Wednesday, March 29, 2017

A Tornado on Valentine's Day??? -- Tuesday, February 14, 2017

"...and tornados are possible."  Yikes!  Checking Weather Underground and the local weather news this morning on one of Houston's TV channels, we hear the disturbing announcement.  Yet, we are not in what Herb and I have always referred to as 'tornado alley' in Texas.  That would be farther north.

Dark Sky on my phone does not show immediate danger.

WX Underground radar shows the threatened area, and yes, our part of Houston is in the path as it stands now.  I quickly scan the skies to see the clouds with lots of dark masses moving rapidly all around us.

It is 8:25 in the morning.

I look to the south -- and yes, it is coming.  It doesn't appear quite daylight yet, and the soft pinks kissing the clouds cause me to think I see a hint of a sunrise being reflected against them.  Maybe the storm will bypass us....

It is raining as I point my camera to the north at 8:31.

I text my family members who may be on their way to work.  "I need to know you are safe!"  I can see Roxie's building through the binoculars I keep near the northeast window, and she tells me she is already at work.  Ed and Stephanie are also OK.

I zoom the camera for a closer look at the downtown traffic that never stops.  Haven't they heard the forecast? It makes for a colorful scene with the bright headlights coming south and the brilliant red taillights heading north.  Now and then I see a Xenon.  The northbound vehicles could stay ahead of the system, but the others will run right into it.  I hope they will be OK.

As fast as the rain is coming down, the ground can not soak it in quickly enough, which results in some street flooding.  I hear splashing outside and note a car making a U-turn in front of our driveway.  The driver has realized the depth of the water in the street ahead.  He will find another way to get to his destination -- or go back home!

It is 8:42 and the news on TV says the threat of a tornado will last until 9:15.  We watch and wait, and pray.

As the rapidly moving system moves closer to us, the rain shifts its direction and peppers our north facing windows.  Visibility diminishes so that I can no longer see Roxie's building or the red taillights.  It is 8:49A.  Twenty-six more minutes of this distressful situation.

Hope springs eternal (Alexander Pope, "An Essay on Man") and I am glad to see the clock shows 9:08.  Seven more minutes.  I take a quick photo of the radar on the WX news and see the intense system yet to pass over Houston, but soon!  Some flooding is also shown.

One minute later at 9:09 I zoom in for a closer look at exactly where the storm is.  I can barely see the word Houston and know the part of town we live in.  The movement shows much of the system is going north and not so much east, so will miss giving us her wrath.  The yellows and reds are very beautiful, but can cause so much harm.  I note with a bit of anxiety the red outlined kite quadrilateral.  That would be the tornado!  Six minutes to go!

At 9:15 we have breakfast and relax. 

Happy Valentine's Day!

We give thanks for safety of all people, for the rain that nourishes the grass, flowers, trees, and gardens.  And for the several shades of blue that we see now appearing in the sky.  Can sunshine be far behind?

                                                                                             Photo by Herb Stark, AKA Walldog

Willie of Willie's Tug,
   and of Walldog, Willie and Jake
   Tuesday, February 14, 2017


  1. What a great docu-drama, Willie! I love how you told the story with great visuals

    1. Thanks, Anne! It was pretty scary that morning.