It's spring in the heartland and if you grew up in Tornado Alley, you know that means there's a pretty good chance of severe weather on any give afternoon/evening this time of year. Just ask Dorothy.
Our first encounter was in Dallas on Wednesday night. When we got back to the room after dinner and I flipped on the TV, the screen was filled with brightly-colored radar images and talk of where the tornadoes were heading next. Scary stuff given the damage and loss of life in Granbury.
It was a challenge to figure out how close we were to the serious storms since I wasn't familiar with all the cities that surround Dallas proper. Turns out the bad stuff was all south and west and we were staying north and east. I followed the weather until the line of nearby storms with potential for tornadoes passed before turning off the lights for the night.
When we arrived in Kansas on Thursday, weathermen were already warning that we'd likely see severe weather on Sunday. And just like dreading finding Jim Cantore of The Weather Channel broadcasting from Pensacola Beach in hurricane season, it wasn't good to find TWC storm trackers setting up shop just 20 miles down the turnpike.
It didn't take long for the storms to bubble up and we watched as they grew and moved our way. News of a large funnel on the ground is never good but this time I knew where all those cities were. Worse yet, I knew if it continued on the same path, it would be coming our way.
Fortunately, it wasn't a particularly strong tornado, it didn't stay earthbound for long, and what was left of it's circulation jogged a bit north to miss us. Most of the damage in the area is limited to downed limbs and power lines and broken windows from the hail. I worried about my car parked on the street but we didn't see any hail here.
Two brushes with severe weather is really two more than I'd like but I'm glad we escaped unscathed from both. It's Mother Nature's way of reminding us why we left Tornado Alley behind. We're troopers but I'd just as soon no storms were involved.