Friday, January 11, 2008

Hail, thunder, lightning, tornadoes, oh my

Yesterday, I dropped Jackson off at school and we noticed his classroom was locked and empty, so we went into the main building, thinking everyone had gone to music class early. But as we entered the inner sanctum, the office staff told us we had to go into the library at the center of the school because there was a tornado warning at the moment. I said, "Wha-?" and we skedaddled down the hall where the entire school was gathered in mass, just hanging out with teachers and staff.

Only a few kids from Jackson's class were there because a busload of children was parked alongside a road somewhere, waiting for further instructions. I was informed that bus drivers are not allowed to drive during a tornado watch. That's a good thing but several little girls did require hugs when they finally showed up to school, which I gladly doled out.

I asked another mom if tornadoes were a common occurence in the Northwest and she replied that it rarely happens--the last one in 1940. That reassured us but it turns out she's dead WRONG. Tornadoes are rather common around here, apparently. It's just that they tend to occur where there's no humanity or structures to destroy, only trees. One newspaper report states that "like the gentle earthquakes that happen here frequently but go un-reported, tornadoes..." And I was like, Frequent Earthquakes! Oh, great. What next? (I have yet to write about the active VOLCANOES that are near by.)

Turns out the last bad tornado in Vancouver was in 1972 when six people were killed and hundreds injured. It took out a bowling alley, a shopping center and an entire elementary school (hence our drill yesterday). Our tornado took out a boat house, hundreds of boats and damaged a lot of rooftops, some walls, vehicles, and many, many trees. No one, miraculously, was injured. Just scared. Here's yesterday's tornado in all its category 1 glory (not too deadly).
Source: The Columbian

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