Tornado Watch . . . cont.

As we sit foolishly on our deck chairs waiting for a tornado to sweep us away, we fear our Japanese neighbor with the tent hasn’t understood what the park ranger told him until he starts to unwind a hank of heavy twine to reinforce his tie downs. His tent is held in place by feeble looking orange string looped around the shin high perimeter fence. He needs to tie down his big dog and himself. Will the tent hold up to the ferocity of a tornado? I think not, but I doubt our trailer will either.

Our idyllic campsite on a fine day
Our idyllic campsite on a fine day. Note the proximity to the Atlantic Ocean.

It’s thundering now. The sun has gone. The patch of blue sky has drifted past and closed up. In its place are gouges of black. A sooty grey has replaced the fluffy white band of cloud. Thunder rumbles on and on like a case of bad indigestion.

The ocean is lapping calmly at the shore no more than eight strides from where we sit but with the disappearance of the sun the water has turned a murky menacing color. By contrast, the ocean on the distant horizon beneath the threatening slate clouds is a striking turquoise, lightening to a pale aqua as it reaches some shallows. Peaceful colors. Sinister colors. Mixed messages. What should we make of all that?

The view from the bedroom window on a nicer day!
The view from the bedroom window on a nicer day!

The wind speed has notched up and air cooled down, raising goose bumps on my clammy skin. A black fist of cloud has thrust across in front of us. The thunder, though not loud is more insistent. A pelican has coasted to a halt and settled on the water to keep his eye on us. Has no one told him to go home and batten down the hatches?

We watched and waited. We walked to the camp showers and came back and waited. A few spits of rain sent us scuttling inside the trailer, where we’d at least be dry for a bit if not safe, and we ate lunch and waited.

Three squalls came through in quick succession, each time closing the visibility at sea to zero, pummeling the roof for a few minutes, buffeting our trailer and then rolling the rain curtain benignly away under a black squall line.

It’s all over now. Nothing much happened. The storm didn’t even clear the air of humidity.

Sunset after the storm
Sunset after the storm

Our neighbor from Tokyo, we discovered later, had a slightly more memorable experience. In his preparations with the twine, he had secured his tent on the windward side. The storm and wind veered from the opposite direction. While we had been munching happily on tuna fish sandwiches and potato chips, he spent a whole hour dangling from the overhead struts of his tent, suspended beneath it like a marionette on a string, in an effort to stop it taking off to Oz.

His dog Tinta, however, slept through it all.

19 thoughts on “Tornado Watch . . . cont.

  1. I’m so glad you averted the experience of a tornado. Growing up in Illinois I have seen first hand the horror left in its wake and I too have been fortunate not personally be impacted. What a beautiful camping spot 🙂


  2. I want to camp right in that spot! Wow, beautiful there. The visual picture you painted of your poor tent neighbor’s experience was priceless! Poor guy. I have a similar story to tell from a couple of years ago on our very first trip out in our “new” RV, too. Thanks for the laugh again today!


  3. We had a storm heading to us a couple of days ago but luckily it veered off to Turkey and we watched the lightning on the horizon. We used to live in S-E Queensland and you’d get killer storms in the summer – hailstones which would smash a windscreen and dent a car, lightning and winds that ripped apart 7 houses on the valley floor near us. All the electrics in our home were blown – phone, tv, compute, answering machine & video (no DVDs then). Our neighbour’s house at the back was unroofed and most of it flew over us to land in the park opposite. I was glad to get away, it was nerve-wracking when those storms approached.


    1. This country has every kind of terrifying weather there is. We’ve driven through the smoke of wildfires, seen the detritus on the beach in California after a tsunami, prayed and drank wine during a microburst, watched lightning on the horizon and thought we were going to blow over in our tiny unstable home. But we didn’t. We’ve been very lucky.


  4. I live in an area where we never take tornado warnings lightly–in fact, the town I live in was devastated by a horrible tornado about 15 years before I moved here. We actually had tornadoes in the area this past November, which is a real rarity–luckily, no damage near my area, but downstate was hit hard. When it comes down to it, you just can’t predict what Mother Nature will do on any given day!


    1. We have watched on TV the devastation caused by tornadoes in the Midwest and have been horrified. We suffered no more than some buffeting winds. We were lucky. I can’t imagine the terror of living through a tornado.


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