Thursday, 6 December 2012

Tornados and Storm Chasers

This afternoon while the Lily Bug danced in a thunderstorm, a tornado ripped through our neighbouring suburb of Hobsonville. It's odd, but as I drove home from kindy shortly before lunch, I reached a part of the road where I had a clear view towards the North Shore and saw a strange cone-shaped cloud that looked like it was spiralling out from the cloud above. I paused at the intersection longer than necessary just to watch it and see if it were a freak cloud or something more malign.

I couldn't truly tell, and so deciding the distant peals of the thunder storm (which was approaching from the opposite direction) had simply made me paranoid, I went on my way.  There were a few things I needed to do before heading home, but the cloud had unsettled me. The more I drove, the more my anxiety increased. I had wanted to make a detour to the fruit and vege shops along Hobsonville Rd because the Lily Bug was pleading a strong case for plums from the back seat, but anxiety caused me to return home instead.

Once inside, I told the Teen about the freak looking cloud (and she, zoned on Facebook, nodded vaguely in response), then paced the room waiting for the thunderstorm to hit. When big fat raindrops finally kicked in, they did so with ferocity.  The Lily Bug tore outside into the rain so she could run in it. In force of habit, I grabbed the camera and snapped a few shots of her playing in the rain while repeating "too wet to go out, to cold to play ball, so we sat in the house and did nothing at all" in my head with a smile, anxiety momentarily swept aside by my daughter's childhood joy at the forces of Nature. The Lily Bug's storm dance was short-lived and soon she was in a warm shower. Not long after, I heard sirens, and assumed the heavy rain had caused a car accident on Hobsonville Rd.

Later, one of the Teen's friends told her via Facebook that a tornado had struck and killed three people. The phone began ringing as friends and family checked to make sure it hadn't cleaved a path to our house. Thank goodness no, this house almost comes undone if I turn the suction up too far on our vacuum cleaner.

Only a km or two away, three lives were taken and homes were up-heaved, their inhabitants left homeless.  Warnings of further tornados coupled with ongoing emergency services sirens left me on edge and unwilling to let the kids outside despite the rain having cleared. I relaxed only when the birds and cicadas took up their songs again. Geeze, the tornado didn't even come close. Always a little prone towards dramatics, I am.

I don't know if that cloud I had seen was in fact the tornado forming, or a quirky-shaped coincidence. But I do believe in signs, and in gut feelings. And I'm glad I followed my churning stomach by not driving to the fruit and vege shops. Overly dramatic or no, it would have been so easy for me to drive a little further on to Hobsonville Point for a good pre-storm run around on the playground. It would have been so easy to have been caught up in the wind-whipped terror, had I taken that path today.

Ignore the overgrown lawn. Please. Our lawnmower broke three weeks ago, and the Lad is going to fix it... Somewhere between now and Christmas.
Guy Smiley did a lap around the house, but didn't like rain in his eyes.