Tuesday, June 22, 2010
We've been receiving torrential downpours of rain inbetween bouts of incredibly humid (high dew point) weather, either unbearably hot or downright chilly. This spring - in May - I have run my central air conditioning and had my heat on close to Memorial Day weekend! Unbelievable crazy weather. Last night topped it all.
I was working on the computer as usual; I had listened to earlier forecasts and knew that severe weather was forecast. About 8: 15 p.m. the program I had on t.v. was interrupted by the local network weather people and the doppler radar shot they flashed on the screen turned my blood cold! The weather was ripe for the formation of tornadoes. And it was nearly dark outside.
It wasn't raining or blowing winds in Milwaukee County or in my little corner thereof, on the southwest side, when this first flashed on the screen, but it was aimed right at my house, I swear to Goddess! By 9:10 p.m. the non-stop distant thunder creeping closer and closer every second accompanied by non-stop intense lightning flashes convinced me to stop my internet activities. I unplugged everything I could to protect against power surges and scampered downstairs (closer to the basement, just in case I had to make a mad dash for cover) to watch the weather coverage which had now taken over full-time.
At 9:15 p.m. the tornado sirens went off. I scampered to the basement but could hear the t.v. quite clearly from overhead. I hovered in the basement, scared half to death, for the next 45 minutes. Should I have brought a t.v. down with me? Should I have brought a radio? What about my computers - if I lost them, oh my! Finally, at about 10:05 p.m. when it sounded as if the worst of the storm had passed over, I cautiously went back upstairs. The t.v. had stayed on the entire time although the lights in the basement had flickered a few times. And I realized then - duh! - I had no fricking working flashlights in the house! But of course since I didn't take one downstairs with me anyway, even if I'd had a working flashlight upstairs in the junk drawer I don't think I would have risked a trip back upstairs to try and fetch it if the power went out just so I wouldn't be in the dark in the basement (with the bugs, eeeeeeeewwwwwwww) - it could be right at that moment that my giant tree would choose to crash into the kitchen, or part of my neighbor's swing could come smashing through the window. Fortunately, my power stayed on.
I was utterly exhausted after all the tension and weather drama, and could not even think about going to bed. Finally, about 12:20 a.m. I felt I might be able to fall asleep, and knew today was going to be a sleep-deprived day.
Sleep-deprived, you bet! I had whopper killer dreams last night. Not that I remember a fig leaf about them, but they sure were intense - it was a relief to get out of bed this morning at 6 a.m. when the alarm went off (I was actually awake before then, but drifting in and out of la-la land). In fact, lately my dreams have been as intense as our weather. Last Saturday night I don't know what the hell I was doing but when I finally got up Sunday morning I realized I had somehow managed to pull a muscle on the right side under my arm. Don't know how that was possible unless I was sleepwalking and doing some heavy lifting, which is an absolutely terrifying thought. Or else I was tossing around so much on the bed and got tangled in the covers, and then was wrestling with goddesss knows what imaginery beings while trying to get untangled, that I somehow managed to twist something out of order. This isn't the first time this has happened. But, fortunately, it is a rare event.
So, how the hell do you prepare for a tornado you can't see when it's pitch black outside? Answer: you don't. When the sirens go off you run for cover full speed ahead. Because people were either smart and did so, or lucky, we had no fatalities last night despite all of the severe weather. The town of Eagle to the west of me about a county over got hammered badly. Even my own area, despite no one (as far as I know) losing a roof or having their windows blown out by tornadic or straight-line winds, had visible damage that I could see as I took the bus northeast toward downtown on the lake, this morning. Plenty of large branches down, plenty of split trees were visible as the bus rolled along.
Today dawned hot, uber humid. It's only gotten worse as the day increased. I'm breaking into a sweat just thinking about what it felt like out there, while I'm sitting here typing in my air-conditioned home! It was absolutely, incredibly YUCKY out there. I broke a sweat in the blink of an eye with no activity other than walking - very slowly - home from Walgreens, where I stopped when I got off the bus, to get an extra flashlight and a supply of D size batteries! Now at least I'll have some light other than candles if the power goes out. I knew enough last night not to bother to take candles downstairs with me, because who the hell would use candles during a tornado, when windows could blow out at any moment? So if the tornado didn't blow my house down I'd risk burning it down instead? Duh!
How bad it it out there? My poor ankles accurately reflect the moisture content in the air - and they blow up even larger the more the temperature rises. Despite being on water pills and exercising daily, they blow up with retained water like elephantine's disease when the dew points goes above 60, unless the temperature is below 50 degrees F. Right now it's at 73 dew point, and the air temperature was 87F at 4:20 p.m. when I left the office. It's hotter here, away from Lake Michigan, Milwaukee's refrigerator. I hope you cannot imagine what my ankles look like, they are gross, and the skin is stretched tight to the ouchy point. I must go upstairs and put my feet up, and catch a nap, because we're in for Round 2 of STORMY Weather tonight, sometime after midinight.
Great, just great. Just what I need, less sleep. I think I'm already hallucinating from sleep deprivation, I dread what I'll be like tomorrow morning after more sleeplessness and unrelieved stress. That is, if I survive the night!
Some news coverage of the storm from local television.
Unbelievably, some looters attempted to take advantage of the chaos in the early morning hours today. I have not before heard about looters at storm damage sites in Wisconsin. This is gag-me stuff. I am SO GLAD those fricking a-holes were caught red-handed. Trust me, if they are stupid enough to go to a jury trial, they will get 30 years each! People around here don't take kindly to looters taking advantage of other peoples' misfortune. This happened in Muskego, Wisconsin, a small community to the southwest of my location - not very far away as the crow flies.
Raw video taken by an incredibly stupid woman (does she know the meaning of the word COW?) of the tornado that destroyed so many homes in Eagle, Wisconsin last night. It's very difficult to listen to the increasingly panicked cries of her children begging her to return to the basement captured on the video as she acted as if she were in Oz rather than in a tornado zone.