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This post is part of my 2022 Word Project. You can read what that’s about here.

Friday, March 31, 2023

There is a threat of severe weather and tornados. They’ve already ripped up Arkansas and are allegedly making their way across the entire south. This is not a thing I worried about in New York. The occasional hurricane, sure, but nothing that would land me in Oz.

I wouldn’t say I worry about them now, unless it’s 3AM and the warning alarms start blaring. But I do live on the third floor in a building on a hill, so there’s that.

If there ever was a tornado through here, I’d have nowhere to go.

They tell you to find the innermost room.

I told Ralph that our bedroom closet is the innermost room, which is true, but he made a good point. He said if stuff starts collapsing around us then there’s no way out. He said we’d be better off in the hallway. It may be by the door but it’s sheltered inside the building, and there are multiple paths of egress.

Other than dying, I mostly worry about losing internet. Friday is Destiny raid night and without internet Ralph won’t have a game. That would be a travesty on so many levels.

But at least it spawned a word.

I think tornados are terrifying and awesome. It amazes me that the world does that. There you are on a sunny day when this wind is like hey, you know what, let’s just swirl around here a bit, and before you know it roofs are missing and cows are flying everywhere.

Did you know that tornados have occurred on every continent except Antarctica? It’s physically impossible, since tornados need warm moist air to form.

I learned just now that tornados are measured on theĀ Fujita Scale. I knew earthquakes are measured on the Richter Scale. Forgot hurricanes get a scale too, not just a category. It’s the Saffir-Simpson Scale if you’re interested.

But I’ve never heard of the Fujita Scale. It ranges from 0 to 5, where 0 means wind gusts under 85 miles per hour and 5 means over 200. But more importantly, there is an enhanced version that gives you a damage rating from 1 to 28. It only takes a level 5 to raze a three story apartment building.

That’s a little disconcerting.

Anyway, when I’m not being terrified of them, I’m fascinated by them. Some kids, they want to be rock stars when the grow up. Or vets. Or they want to go to the moon. I wanted to be a tornado chaser.

Mostly I wanted to photograph them with my fantastic new Polaroid. I wanted to get up close and personal with those breathtaking forces of nature, catch them in action and pluck a moment of their existence out of time. And survive to talk about it.

These are the things that give parents gray hair, assuming they have any left by the time you’re old enough to decide to be a storm chaser.

I wouldn’t say I had an adventurous streak or that I was a risk taker. But weather has always fascinated me. I’m that person who can watch the Weather Channel just for fun. And who checks the temperature at least a dozen times during the day even if I’m standing outside experiencing the actual temperature. I’ve usually got the ten day forecast on mental speed dial even if I have no idea where I left my keys. And if there’s a thunderstorm, I will open all the windows and sit and watch it like a movie.

The universe is pretty cool with stuff like that.

Nothing has happened tonight so far. And it’s not that I want to be huddled in a corner of my hallway in terror, but I wouldn’t mind a little brush with disaster, minus the actual disaster. It makes for a marginally more interesting Friday night.

It would be nice to get a bit of a thunderstorm. And I took such great pains to tie down the table and chairs outside that the least the wind could do is huff and puff a little bit.

I have a great iPhone camera now, and Instagram, so any time the weather feels like showing off, I’ll be ready.

Photo: beautiful angry clouds. They came and went without fanfare.