A lot of people in the middle of the U.S. have been a bit on edge this storm season – for good reason. This has been a bad, bad season, with over 500 severe weather related fatalities and over 540 confirmed tornados in the last 8 weeks.
What has made it particularly bad is that we have had several periods where a front – with a mass of warm, moist air to the south and cooler, drier air to the north – has stalled for several days. During these times there have been multiple outbreaks – until the front finally gets pushed out to the east.
We are actually about as prepared as you can get. We live in the country, but can hear the sirens in a nearby town. A television station in Little Rock has an automated system that will call our cell phones and send an email message if there is a tornado warning for our area. There is a a storm shelter in our house.
But still, after Tuscaloosa and Birmingham, Alabama last month, and Joplin, Missouri on Sunday, we pay attention when there is a threat of severe weather.
As the day progressed, we were upgraded to a moderate risk. As I had time, I kept track of the weather conditions at work, watching a line of storms break out in Oklahoma and start moving east. There were a lot of tornado warning boxes.
I had thought to work a little late prepping for upcoming classes, but decided to come on home when the last class finished at 8 pm. Storms were still headed this way.
We usually go to bed at 10, but decided to stay up a while to see what it looked like the storms were going to do. They were at the state line and there were a couple of warnings for counties in northwest Arkansas.
At 11 or so, it looked like the bulk of the storms were going to either dissipate or go around us, though there was one cell that was heading in our direction that might reach us if it held together. It didn’t look like it would, so we went to bed, though I had my cell phone next to me, just in case we got a storm alert call.
Apparently the cell broke apart in the cooler night air – after it destroyed Denning, Arkansas.