After nothing but weatherman chatter on the local TV stations, we had tuned the sound out.
Then, at about 7:15 P.M. our home phone started ringing. Less than two seconds after that, my cell phone was ringing — I forgot I had it in my pocket. Then we heard Karen’s cell phone ringing in the living room. Off in the distance the sirens were starting to sound.
When I answered my phone, it turned out to be the head meteorologist from the Little Rock TV station we normally watch. They offer a notification service — for a small annual fee — that will call your phones and send you an e-mail for the storm warnings that you select for your local area. We had selected to be notified for tornado warnings — and that’s what this was.
A storm cell with a possible tornado was heading our way and it was forecast to be here at 7:45.
A full 30 minutes advance warning!
I went and checked to storm shelter. It’s located inside the addition that we’ve been working on forever. We have to go outside to access it, though, as we haven’t got an opening between the house and addition, yet.
The storm shelter is in good shape and, 15 minutes before the storm cell was due, we headed to the that way. We took jackets, our laptops, the portable hard-drives with all of my photos, Karen’s purse, my wallet, our budget book and three flashlights. I had already put a couple of camp chairs down there.
About 7:45, it looked like the cell was going north of us, so I went back in the house to check what they were saying on TV. They showed the cell in our area, with the heaviest part of it to the north, but said that the part right over us was showing rotation, so I headed back to the shelter, where we waited for another ten minutes.
It turns out the cell went about 7 miles north of us and then died almost completely away over the next 30 minutes.
This is the first time that we actually used the shelter. Even though nothing came of it, it is comforting to have it available — just in case.
Especially the way things have been going this year!
I’m not looking forward to tomorrow’s news. We already know that Stuttgart, down south and east of Little Rock, was hit and that there are several fatalities from the storm system over in Oklahoma.
I’ve heard more than one person say that they ready for the hot, stagnant days of summer — something that few around here really look forward to.