Five Reasons Tornadoes Freak Me Out.

by Amber on May 1, 2011

As a lifelong Midwesterner, I’ve always had to deal with the specter of tornadoes. I grew up with tornado drills at school, and the occasional midnight jaunt to the basement.

But it wasn’t until I moved to southern Indiana that the threat really began to seem real. We are right smack in the middle of tornado alley. During the spring and summer months, almost every major storm brings with it a tornado siren or two. And we routinely get reports of touchdowns far too close to home for comfort.

And people? It all freaks me the hell out. My vivid imagination can all too easily picture this happening to our home:

Lake Martin Tornado Damage April 2011  - 040

Photo Courtesy of the Lake Marting Voice.

Off the top of my head, I can think of five reasons why a tornado siren turns me into an irrational pile of gibbering goo:

You get no warning. The only good thing about hurricanes? You usually know when they’re coming days before they get there. With a tornado? You’re lucky if you get five minutes. That doesn’t leave much time for rounding up people and animals and corraling them all in the bathroom.

Those without a basement are out of luck. Our town is built on top of a bed of limestone. Which means basements are not easy to find (at least in our price range). So the only “protection” we have against tornadoes is a half bath, no bigger than a closet. And honestly? I’m not sure it would do any good at all if we got a direct hit.

There’s nothing you can do to prepare. Again with the hurricane example: When you get the news that one is on the way, you can  board up your windows and secure supplies. Not so with a tornado. All you can do is huddle together and pray.

They always seem to strike at night. I know that’s not strictly true, but it seems to be from my perspective. And there’s nothing scarier than being kicked out of bed by the sound of a tornado siren. Plus, waking up a baby? Is hell on earth.

The weather that surrounds a tornado warning? Is almost as bad. House-rattling thunder. Tree-flattening winds. Flooding rains. Golf ball-sized hail. It all adds up to one hell of a mess—even if the tornado comes nowhere near you.

So, yeah. I hate tornadoes. And there’s really no point to this post except to complain about how much I hate tornadoes. Sorry about that. So now it’s your turn. What’s your least favorite kind of weather?

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{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

Marie May 1, 2011 at 10:13 pm

It probably isn’t much consolation, but most of my parents’ neighbors huddled in their basements with their animals and even with their houses flattening or flying away, they all made it through with no injuries. I know, not much consolation. :)



Amber May 2, 2011 at 10:36 am

I’m glad everybody’s okay!


Rebecca May 1, 2011 at 10:15 pm

I’m with you on the tornado’s thing. When I was 7 or 8 years old one blew my school down to the ground. Flattened the place in one fell swoop! It was a Friday evening and nobody was in the building, not even a janitor.

Here where I live, there were terrible tornadoes on New Years Eve that destroyed lots of homes LOTS and on Good Friday another terrible line of tornadoes tore through the area. Both times, I freaked out and was huddled in the basement.

God help me when the storm alarms go off at night. I wake up panicked and screaming and Kevin has to calm me and then I grab Isabella and carry her to the basement and Kevin grabs Joey and we wait it out all while listening to the storm radio.

Scary scary scary.

But know what scares me just as much? Earthquakes. About 3 years ago an earthquake hit about 100 miles from here at 3am. I felt all the shaking and it woke me up and it took me a second to process that I wasn’t dreaming and then I heard all the stuff in the house shaking and I freaked the heck out. I grabbed the diaper bag and was clinging onto it while wearing my robe and I put on my boots (because if it shook any harder and stuff started breaking I wanted my big butt kicking boots)
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Amber May 2, 2011 at 10:36 am

If Mother Nature would just be nice and not throw any of these awful things at us, it would be much better. I have to admit, earthquakes seem very scary. But here in Indiana, we don’t worry about those much. Phew!


Meagan May 1, 2011 at 10:34 pm

Just as bad are the straight line winds that come with those storms. Those can be just as bad if not worse than tornados.

