Editor's Notebook: Tornado Time Is Serious Business

April 30, 2011 12:31 AM

100 Ideas charlene profileI love watching storms roll across our mid-Missouri farm. The wraparound porch on our two-story farmhouse makes a perfect place to revel in the show Mother Nature presents. I’m not a fraidy cat when it comes to storms, but one of the reasons I love watching them from home is that I know I can race down to the basement for shelter! Where we live, storms can quickly move from thunder and lightning to funnel clouds. We’ve ridden out several storms hunkered down in the basement with the weather radio, seeing items blow by the window wells and the windbreak trees virtually lying flat on the ground. But none of these episodes holds a candle to the harrowing experiences I’ve had while traveling in the spring.

The funniest incident happened early in my career in Iowa. I honestly don’t remember where I was, but I’ll never forget the looks on the faces of the family who helped harbor me from the
storm. Tornadoes were sighted all around, the sky was turning daytime into night and all the farmers in the area were racing for cover. As the wind roared and it became obvious that this was no time to be in a rental car, I whipped into a farmstead, following a tractor in from the country road.

The entire family was racing to the basement. I rolled out of my rental and ran right in behind them. We were all down in the basement before they even realized I was there! I did some fast talking filled with apologies, and they were incredibly gracious. All of us knew that tornadoes are serious business.

I’ve often wished I could reconnect with this family. If you read this account and know it was you, shoot me an e-mail!

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