Strong Storms Come and Go

The Sirens Interrupt...

The children laughed and played. Some were carefully examining cicadas with gentle fingers and an expression of fascination. Others were playing a healthy game of tag, and still others were sailing through the air on the swingsets. But instantly all that changed when a wailing alarm rang out.

They had heard this alarm before. Always glances had questioned me, and I had instructed them to continue playing, explaining that it was "just a test." Outdoor emergency sirens are tested once a month.

This time all young eyes were on me, as usual, but instead of reassuring them to continue playing, I blew the whistle and pointed to the door.

Some were so frightened by this sudden change in policy that they began to cry, but all listened and ran to the door, forming a single file line. They were met at the door by another worker who escorted them to the safe room.

I clicked the dial on the radio. Keeping excited kids in a small room is on my list of Things I'd Rather Not Do. They have nothing to do in there except worry, chatter, giggle, and eventually take out their frustrations on each other in rowdy misbehavior. Understandably I was relieved when the radio said that the tornado was not in our city, nor even in our county, nor even headed for our county. The alarm had sounded because a funnel had been spotted on the ground two cities away from us. The sun shone peacefully on a few harmless clouds scattered outside, which added to my annoyance. Those kids should be out playing, I thought. Still, we had to follow protocol. Since no one announced an "all clear" we would have to keep them there until the storm warning expired, just to be on the safe side.

These photos were snapped during the storm's quiet phase.
These photos were snapped during the storm's quiet phase.

And Then, The Rain

It took an hour to reach us, but the edge of the same storm brought torrential rains, tree bending winds, and tiny pieces of driven hail. Dust and leaves were scooped up and driven fitfully, unpredictably, sporadically down the street and over the rooftops of nearby houses. Sticks from the woods landed on the playground, thump, thump, thump. Then the storm grew ominously quiet. We watched the clouds very closely, but they traveled on past without taking our roof or (anyone else's). The kids were soothed by singing songs and munching snacks as they hunkered down in a nest of coats and blankets. When the sunlight forced its way past the hoopla they emerged, none the worse.

Update

The twister that touched down two cities away from us was part of a larger system that became internationally known as the Joplin Tornado. I conjecture that the reason we were told to go inside and were not notified of an "all clear" could be because the people who work within the emergency warning system were overtaxed, their attention diverted to the very real threat that landed elsewhere.

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Comments 4 comments

Betty Johansen profile image

Betty Johansen 5 years ago

Hi Silver Poet. I'm thinking those children will never forget that experience. Hopefully, it will make them more vigilant as adults. I never saw any scary storms as a child, and now I tend not to be as concerned as I might when bad weather approaches.

We've had such dreadful, destructive storms this season - I thank God that you and your young charges were spared a roof-lifting experience.


Silver Poet profile image

Silver Poet 5 years ago from the computer of a midwestern American writer Author

Thanks for your comment, Betty. I also am thankful. I have always been vigilant about storms because I have grown up in an area where severe storms pop up suddenly. See the hub titled, "The Weird Weather of Etterville Missouri" to read about just a few of those odd occurrences.


stars439 profile image

stars439 5 years ago from Louisiana, The Magnolia and Pelican State.

Storms sure can be a scary event for children. God Bless You For This Hub.


ladyjojo profile image

ladyjojo 5 years ago

Short nice story

I dont want to experience a natural storm thank God it always passes away. I have been through spiritual ones but Jesus calms the waters for me ;)

Thanks for sharing

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