Sunday, December 12, 2021

Winter in the South

Last week, leading up to Friday, we kept hearing we could be in for some bad weather Friday night and into Saturday morning. 

All day Friday, it was blustery and warm. I wore shorts all day, which is not terribly unusual. My WFH (Work From Home) attire is generally casual. But in early December, one would think, to go outside, I would change into pants. 

Not necessarily where we live in Middle Tennessee. We could easily have an early winter snow in December (unusual but not impossible), but we could also have balmy days with temps climbing into the 70s. So it was shorts, inside and out, all day Friday. 

 I'm not always a devoted student of the weather, but with the winds picking up during the day, I glanced at the weather app on my phone and joined Wife watching the evening TV weather report. 

The meteorologists were telling us to beware of bad storms and possible tornados. A line was already forming to the west of us. 

Before I went to bed about 10:30, high winds had already done extensive damage to a nursing home building in west Arkansas, near Memphis, killing three. Tragic

Wife is more of a night owl than I. She told me to go to bed. She would stay up and come get me if she thought we needed to go down to our basement, our safe place when the tornado sirens go off. 

She went to bed somewhere between 2 and 3. She told me she was aware of the storms all around us, but had decided the tornado sirens and/or weather alerts on our phones would wake us. 

At 3 a.m. we were hearing those phone alarms. 

We got up and tuned in to one of the local TV stations. The meteorologists were tracking severe thunderstorms with high winds and were detecting rotation in some places above the ground, meaning possible tornados. 

Meanwhile, we could hear the wind howling. Over the years, we have taken the precaution of going to the basement for much less. With this kind of wind, it was time to go. 

Just as we were gathering a couple of blankets (although we hardly needed them -- it was 73 degrees!), the power went out. Our phones are both equipped with flashlights and Wife grabbed another high-powered one. 

We stayed in the basement about 30 minutes. Wife was able to pull up the TV station we had been watching on her phone for a few minutes, until the signal was apparently lost. We got just enough to know when the worst was in our area and, of course, we could still hear it. 

We went back to bed about 4 when the worst seemed to have passed over us. It took me a while to go back to sleep, but after I did, I slept until almost 9. I went outside to inspect things. There were lots of limbs, big and small, in the yard. The small, decorative Christmas trees on the front porch had both fallen over, and a couple of the wreaths on the windows were blown around from one side to the other. 

Our neighbors had the same situations and many of them were already out in their yards picking up the limbs. I soon joined them. 

Our electricity was still out. We had no idea how long that would last, so Wife went to a nearby convenience store and got some ice. We filled a couple of coolers with it and transferred some food from the refrigerators, holding out enough for some lunch. We kept the freezers closed. 

We had been planning to attend a Christmas program at a nearby church at 3 p.m. I don't know why, but it had not occurred to us they might also be without power, but as we pulled up about 2:30, we were met by a church member in the parking lot who told us that was indeed the case, and the 3 p.m. concert was canceled. There was another scheduled for 6, and they would have it if power was restored. 

We certainly didn't want to go home, so I suggested a visit to my favorite craft brewery, hoping they would have power. Blessings abound, and they did! It had been steadily getting colder throughout the day (a cold front was ushered in with the storms), so it was nice to have a warm place of refuge. 

The tap room at this brewery is not like a seedy bar, but more like a cozy little enclave where people are friendly and well behaved. Wife and I sat at a table and played three games of Rummikub (typically, she beat me every single game) while I enjoyed some of the tap offerings. (Wife is not a beer drinker but is a competitive game player and thoroughly enjoyed beating me in Rummikub).

We stayed there a couple of hours. On my phone I checked the website of the church having the Christmas program and, alas, they were still without power and the 6 p.m. performance had also been canceled. 

We stayed at the brewery a couple of hours and from there went to a nearby restaurant and had dinner. We arrived home about 7:30. Still no power. The outside temperature had plunged to about 40 and the overnight low was expected to dip a couple degrees below freezing, so we were bracing ourselves for a cold night. 

We lit some candles. I grabbed my laptop, which was fully charged, so we could watch a movie. 

About 15 minutes after arriving home, however, the lights came back on. Soon the house was cozy and warm. 

It is now Sunday morning and I slept soundly last night. It's about 29 degrees, but according to the five-day forecast, it will be 68 Wednesday. That's winter around here. 

Folks to the west and north us did not fare as well and are now dealing with the destruction and devastation storms and tornados can bring. My heart breaks for them. 


JayCee said...

Sounds pretty wild over there Bob.

Kelly said...

Such devastating storms! My heart breaks for those who were affected. Not that there's ever a good time for tragedy, it just seems worse when it happens at this time of year.

We were in the upper 70s Friday, yet it was a blustery low 50s at the park yesterday.

Debby said...

My gosh. I cannot imagine. That sounds terrifying to be gotten out of bed to go to the basement in the middle of the night. While we have had tornado warnings a-plenty, we've rarely have been troubled by actual tornados. Oddly, once, walking in the woods, we found a long swath of snapped of trees. It just went on and on, all the trees snapped off about 15 feet up. Obviously a tornado had touched down at some point, and because it was so remote, no one even knew.

Glad everyone is okay. The news out of there is really hard to watch.

Becki said...

As the storms began to approach Indiana, I gathered water in buckets knowing if our power went out, we wouldn't even have running water (we just moved into a house with a well that serves us water via an electric pump). I moaned outloud about the possibility - which didn't end up happening. Found out the next morning, near our old home in town, one family suffered a tree falling on BOTH their parked vehicles. I suddenly felt sheepish that I hadn't wanted to be inconvenienced by flushing a toilet with water from a bucket. THEN news of tragedies in other places began to come in. Suddenly my buckets of collected water were put into perspective. Nothing like wicked weather to help us understand just how little we really control anything. And to remind me to be thankful for what I have. Glad you two were safe!

Jeff said...

Glad you are safe. The storms were terrible, but they fell apart in the mountains to our west. We are in a drought, and could have used more rain.

Ed said...

Glad to hear you were spared the destruction meted out elsewhere. We were on the northern side of that system and so our weather forecast was focused on the snow line up here. We ended up being just south of the snow. Forecast here is for 70 degrees on Wednesday, shattering the record by 16 degrees.