I moved a lot as a kid. And, I don’t mean from neighborhood to neighborhood. I mean big moves. By the age of 3, I’d lived in Texas and Illinois. By 9, I’d added Tennessee and North Carolina to the mix. With each move, I quickly became aware of our geographic location (re: I was a total nerd and loved looking at the Atlas and figuring out where everything was). That was just a typical part of my life. And that was back when we didn’t have internet to Google everything.
Living in Illinois, tornadoes were a fact of life. We had sirens that would go off (tests and the real deal). Everyone knew what they meant. We had regular drills in school and we all wanted to be that kid who was tasked with making sure the windows were left slightly open in the classroom as we headed for the hallways and bathrooms. (Note: that window thing is a total myth and a waste of time.) Even though I was in elementary school back then, I had a decent sense of where we were located.
As we moved to Tennessee, we initially lived in a small area (it wasn’t even an actual town back then) outside of Nashville. I had a much better sense of our location because I was older and because watching the news meant hearing about Nashville and its suburbs, but not about our tiny little place, so I had to pay attention to actually learn anything about Nolensville. Both of my parents actually worked in the area (Nashville and Franklin), so that also forced me to be a little more aware. I can remember waking up early one morning and thinking the sky looked really weird outside (again, before smartphones, weather alert apps, etc.) I turned on the TV and realized there was a tornado warning for our county. (That was back when warnings were issued for the entire county instead of just the area in danger… meaning a tornado in Garner would generate a warning that included Wake Forest and Cary too.) I recall waking up my dad, but by then, the warning had ended. Remembering that makes me fully appreciate the weather apps and phone alerts of today.
After the April 2011 tornado outbreak in North Carolina that generated a damaging tornado just miles from our house, Abby became much more aware of our geographic location and the surrounding area. Sitting under your stairs during a warning as they call out streets you recognize on the radio/news can be scary, but also empowering. I think Abby realized that knowledge was her best bet in situations like that. While I don’t want my kids to live in fear of the weather, I do want them to have knowledge and respect for the weather.
By the time I arrived home from work yesterday afternoon, there were already numerous tornado warnings for areas east of Wake County. As soon as we walked in the door, the news was on and it stayed that way until the weather cleared. While we don’t plant ourselves in front of the TV and stop everything, we do keep it on in the background so if something changes suddenly, we’re aware. Katie was a little annoyed that we kept watching all the pretty colors on TV (radar) instead of Anna and Elsa (Frozen), but she got over it 🙂
My prayers go out to everyone who has been impacted by the tornadoes and flooding across the Midwest and South over the past week or so. And, prayers for safety for today as the severe weather threat is elevated across much of our area.