one final check on the latest screen shot of the weather radar.
Time check: 4:13AM. Thank God it’s over. Thank God nothing happened. I crawled back into bed and hugged The Husband. Obi bounced on the bedside, wanting to go out to wee. The rain finally fell in buckets. Thunder roared. Lightning flashed.
“It’s raining. You can pee later. Go back to bed.” And he did.