May used to be Tornado Awareness Month but I recently discovered it’s now observed in April. I may be a month late, but the message remains timely, especially for those of us in plains states. Unless you’re Pecos Pete, be prepared for tornados—or as they say in the southwest—cyclones.
If you don’t already have a preparedness plan, visit the FEMA site for helpful hints:
Back in the mid 90s, a tornado touched down in rural Stillwater and did millions of dollars of damage. Esquire Farm, an upscale horse boarding facility, was completely destroyed, as were several other homes and buildings. The twister clipped the end of Bon Bon Pond and took down many majestic and aged oaks. To this day, I remain amazed that my barn was left unscathed as the funnel cloud went right over it.
The memory of that day is still clear. I was working in my den with the TV on in the background when the sky turned ominously dark—black with a greenish tint. Suddenly it became quiet, then, suddenly, what sounded like a freight train roared past. A moment or two later a local meteorologist appeared on the tube urging residents of northeastern Stillwater to take cover. Missed it by that much, Belinda!
Walking outside to observe the damage, I was shaken by how close I had come to disaster. A few feet and my barn would have been history. A few yards and I would have been a mere memory.
Nearly twenty years later, the decaying felled trees, like fallen soldiers on a battlefield, serve as a testament to the power of Mother Nature and in turn man’s relative insignificance.