“Go into the lowest level of your home, wrap a blanket around yourself to aid in stopping flying debris,” the emergency broadcast on the radio announced Saturday night.
So we all got in trucks and headed out into open areas.
Insane? No. That is just what the storm spotters do. When everyone else is heading under cover, we are just nuts enough to be jumping into trucks and hollering “Go get ‘em, guys!”
Somebody has to do it so others can be warned. Enter the firefighters.
Luckily for our group and the others we heard on the scanner, we didn’t have much to report in Murray County. The folks down in Iowa hadn’t fared as well the night before. But as I told our fire chief, a tornado could have been ready to land on my head and would have been tough to spot. The rain was coming down in blinding sheets.
One of our group did report seeing a funnel cloud come down and bounce back up right away, and someone from the Currie group reported seeing rotation, but everything else was just rain.
A lot of rain. We had inches of standing water in our fire hall when we got back.
Even though the situation was serious, it didn’t stop us from being silly. I sat in the rescue van with the fire chief and he rolled down his window in an attempt to see better.
“Hey, I’m getting all wet,” he then complained with a grin.
“You think? I wonder why?” I replied, watching the waves of rain.
Later, one of the firefighters who spots from another location stopped by to talk to the chief. He rolled down his window to do so, then looked like a cat doing that rapid blink thing as he was peppered with rain while trying to carry on a conversation. I’m reasonably sure Chief Tom extended the chat a little bit just to see how long Dan would leave his window down.
Later on at the fire hall, my husband Eric came running in from outside and stood next to me.
“I’m really wet,” he said.
No kidding, Captain Obvious? He was dripping.
The following day, my Eric and I were out in the back yard cutting down the broken branches on our walnut tree. The ground was like a sponge and wherever you stepped, water seeped up. Eric decided to empty a few containers that had captured water during the storm, including the Radio Flyer and a big bin we filled with ice and pop during the last graduation party.
Just as he started to dump the bin, a bunch of wood fell off the wood pile toward him and as he jumped back, the dog stepped in front of him to see what he was doing. All the water dumped on his legs and feet. I just stood there laughing.
He took one step, pulled off a shoe and gave it a toss, then unpeeled a soaking wet sock from his foot and tossed that, too. When it landed with a loud “squish,” he couldn’t contain his own laughter anymore.
“I’m really wet,” he stated.
He had to change into his work boots since he had soaked his sandals the night before. That was OK, since later we ended up cutting down more branches with some other firefighters.
We checked on a few people we thought might need a bit of help, and as I watched a few of the guys chat with an older woman who had recently had surgery and couldn’t do anything with the huge branch in her yard, I had to smile. They had just finished cutting the branch down, dragging the brush into a pile and stacking the bigger logs. Those guys make me proud to be part of their team.
Next time you see a firefighter, storm spotter, EMT or first responder, give them a hug. They really do great things in an effort to help other people — even running out into the nastiest weather to keep an eye out for tornadoes.
Of course, part of that is the "nuts" factor.