So yesterday right at the end of our prayer meeting, the neighbor came up to the church and told us we should get into the basement. There was a bad storm coming up. Well, I went to the basement and huddled with the women and children… for a few minutes. Then I decided that was not for me. How could I stand to be stuck in the basement when there was a perfectly interesting storm to be watched. I went outside to see the biggest, blackest could. You could see the rotation in it, and it was moving fast. I, being the good amateur wannabe photographer that I am, ran inside to get my camera. The neighbors were coming out of their houses to watch the excitement, and I followed.
The storm was gaining fury and moving fast, blowing breakers and tearing down power lines and anything else in its way. It moved farther and farther from the church. That’s when I decided it was time for me to go. Time to get a little closer to that storm.
Really I didn’t think it was that bad. It was moving fast toward the east and I figured it would be gone by the time I got out of town. I called my dad, the storm chaser (he really is) and told him what I was looking at.
“Is there any rotation in the clouds?” he asked.
“Um… yeah. They’re moving alright. Wow, they sure are low. I can’t believe how low they are.” I replied. That was enough to make my dad nervous, which in turn made me nervous. I decided it was ok for me to get away from that storm and head toward the west, where I live.
I made my way down the highway, only to find that all the cars ahead of me were stopping. I rolled down my window and asked a truck stopped between lanes what was going on. “The storm took out the power lines. They’re down on the road. We can’t get out this way.” I turned my car around and headed back into the storm.
I, of course, was taking videos all the way… I couldn’t let an opportunity to capture one of nature’s great displays of fury get away from me. I headed out of town through the worst of the weather into mostly clear skies. It was smooth sailing for about 15 miles. And then…
Apparently the storm system had changed directions. We met again. This time I was scared. There were fire trucks with sirens blaring everywhere. The cloud was huge, black, and threateningly low to the ground. The air was calm and still; it was just barely sprinkling. I threw caution to the wind and sped through town at break-neck speeds of 45 mph (hey, the limit is 30... It was a daring move).
Only after I got home and started to watch the news did I realize what a storm I had seen. They hadn’t even begun to asses the damage. It was suspected that three tornadoes touched down in town. Today I drove by one of the areas that was hardest hit. Power lines were down everywhere. There was a house with an upside-down car plopped on top of the garage; a business with no roof, no walls. Trees were completely uprooted. Amazing. The storm was so powerful and yet the sun was now shining, the birds were singing. All at once everything had changed. Some were affected greatly, others not at all.
And still… the storm taunted me, “I’ll be back. Come closer next time… I’ll show you what I can do. See with your own eyes.” And so was born…
(drum roll please…)
The Storm Chaser Extraordinaire