Saturday, February 09, 2008

Tornadoes and Canadians

When I was 19 years old, I became fascinated with tornadoes. There were specials on the Discovery channel and the Learning Channel that I'd watch, rapt and wide-eyed, trying to imagine the awesome power held in those storms.

My boyfriend at the time shared my love of thunderstorms and would sit outside on the porch with me to watch the lightning and rain. One night, Sudbury actually went under a tornado watch (meaning a possibility of tornadoes). The clouds were pitch-dark, and it was just after dinner, so we were pretty excited (and yes, call us dumbasses, but northern Ontario doesn't get this kind of thing very often, so it was exciting to us) and decided to go out to the street with raincoats to see what we could see. It's funny that we were so happy to get outdoors, honestly believing that we might see something when if we'd been thinking about it, his parents would never have let us outside if there had been a real chance of a tornado.

Off we went into the rainy, staring up at the sky like little kids.

This was 10 years ago, but I remember the conversation pretty much went like this:

"Hey! Is that a funnel cloud?!"

"no. Just wispy clouds"


"Oh but look! THAT one looks AMAZING!"

"Is it a funnel cloud?"

"Nah. Just looks cool."



(crazy lightning)

Then, the loudest clap of thunder EVER: KABOOM!

Cue two dumbasses in raincoats flying indoors at warp speed, only to stop short at the door and nonchalantly step inside with cool "we weren't afraid" greeting to his family.

We kept to the windows after that.

When Jeremy and I were living in Windsor, I was surprised to learn that we were living in Ontario's version of Tornado Alley. The schools all had procedures in place for tornado warnings, and the kids knew what to do if one showed up.

We had several tornado watches, a couple of warnings, saw a few funnel clouds, and enjoyed several incredible thunderstorms during that year. Since the balcony faced the south-west, we got a great view of any weather coming in. Michigan had several tornado warnings that summer, many of which were close enough to the border that we thought something might actually happen here too.

As much as I've always wanted to see one, I know it's lucky that I've never had to. Still, I find the combination of awesome beauty and power endlessly fascinating even though we've all been reminded again of how much destruction they can bring.

Since they've been hitting the news a lot lately, I went to YouTube to see what kind of videos were posted of the recent tornadoes that hit the southern parts of the States. After several jaw-dropping ones, I found this:

I love being Canadian. Gotta love a couple of guys calmly taking a video of a giant tornado, while at the same time giving updates on it's movement to their friends, then offering to take pictures of a total stranger standing in front of it after a few minutes of friendly conversation, before introducing themselves and saying "have a good one".

They even tossed in an "Eh".

I doubt I'd ever be that cool if I saw one...


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