Do you remember the song from Wizard of Oz?…”the wind began to switch…the house to pitch…”? You don’t have to be from Kansas to hear the words playing in your head and chuckle with the Munchkins at the Wicked Witches demise! Ahh, the Wizard of Oz…probably the closest many have come to a twister, but if you live in Kansas in the middle of “tornado alley” there are days that you know just what the song was about!
A week ago on Saturday, approximately 98 tornadoes touched down in Kansas. (That was more than a months worth of tornadoes in one day!) I happened to be at my daughters house in Wichita, right in the middle of the action. In my lifetime (which we all know is quite long) I have never seen this kind of extreme weather action in one day. I’ll have to say, it was pretty amazing…and scary. I was worried about my house in Northern, KS…with a tornado heading right to it. Luckily both tornadoes that would affect me hit just a few miles away from each spot. We were safe this time.
There were no deaths in Kansas, and I believe that is because of the advances in forecasting technology and the amazing job that weather spotters and local tv news crews do.This was the Wichita tornado, which destroyed homes and businesses, but took no lives.
For those of you who don’t live in Kansas, let me tell you a bit about “tornado etiquette”.
*most men don’t go to the basement or shelter! Wives and children search for the flashlights, candles, blankets, food and water and prepare a spot (preferrably in the basement, but sometimes in the bathtub to ‘take cover’). Men go out on the porch, look to the sky, and return to the lazy boy and remote.
*women begin to think “what could I not live without”, and carry it all to the basement…photos, the kids favorite blanket, last years tax return…
*women also change their clothes…for some reason tornado watches usually come at night…no, I do not want to be found in my old t-shirt and flip-flops…
*when the electricity goes out, you think “darn, why didn’t I buy that weather radio!”
*if the tornado is getting close some men will change to the “I’m your protector” mode…that is such a double edge sword…what a nice feeling to think he’s protecting me…on the other hand it also means…”this could be really bad, he wouldn’t be down in the basement with me if he weren’t a wee bit scared!”
Please don’t think I take tornadoes lightly. I have seen several tornadoes, and also the devestation that they leave behind. I’ve seen a whole town reduced to rubble, and watched as it has taken years to rebuild. But I have never been the one that was “hit” by a tornado, the one that has lost everything.
This I know, when the tornado is close, when you are wondering if it will “hit” your home, all that matters in that moment is people. Things lose there signifigance. My prayer in the fury of a tornado is “Lord, keep your people safe”. Last week in Kansas, that was the case.