Tornadoes. Twisters. Somewhere over the rainbow and all that.
Living in Denver, I’m at the far western edge of the tornado zone, but on the way back to Omaha, I got to drive right through the western half of Tornado Alley. It didn’t disappoint.
It was windy, but mostly sunny, at least where I was, and no rain to speak of. But the wind gusts were moving the Jeep around, which certainly helped my concentration.
I had picked up the NPR station a few miles into Nebraska, and with good reason, the network manager decided that Terri Gross’s interview of Keith Richards would have to fall short of satisfaction, and Performance Today would pretty much have to be Performance Another Time. It sounded like War of the Worlds, with the network breaking in every 5 minutes or so with new warnings (not watches, mind you, warnings), and the expiry of old ones.
Some of these areas touched I-80, but they all ended before I got to the affected mile markers, so I just kept driving. Until right about Mile 255 or so. There was still sun behind me, but I don’t think I had ever seen clouds that black in front of me. Ever. Every quarter-mile or so, when you thought it couldn’t get any darker, darker indeed it did get.
And then, as I came upon Exit 263 (Odessa, for those of you keeping score at home), the all-business and imperturbable NPR lady came on to announce that there was a new warning. Miles 259-290 on I-80. Ninety mile-per-hour winds. A TORNADO HAS TOUCHED DOWN SO GET THE HELL OFF OF THE ROAD, YOU IDIOT!
Thanks goodness for Sapp Bros. Ah, friendly Sapp Bros., with a parking lot big enough for all the refugees who had heard the same warning, a warm cup of coffee, and wifi. Ah, and a TV tuned to the Don’t Die , We’re Here to Tell You Where the Tornadoes Are, Channel. We love you, Sapp Bros.
And so now, with all the warnings having expired, and the weather ready to turn in for the night, it’s back on the road.