Tuesday, May 21, 2024

This Time of Year, Typical Day in Omaha

The siren wail lasted a few minutes. In Omaha, Nebraska, residents know what it means. Gilda and I surmised it meant “tornado watch.” A confirming alert pulsated through her iPhone.

The skies, which a few moments before had been bright and blue, turned grey and foreboding. Rain came down. Hard. But for just a few minutes. Then the sun reappeared.

I needed to go to the supermarket a mile and a half away. Gilda checked her iPhone for weather alerts. All clear. I headed off. Halfway there it started sprinkling. Again the skies darkened. My head swiveled between looking at the road and scanning the grey skies for any signs of a funnel. By the time I reached the supermarket it was a full scale downpour. 

I had taken a jacket but not a hat, so I perched a shopping bag atop my head as I walked the 20 yards to the store entrance. A bald man leaving the supermarket teased he had no need to worry about wetting his hair. 

After quickly filling my shopping list I was all set to flee back to my car, but the cashier advised it was best to wait out the storm. So I hung out in the vestibule near the automatic doors. A woman was waiting for her husband to join her after parking the car. They had encountered small pellets of hail during their ride. 

A few minutes later the rain subsided to a soft drizzle. On the way back to Ellie’s house puddles, BIG puddles, hugging roadside curbs displayed the intensity of the storm. It had overwhelmed the storm drain system’s ability to absorb the water. My pathway was flat. No danger of driving into a puddle of unknown depth. While I was coping with the rain and possibility of a twister, Gilda sought safety in the basement of Ellie’s home.

As I write this, the sun is shining once again. The forecast for the rest of the afternoon is for winds in excess of 20 miles per hour. Last night winds were equally as strong. Rain, perhaps even hail, pelted the windows, siding and roof. Phone alerts advised moving away from windows. Areas of Omaha received more than five inches of rain. 

I have no regrets missing an actual tornado. I’m more than content beingthisclosetotheexperience.