I haven't experienced a tornado but I remember my mom grabbing me from the bathtub when I was very young, wrapping me in a blanket, and carrying me into the basement where we stayed for what felt like a long time, waiting out a storm. Growing up in southern Ohio there were regular tornado watches and warnings but none that came close to my home so I came to recognize the strange colored sky that precedes a storm but never felt or heard the rumbling of a funnel cloud on my street.
Two weeks ago, I woke up in a hotel in Birmingham, AL to blustery winds and contradictory news reports. The local news instructed us to take shelter while the national forecast said the tornadoes would pass to the north of us. I asked the hotel what their plan was should a tornado touch down and they said we'd all be corralled in the first floor ballroom but the guys at the concierge desk didn't seem worried. Within a few hours we were driving south to Florida, watching the Weather Channel. I checked in with my mom and she told me that Cincinnati had been spared and that the tornado cut a path south of the city, moving east.
South of the city is Kentucky and one of the towns leveled on March 2 was West Liberty. I just spent an hour watching tornado videos on YouTube, at the raw shaky footage of people going, "Oh my Gawd!" and "Holy crap!" as they film the cloud cover racing in their direction, relatives in the background yelling, "Seriously Jason, get inside NOOOW!" In this situation I would definitely be the screaming relative as there's very little storm chaser in me. In fact, I would be in the bathtub with a hardback book over my head as the tub is now my go-to for emergencies. After last Spring's tornado chewed up Missouri and spit it back out, my friend Neil worked on disaster relief in the area and told me that in one residential plot after another he saw nothing left behind except for the bathtub, anchored to the ground by good plumbing. So unless your tub is next to a wall of windows, take note.
Please also take note that Ellie Herring, a friend I haven't met yet, put together a compilation entitled Sorghum of new songs available for purchase and all proceeds benefit the Mid-East Kentucky Chapter American Red Cross to aid the tornado victims of West Liberty, KY.
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