We’re lucky enough to have a basement. When we have bad storms I’m always grateful for it. I also feel lucky that our boys aren’t terrified of storms and can sleep through them. I think the fact that we have always remained calm and matter of fact has helped.
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Amber May 2, 2011 at 10:35 am

Yeah, calm and matter of fact would be a good idea. I get a big old fail for that one…


Jenny May 1, 2011 at 10:42 pm

Lilapsophobia. Yes, I’ve looked the word up. It’s the fear of tornadoes. And I have it too. I’m in central Indiana, so I know what you mean. When it storms I get stomach aches and check the weather constantly. It’s that bad and hubby thinks I’m a freak, lol.


Amber May 2, 2011 at 10:35 am

I don’t think you’re a freak. I think you’re smart. ;-)


Kathy May 2, 2011 at 12:01 am

I’ve lived in earthquake country my whole life and I HATE earthquakes! No warning, no sirens, no nothing. And no way to tell if the mild (HA HA HA OH GOD) is the beginning of the Big One or not.
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Amber May 2, 2011 at 10:34 am

Yep, earthquakes seem unimaginably horrible to me. Worse than tornadoes, for sure.


Kathy May 2, 2011 at 12:02 am

Mild SHAKING I meant. Heh. Just thinking about earthquakes rattles me!
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Jen May 2, 2011 at 9:38 am

I have been scared of storms and tornadoes for as long as I can remember.


Amber May 2, 2011 at 10:33 am

As a kid, we used to go out on the porch and look to see if we could spot a tornado. Then I got smart.


Amanda C May 2, 2011 at 5:32 pm

I’m a born and raised Hoosier, and tornado season is the absolute worst time of year for me.
My mom experienced the “Palm Sunday Tornado” when she was small. From her descriptions, it was the size of the big one on “Twister”. Tractors and people ended up in trees during that one. She was a constant weather watcher from then on, and unfortunately, I inherited her anxiety toward storms and bad weather.
I’m a light sleeper, so whenever the lightning, thunder, rain, and/or wind are exceptionally loud, I immediately wake up. Vincent has, unfortunately, inherited that from me, too. Recently, we’ve ended up in the guest bedroom together, and when the siren goes off, we head to the basement. I’m actually very grateful for my smart phone, because I keep a local news app on it and watch the weather updates that way if the electricity goes out and I can’t listen to NPR. The absolute worst nights are when then sirens go off, Brian’s on-call. That happened once, and because the warnings weren’t going to end until the 3 am, the boys and I ended up sleeping on the couch in the basement. Which made me very glad we never trashed it in the first place.
And, while that was happening, Brian and the rest of the staff on the Labor and Delivery floor of the hospital had to move all of their patients out of rooms with windows–while a woman was delivering her baby at the same time!
Yeah, as you can see, I’m sick of this weather. :P


Erin May 3, 2011 at 8:38 am

I am afraid of the wind. It is so powerful and unseen….and there is nothing that can be done to control it. I live in Central PA – not known for severe weather – but I’ll watch wind out the windows…it is a respectful fear – I’m in awe of it.
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Amber May 4, 2011 at 9:06 am

The wind is crazy! I always worry about a tree falling and hitting our roof.


erica May 3, 2011 at 9:18 am

I’ve never experienced a tornado, or even the threat of one, but you can bet your bottom dollar our next house is having a basement! Just in case.


Amber May 4, 2011 at 9:05 am

I am jealous of your future basement-ness. My next house will have to have one, too.


BalancingMama (julie) May 5, 2011 at 7:10 am

Tornadoes are freaky, especially at night when my girl is all alone in her room! We just saw the Ringgold, GA exit off I-75 (on oulr way to/from seeing some TN friends) last weekend… So sad! Everything is gone!
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Amber May 6, 2011 at 8:33 am

I can’t even imagine. Horrible!


Kaye Swanson December 9, 2011 at 2:18 am

That happened once, and because the warnings weren’t going to end until the 3 am, the boys and I ended up sleeping on the couch in the basement. I don’t think you’re a freak.
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Amber December 11, 2011 at 9:36 am

If I had a basement, I’d spend lots of evenings in the spring sleeping there. I hate tornadoes!


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