Day 55: Weather Spotting Class

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Today’s first was about confronting a long time fear. My earliest memory, at the tender age of 27 months, was of being in a tornado in Tulsa, OK. I didn’t understand what a tornado was. I only knew my mom, a young woman at home with a toddler and a baby, placed us between the bed and the wall in her bedroom to protect us. I thought we were hiding from a monster. And when I saw the tree uprooted in our front yard, I believed it was a HUGE monster. I was scared that it got my daddy, who was at work at the time.

I eventually learned that a tornado isn’t a living, breathing creature, but that didn’t lessen my strong dislike for high winds during a storm. I enjoy the power and beauty of a thunderstorm. As soon as the wind comes up, though, I move into an uneasy state of alertness. Going through the Joplin tornado was traumatic and surreal and has since created a yearly dread of spring, and the onset of tornado season.

I can continue to fear these massive storms….or I can face my fear head on and educate myself. I chose the latter! Tonight, I attended a Weather Spotter Class along with my sister, mom and stepdad. We received Spotter Training Certificates of Completion.  

This was a fascinating class. I now understand so much more about the formation of thunderstorms and tornadoes and what to watch for. The instructor did a great job of incorporating lecturing with pictures and videos. We were each given a field guide, which I appreciate, as I can review the material often. I learned which cloud formations normally produce rain and low winds and move through an area quickly. And which ones indicate the possibility of heavy rains, hail, strong winds and tornadoes. We also learned how to safely observe the weather, call in a report, and when to seek shelter.

I’ll never be a storm chaser. But if my mouth will no longer go dry when storm watches are issued for the area, that will be a big leap forward for me.  My fear is shifting to a cautious respect for severe weather. And rather than casting an anxious eye toward the sky, I can cast an assessing one.  I’ll soon have the chance, with the arrival of spring, to put into practice what I learned this evening.

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