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I thought Dorothy lived in Kansas!

Tornado! That’s a word that will strike at least some measure of fear into anyone not used to living in tornado alley. Somehow, we have managed to be riding in tornado alley in the beginning of tornado season. And WHAT a beginning! My mom even asked me the other night if I had changed my name to Dorothy yet- that’s how crazy it’s been!

It amazed me how the locals could talk about tornadoes as if they were no big deal. Sure, it is a big deal if one hits. But they constantly get threats for them. No biggy. Life goes on as usual. Sirens warning that one was likely to touch down would be going off and they’d be looking out their window watching the storm! The TV would stop all regularly scheduled shows and news broadcasts and run non-stop live weather footage of the thunderstorm moving through, where the tornado threats were greatest, and who was in the path. While I would be speechlessly glued to the TV, the locals would carry on a non-chalant conversation and only half listen to what was being said! Clearly, they had been through this before!

We have had quite the education and initiation to tornado alley, and now I think I am beginning to understand. You can only get hyped up so many times until it becomes normal and you no longer fret. It’s either coming or it’s not. You get in the basement/cellar (they know the difference around here- I still don’t) if it’s coming, you don’t bother if it’s not. That’s all. Then you go clean up the damage from hail and wind afterwards. The end. In the last week and a half, we’ve had so many tornado threats that I believe Richard and I are almost becoming like the locals! 

Thankfully, we have new friends in Cape Girardeau who text and call us to make sure we know if something is coming our way, plus we have usually been able to be near a TV and listening to the weather radio when the worst storms were happening so we at least knew what was going on. We’d make our camping plans based on what the weather was expected to do. Tent it if there was only thunderstorms with no tornado warnings; find a nice person with a basement to host us if there were expected tornadoes!

One such evening brought to a couple’s home who raised miniature donkeys. They were willing to let us stay under a roof and kept our phone number so they could call us over to their house and basement if we were in the path of the severe weather. We got a phone call about 9:30 at night, grabbed our essential can’t-live-without-it items, and ran to the house. We spent the next hour and a half getting to know our hosts better while we stared at the TV and listened to the weather alert radio. She even showed us nearly golf ball size hail she had saved in the freezer from the last storm! We could hear the rain and wind just pounding outside and we knew the horses were getting a real thorough bath! Once again, we remained safe and praised God for keeping us out of the path of any severely damaging weather!


  1. We all need to pray this terrible severe weather pattern out of the Heartsup route and out of the Mississippi river valley, for the sake of the riders and the folks who have severe flooding.

    Dear Lord,
    Please take this rain to a place that really needs rain, spare the poor farmers and victims of the tornados that ravaged the entire southern US. Keep them all safe and dry.
    In the name of Jesus, we pray.

  2. We “Tornado Alley locals” do listen to the emergency broadcasts, but we learn to “actively filter” them. The tragedy this spring is that the huge tornadoes that normally spawn in the Plains occurred in the South, where large tornadoes are rare and many homes have no basements. Evidently the last time something of this scale happened in the South and Ohio Valleys was April 1974, the so-called “Super Outbreak”. I expect they will start numbering the super Outbreaks now.

    It is a matter of what one is willing to accept as risk or simply accepts. There are many choices just with nature: tornadoes, earthquakes, volcanoes, hurricanes, floods, avalanches, blizzards, sandstorms, hail, drought, fire.

  3. I forgot–if you or other readers think we Tornado Alley folks are somewhat crazy, do not, repeat, DO NOT Google “storm chasers”!

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