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Monday, June 2, 2008

Tornado Alley

I've never seen a tornado. I don't want to see one.

I have seen the aftermath, and that's more than enough for me.

It appears we're in the midst of a record setting year for tornadoes, and that brings us back to ten years ago today-- when we were in a late spring tornado outbreak.

I didn't cover the Lake Carey tornado. I was, as they say, "between jobs" at the time. I was on my back from a job interview in Charleston, West Virginia. It was a long day. The drive wore me out, so I got a hotel room in Harrisburg for the night. I didn't think I could safely make the rest of the drive back to Scranton. I learned of the tornado when I arrived home the next morning.

I don't intend to diminish the pain, suffering, or loss of the people in Wyoming County, but here's what I remember most about that day. There was a message on my answering machine when I returned home. It was from the news director who interviewed me in West Virginia. He knew about the nasty weather in Pennsylvania and Maryland-- and he also knew I was driving right through it. The news director wanted to make sure I made it home in one piece. It was a thoughtful gesture. Obviously, I didn't take the job, but we still keep in touch. For the record, I did hit some bad storms in western Maryland, but no tornadoes.

The thing that really scares me about tornadoes is there's nothing you can do about them. You know when conditions are ripe for tornadoes, but they are unpredictable. Weather radar gives you some notice-- but not much. You know you're in trouble when the best you can do is hide in a basement or cellar.