Thursday, April 22, 2010
T is for Trees
Sorry, I know that was cheesy and bad, but I came up with that in the car this morning and I have been chomping at the bit to let fly with it all day long. I do, sort of, wonder about this whole planting trees thing, like when it became chic and when everyone and their brothers started doing it. The logging companies have been doing it for decades, and no one seems to give them any credit for anything. I mean, I am not against planting trees at all, nothing bad will come from planting a tree in your yard, unless of course it grows up and then a tornado proceeds to knock it down onto your house or car.
HAHA! I got you good, Company. T is really for tornado today. Man was that sweet. You thought I was coming at you with a typical tree-hugging Earth Day post and then WHAM-O! the bottom dropped out and now we are talking about one of the biggest tree-killers of them all, right behind people and Mt. St. Helens. The reason we are talking about tornados (T could also be for trailer park today, which goes great with tornado, and especially with that fat, obese, unhygenic woman standing in front of the friendly local TV camera explaining how it sounded like a freight train and she ran into the bathroom just as her trailer disappeared around her, which is bullshit because it didn't sound like a freight train, it sounded like a tornado, which is what it was) is because we are smack in the middle of Severe Weather and Tornado Awareness Week, which is a week when, in the United States - which has more tornadoes than any other nation on Earth - has their National Weather Service do a bunch of informational stuff and test out their tornado warning infrastructure. So, this afternoon, they are going to celebrate Earth Day by making everyone in the midwest think about what the Earth can do to make them die. First there will be a test tornado watch that will be issued, then there will be a series of test tornado warnings from each of several offices, and then there will be some test severe weather statements, which are like updates. Sounds good. The sort of unnerving thing though, is that a lot of local communities will be testing their tornado sirens at the same time as the test warnings.
For those of you who are unaware, many communities in tornado-prone area have a series of sirens throughout their towns or cities that will blow when a tornado is imminent. Sort of like an air raid siren from wartime. In a lot of small town this is the same siren that is used to call the volunteer fire department, which is good because you are going to need those guys once the tornado comes through and tears down some electric wires and they start your downtown on fire. It's bad because the people in your town have to be able to use contextual clues - such as darkening sky or violent wind or a tornado barreling down Maple St. - to know why the siren is going off, and let's face it, most of the people in your town are fucking morons. Also, many communities activiate their tornado sirens at noon each day in order to test them out and to tell everyone when it is time to go to lunch.
The reason that the tornado siren test will be a little unnerving is because when you hear it go off and the contextual clues aren't right it is really, really, alarming. For instance, if the siren blares and you look outside and it's a beautiful, sunny day, and you look at the clock and it's not noon, and they don't use the siren to call the fire department where you live, you start to wonder what's going on. You run outside your front door to look down the street. You don't know if it's a floor or a foreign invasion or a cloud of locusts or if maybe that one little puffy white cloud WAY WAY WAY high up in the sky is spawning a tornado - you just don't know. Your heart rate increases and you have a miniature panic attack because you are so scared and confused but then the siren dies away and everything returns to normal for the rest of day, except you are a little on edge and every time someone says hello you sort of jump because, well, you just don't know why the siren went off.
For their part the media have done a good job of letting it be known that this is going on, but you know there are going to be a lot of forgetful people, or people who are just not paying attention, who are going to freak out when the watches and warnings are issues and the tests start to happen. Such is life. But be aware of what to do in tornadoes and severe weather this week, and remember that is all part of nature and Earth. As much a part as planting trees. Happy Earth Day everyone!