It's tornado season in the Midwestern United States. Spring arrives with robins and blooming plants, then tornado season follows, marked by the wail of sirens and the appearance of multicolored county maps plastered across the lower left of the TV screen.
We had a severe storm yesterday that came up quickly and dramatically while I was still at work. The sky turned dark with a greenish cast, then came heavy rains, hail and the distant sound of sirens. The bad weather lasted only a few minutes, but the watches and warnings persisted into the evening.
When I was growing up, we lived out away from the city and took tornado warnings very seriously. I remember our family huddling in our dank cellar with a flashlight, a battery-operated radio, and every dog and cat we could round up, waiting for the all-clear. We never had a tornado touch down near us, but because the high school a few miles away had once been demolished by a tornado (before I was born), we figured it was better safe than sorry.
My husband believes for some reason that tornadoes never hit within a city. He's of the "stand on the porch and watch the sky" school of emergency weather reactors. I don't know how safe and sturdy our basement is, but I'm willing to spend some extra time down there sorting laundry or organizing our holiday decor storage during a warning period if it could mean the difference between life or death.
After years of tornado watches and warnings, it does get kind of easy for me to downplay the danger. However, I'm sure everyone who lives somewhere that's prone to its own variety of natural disaster gets used to the looming threat. Whether you live on a fault line, near an ocean or river, adjacent to a semi-dormant volcano, or in "Tornado Alley," you probably learn to put the worry aside until something bad starts to happen.
What's your area's biggest natural threat? How do you react to it?