Thursday, April 28, 2011

What Would You Do?

Photo of the Tuscaloosa, Alabama tornado stolen from Yahoo/AP News.

It can happen here. We've come close to it before.

I remember back when I was working at the Humboldt Bay Power Plant. A bunch of thunderstorms and rain squalls were coming through the area. I saw a weird cloud formation just over the bay. Clouds were churning. It made me nervous.

Fred Salinas, who grew up in Texas, was on patrol up on the hill at the time. When he came down he said, "Back in Texas, you see something like that, you head for the cellar". I replied that I thought that looked like a tornado forming. Luckily, nothing came of it, although at least at the plant we had places to seek shelter.

Then there was the time decades later we had a bunch of violent squalls moving through Eureka. I was living where I do now at the time. It would be calm one moment, then a squall would move in and all hell would break loose. I was standing in the living room during one of them and the whole house shook. I was thinking, "Are we going to have a problem here?". Tornado weather, but it never got too bad although my plastic greenhouse in the back yard got pulled up and blown over the fence.

I've wondered every now and then just what I'd do if I actually saw a tornado bearing down on my house. This house would likely be ripped to shreds and there's really nowhere to hide, unless maybe I could run to the Matteoli's and hide in their basement. I'm not sure I like the idea of their house collapsing on me, though.

About the best I can think of is to drop down outside at the bottom of the retaining wall next to the sidewalk. I might get smashed by a car or other debris there but I can' think of anywhere else to try and hide. At least the sidewalk and retaining wall wouldn't get blown away.

What would you do?

As an aside, I've always wanted to see a tornado live, from a safe shelter, of course. But I think I might have survived one as a child, back when we lived in Illinois. I was about 3 years old at the time.

I remember my parents were gone somewhere and we had a baby sitter tending to us. I remember her being real nervous and her wondering where our parents were. I could sense the baby sitter was nervous, if not downright scared, but I didn't know why.

I remember at one point looking out the front window and seeing a tree completely arched over in a strong wind with the tip almost touching the ground. I'm pretty sure that was tornado as I recall the seeing the neighbors old 50'ish woody station wagon laying on its back the next day, having been blown over. I probably have pictures of it back in the rear storage room.


At 12:02 PM, Blogger Ernie Branscomb said...

I lived in Eel Rock back in the early 60's. I watched a twister touch-down on the ridge across the river. It proceeded down the ridge for about a hundred yards to the point of the ridge, where a rather large Madrone tree had grown for probably a hundred years or more. The twister swung forward like an eagle catching a fish. It plucked the tree off the point like fuzz in a whirlwind. It lifted the tree into the air, then as suddenly as it had formed it disappeared and left the tree suspended in air. The tree slowly, like time lapse photography, drifted down into the center of the creek where it made a resounding crash. Spooky!

At 10:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fred, I've heard a tornado hit the Airport Hotel in McKinnleyville. I found this

It says we had an F2 Mar, 29, 1958.


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