Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Tornado watch


I always know we're in trouble when the clouds have a greenish tinge to them. This morning, Environment Canada mentioned in passing that a tornado was possible in "Eastern Ontario, near the Qu├ębec border". Uh... That's us....

The Resident Fan Boy has vivid memories of a summer a few years ago when he was alone in the house while I house-sat in Victoria with our daughters.  The guy on the Weather Network was practically gleeful in his excitement:  "A tornado is going to hit Ottawa!!!"  The RFB and our next-door neighbour were not quite as thrilled.  They stood on our shared porch watching slack-jawed as the khaki-coloured clouds billowed, before it occurred to them that they really should be sheltering in their respective basements.  The tornado touched down some kilometres to the south-east, and did some damage there.

This morning, I quickly tapped out warning messages to the RFB, elder daughter at work in Nepean, and younger daughter's head teacher.  Our server dropped our internet connection shortly afterwards, a common occurrence when the barometer plunges.  I set off into the hot, humid, and seemingly relentlessly sunny afternoon to retrieve younger daughter.  As I walked up to the school, I could see the greenish tinge and odd clumpy shapes of thunderheads.  By the time we left for the bus stop twenty minutes later, the sky had darkened and as I heard the first rumbles, it occurred to me that younger daughter and I were running across a field....

The fat, well-spaced raindrops were hitting the pavement as we made it to the shelter, and as I gazed out anxiously for our bus, I saw a ghostly green swirl above the open field across the street.  I blinked disbelievingly and our bus appeared.

By the time we were looping up Baseline toward Maitland, the windscreen on the bus was splattered with rain, and I noticed a bus going in the other direction bearing an ad for the upcoming Ottawa Jazz Festival:  "Be prepared to be blown away."  Oh dear.  A stage actually got blown down at Blues Fest last summer.  You'd think they'd choose their slogans more carefully.

For the record, we did get home safely, but our bus got blasted with fire-hose-force rain and hail which poured through the roof vent that someone had opened, in spite of the air-conditioning.  I hope we don't get blown away before I escape to Demeter for the summer...

1 comment:

Rob said...

With the detachment only a resident of a mostly tornado-free country can muster, I have always rather wanted to see a tornado. One sees video footage of storm chasers in Oklahoma or Kansas, and somehow tornados seem appropriate in twenty-mile cornfields. Not in urban areas, though, and I can understand why you would be worried.