Friday, May 29, 2015

Texas Weather: Flooding and Tornadoes

It has been raining here for a week. Drizzling, off and on type of rain and a gray sky. No sun. No warmth.This morning, the glorious sun woke me up at 5:00 am. I was not unhappy about this. It was quite welcome.
Coincidentally, I read that back home in Texas, it also has been raining for a week but with tragic results. Massive flooding with destruction and deaths. Tornadoes, wind, hail and raging waters have just caused all kinds of havoc there.
Here in Serbia,I often get asked about the violent weather we have in Texas. Most people think of tornadoes when they think of Texas. Yes, Texas has a lot of tornadoes, however,I have lived there my whole life and have never seen an actual tornado. I have been through countless warnings, high winds and all that accompanies tornadic storms. The tornado warnings are so common we take heed, but are not as in a tizzy as others might be if they had never had to prepare for this. I won't lie, it does make your heart beat faster and there is  anxiety, especially when the wind is howling and the rain is going sideways and the lights go out. The sight of greenish-black skies and a heavy,eerie stillness sets off automatic danger alarms to cause your whole body to go weak because you know this is the calling-card of a tornado.
Texas tornadoes are common and occur any time of year (photo:Pixabay)

 I have crouched in hallways and closets many times waiting on the threat to pass. Always clutching my cell phone, purse and car keys because those are not things you want to have to hunt down or lose in case the roof does fly off the house, or worse. I have been lucky. Usually the only damage I have experienced is a few fallen trees and damaged roof shingles from the wind or hail. A harrowing story to compare with others later on.
The type of flash flooding seen in Texas this past week is something I have never experienced and hope I never have to. They come fast and furious and are deadly. Weathermen can warn of imminent flash flooding but can never predict just how  much and exactly where the most dangerous flooding will occur. Gentle flowing rivers can turn into monsters within minutes, if the conditions are right. A flash flood one day may only mean a few roads are covered in 3 inches of water. Another day, a flash flood may mean 26 feet of high velocity water smashing structures to smithereens. It's hard to know so it's hard to have a plan. I suppose the best way is to treat all flash flood warnings like we treat all tornado warnings: like it's going to be an F5, every time.
 I pray for those affected this week in Texas and Oklahoma.

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