- ABOUT US
The Sky Is Falling
By Megan Rossman
March 8, 2012
Sitting in a monthly safety training class the other day, I was reminded just how much I enjoy Oklahoma’s spring weather. Our instructor Jesse guided the class through a series of weather-related PowerPoint presentations that covered tornado, lightning, and flood precautions. My favorite slide tried to debunk the widely held theory that “lightning is a death ray from the sky.”
I’m not convinced.
There’s no denying this state is a hot bed of atmospheric potency. An underlying violence accompanies the skin-splitting winds and oppressive summer heat, a lurking energy that finally reaches its breaking point after winter, ripping across the sky in supercharged outbursts.
Those raised in Oklahoma grow up knowing the difference between watches and warnings, and tornado sirens are as routine as the weekend. You won’t find them cowering in a laundry room at noon on a cloudless Saturday during the test alarm (although new arrivals sometimes make that mistake). And even when the threat of being swept away is real, Okies opt to wander outside and stare at the heavens rather than take cover. I recall my father standing in the garage once, invoking Lieutenant Dan’s hurricane-defying scene in Forrest Gump, taunting the storm, “Bring it on!”
Unlike some, I prefer not to go head-to-head with severe thunderstorms, but I do enjoy them. If I’m home, I flip on the TV to gauge the level of concern I should feel and then head outside to watch the show in real time.
Since I’ve lived in Oklahoma for nearly ten years, the excitement has waned slightly. I love to see the storms come, but I often lose interest when they stick around too long. The April that I arrived, I would stand outside barefoot for what seemed like hours, mesmerized. I love the anticipation that comes along with a severe storm warning, the T-Rex stomp of the thunder marching closer and closer and that sudden gust of cold air leading the front, evaporating the humidity and electricity that has been building all day. And the rain, pouring down in sheets at every angle. It’s really something to behold.
While I love storms, I’ve learned they do have their drawbacks. In 2010, I admired a particularly dark front making its way in my direction. “Wow, that looks mean,” I said. And then almost immediately, a torrent of hail descended like a plague, taking with it part of a window, my outside lighting fixtures, and the aesthetic appeal of my recently paid-off car.
In the grand scheme of things, I realize none of that really is so bad. Storms have not yet claimed my home or my life, which is more than some can say.
As I sit in my office today, there’s a tempest raging outside. The forecast for the next two days is foreboding. I’m thinking it’s only a matter of time before I’m sitting on my porch steps again, watching darkness temporarily envelop my city, and thinking, “Let’s see those death rays.”