Monday, June 12, 2006

Oh, by the way, you're in imminent danger...

When my radio alarm went off this morning, I heard the DJ say my county was currently under a tornado warning. Warning. That means an actual tornado has been spotted. When I said I was moving to Florida, everyone said that at least hurricanes give you advance notice, unlike the tornadoes Texas is prone to. But yay, great, I get tornadoes here, too! So I jumped out of bed and turned on the TV. Nothing. Nothing, nothing, nothing! I could not find ANY mention of this tornado, except in a small ticker running across the bottom of the screen on 2 channels: the national Weather Channel, and a local weather channel that just displays radar images & abbreviated forecasts, but does not have live humans on it. That's it.

The closest news channels are mostly from Tampa, and while some of them were discussing Tropical Storm Alberto, which is brewing in the gulf, many were just chuckling about whatever else struck their fancy and talking about national news. Hello?? I'm about to be blown away here and no one is mentioning it. The "Sarasota news" channel is only replaying taped human interest stories from the past week. They don't even have a ticker about looming danger. Meanwhile, the ticker on the other 2 channels is telling me to go immediately to an interior room of my home and put a mattress over my head. I was kind of in shock. My good interior closet was piled up with unpacked boxes & stuff like that & I tried to frantically start removing things. But I was furious, too. This county isn't even that big, so any danger they spotted is danger for me. In Austin, if there was a tornado warning anywhere in the viewing area, that would be all you'd hear about on any of the local channels, including the local news channel with mostly human interest stories. But here, I could get no information. I am not happy to live in a town without its own real TV channels! And the local newspaper only updates its web site once a day when it puts out a new paper, so I've never found a way to follow current or developing local news. The highway was closed down for hours one day when I was trying to take my mom to the airport, and I never could find out why, despite searching for relevant information that day and the next.

So, we never managed to get better information or get our kids out of their windowed rooms before the tornado warning expired, which was 15 minutes after I found out about it. The kids could have been blown away in their sleep if the tornado hadn't dissipated on its own. I finally found a Tampa station that at least seemed to be talking about the weather and showing maps that included Sarasota. We are all under a Tropical Storm Warning & Flood Watch, so I have no idea what I'm supposed to do or whether I should avoid taking the kids to their Vacation Bible School today that's only a few miles from the coast.

I am already at my quota of tornado warnings for this year (I rarely got more than one a year in Austin, if that), so right now Florida is racking up negative points in my book, as it surely will for the rest of the storm season, if we live that long!

1 comment:

Phyllis said...

I get nervous about the weather, and can understand your frustration with the local weather coverage. I have visited family there and have had a hard time finding out info about the current severe weather. Try the National Weather Service site - its a little better. I am moving to Sarasota in a couple of months, and enjoy reading your thoughts about the area.