Friday, March 02, 2007
Notes From Tornado Alley
My heart is sad today as I wake up to news that at least eight teenagers died yesterday when Enterprise High School was hit by a tornado.
Earlier in the day, nearly everyone in Alabama was aware we were in for a bad weather day. Some school districts started the day by announcing school closings at noon. As the morning progressed, the clouds rolled, and we all stayed close to the television or radio. Shortly before noon, my own teenager called from school. “Mom, can I check out?” he asked. “Why don’t you wait a bit?” I replied. “The weather is getting bad and I don’t want to have to sit in the hallways all afternoon,” he said. So after checking with his law magnet teacher, he decided to leave with my permission. As he’s home safely napping, the tornado struck the hunkered-down teenagers in Enterprise, until now a little town known more for its statute of the Boll Weevil instead of the site of a devastating tornado.
All afternoon as we listened to our own tornado warning sirens blaring, we followed the story out of Enterprise. WSFA, one of our local stations, got their crew downstate while it was still daylight, and by the time of the Nightly News everyone in the nation could see the destruction. Luckily, the tornadoes that hit Montgomery County struck a mostly rural part of the area. Of course, if your house is blown away, it’s still blown away.
The problem with living in Tornado Alley is that now that the weather radar is more sophisticated, we get warnings anytime a rotation is noted. In our county, the whole county goes under a warning and it’s a large county. Only by watching the television weather trackers do we know for sure whether we should hit the deck or just remain watchful. We if closed our schools and dropped everything to hunker down in hallways and bathrooms, we’d be there a great deal of time from March to June. So, I don’t fault anyone at Enterprise High School for handling things as they did. We cannot win against nature.
photo of Enterprise tornado by John Dean