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Sunday, May 2, 2010

Sometimes Mother Nature can be a Pain

Well, yesterday and last night was an interesting time to say the least. We had been enjoying torrential rain for most of the day yesterday. Undaunted, I headed out for band practice over in Perry County, the next county to the east of me. I should have known right away things were going to be difficult when I found my usual route to the practice hut blocked by water, not just a few puddles, but the whole road covered up by all the swollen creeks for as far as the eye could see.

I turned around and took an alternate route through the town of Linden. Even this was no picnic as I still had to avoid large pools of water as well as gravel and debris washed into the road from nearby higher terrain.

When I finally arrived at band practice I found the yard surrounding the building covered in about 2 inches of water. My feet were soaked. According to my friend, Tony, our guitar player, the water was nearly up to the door of the practice hut earlier.

We carried on until a little after 10PM when frequent lightning flashes and intermittent power outages signaled us it was time to quit (we usually go on until about midnight). Soaking my feet again, I put my belongings in my truck and headed for home.

Lightning filled the night sky in every direction, not just an occasional flash, but a constant light show. Happily it did not rain a drop on me all the way home, although I still had to dodge ponds and debris.

Sweet wifey told me it had been pouring down at home pretty much the whole time I had been gone. I sipped a couple of pina coladas and got ready for bed, hoping to have a quiet peaceful rest. I took a last look at the weather radar. There was some really nasty looking stuff to our west (tornadic storms) but it looked like these were going to track to our north and miss us.

At 3:45 AM we were rudely awakened by the NOAA weather radio: "Tornado WARNING for Decatur County...........this is a DANGEROUS situation. This storm is capable of producing strong to violent tornadoes. Take cover immediately."

These messages are usually not nearly so ominous as this one, I got up and went downstairs to fire up my laptop. I went immediately to the weather underground radar page. I could easily see the supercell approaching from our southwest. I went to the radial wind velocity screen and could see the cloud rotating, as depicted by the interface of red against green in the diagram above. I also looped the image to determine a track and it was evident the storm would pass directly between the towns of Parsons and Decaturville and only slightly to the north of us, by not more than a mile or two. There had also been reports of a tornado to our southwest in the town of Scott's Hill.

"This is not good." I thought.

I got wifey and Penny up and told her to come downstairs and get ready to get in our tornado closet. We had about 20 or 25 minutes advance warning so we sat on the couch watching the radar loop. When the storm finally touched the county line we got in the closet (under the stairs). I still had my laptop, a portable NOAA radio, my police and EMS radios, and my ham radio. We crouched in the closet, and waited and listened.

After all this preparation, all we heard was rain and a few big booms of thunder. The police radio was refreshingly quiet and we never lost power. After about 4:30 AM the radar showed the storm had crossed the Tennessee River and headed off into Perry County. The NOAA radio had already given those folks their warning. We had dodged a bullet.

We exited our shelter, and I called the hospital to see if everything was ok. They had no reports of any damage. As this ominous storm rotated itself across Decatur County, it apparently did not drop a tornado, at least today I have not heard of any reports. We headed back to bed a little before 5AM only to be disturbed a few minutes later by NOAA announcing a flash flood warning for our county. No worries there as we live on a big hill.

Apparently, people in middle Tennessee lost their lives last night and early today, not due to tornadoes, but flooding. I guess getting killed in a flood is not as glamorous as being killed by a tornado, but you're just as dead, nevertheless. Things got rough up around Nashville as even Interstate 24 was closed due to flooding. I heard on the news that the waters came up so fast that people could not escape by driving, rather they had to abandon their cars and run for their lives.......wow.

About mid morning our last tornado watch was lifted. I think we had been under a tornado watch continuously for about the last day and a half. It looks like on the radar, there is nothing but clearing to our west. Thank goodness! I'm ready for a long dry spell.

1 comment:

  1. An accurate account sweetie. Looking at Weather Underground, it appears we have more rain Thursday night and Friday, not sure how long that is supposed to last. Seems the weekends have been stormy.

    Thanks for taking such good care of us.

    Right Truth