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Sunday, August 09, 2009

Adventures In Weather

Before I start, apologies to the people who've commented on my blogs. I'm racing against time right now on my copy edits and I know I'm falling behind. I'll probably fall farther behind since I only have 3 more days that I can work on them.

So last night, I checked the Weather Channel around 7pm or so and the radar was completely clear for my area. We must not be getting the rain they said was headed our way, I thought. This wasn't a huge surprise since 1) the weather people are wrong all the time and 2) it's so dry here that a lot of the storm fall apart as they come in. Satisfied that all was fine, I switched the station to a baseball game and went to work on copy edits.

I noticed it got dark early and I was silently lamenting the loss of daylight and summer as I closed the drapes. Back to copy edits and my game.

About 8:30ish the power went out for an instant, came back on, went out again for a longer stretch before coming back on to stay. The laptop stayed on since it runs on battery, but my cable box takes forever to recycle when the electricity is gone. And I thought I heard something. I cocked my head like a dog trying to get a better read on it, but the house was closed up tight, the air conditioner running, and the laptop fan isn't quiet. I couldn't decide for sure and then the phone rang.

I groused as I went to answer it because I was sure it was my dad and I was busy with copy edits. It was my dad, but he was calling to tell me there was a tornado warning.

I had trouble believing it. Radar had been clear not that long ago and it wasn't even raining or anything. I tried to get the cable box to come online faster, but it took it's own sweet time. Since a tornado had actually been spotted and the storm was apparently headed right for me, I started gathering up things to haul to the basement. Copy edits and the laptop I use all the time to write went down first. Then went the netbook, the other laptop, the Kindle ebook reader, and the iPod. Um, yeah, I started realizing I have a lot of gadgets.

I forgot the flashlight, something I didn't realize until about the same time the storm was predicted to be in my area. I decided to chance it and raced upstairs to grab one. I have an old boombox in the basement that I listened to last year during severe weather, but last night it would not work. I fiddled with it, trying to get some news. Nothing. Dead.

The laptop and my connection to the local TV stations' websites were my only way to track the weather. (There's no television in the basement.) As I watched the storm approach, I Twittered about it and a lot of great people replied. (Thank you!) I started shopping online for a weather radio. Clearly, I needed one--preferably a model with a crank so that if the batteries were dead, I could still get it to work.

I waited and waited, but heard nothing. No rain. No wind. No hail. I refreshed the radar loop page, and it looked as if the storm had pulled just far enough north to miss me. I wasn't ready to leave the basement yet. Just because the orange/red wasn't directly above me didn't mean there couldn't be a funnel cloud, right? And the warning was still in place so I waited some more.

After what seemed like forever, but was probably about half an hour, I went back upstairs. The storm had passed to the east, it was clear again, and I'm not even sure it rained here. Maybe it did, but lightly enough that I didn't hear it in the basement. ::shrug::

I reached two conclusions while I waited. First was that I needed to buy a chair of some sort for the basement. The folding lawn chair I was sitting on was not comfortable. Second, I needed to set up my new chair in a different place than where I was sitting. You see, I was within 10 feet of the water heater. Not a smart place to be sitting. Three years in the house and I just figured that one out. Talk about a great big duh!

That was my Saturday night weather adventure. Actually, it was more of a misfire than an adventure, but hey, I'm very glad I can say that. The tornado caused damage north of me, in a suburb where one of my coworkers lives. I'm hoping he and his family are okay.