Well I just had to push my luck didn’t I? Not only did the sirens go off once on Wednesday evning, or twice, but about five times! As the worst tornadic activity for years happened in Southern Indianna.
Luckily, the gent at reception had been quite right when he informed me I definitely would be able to hear the siren when it went off. Once we’d agreed with each other that we could both hear a siren, well its always best to check that another person can hear a siren and you’re not just being melodramatic and imagining one, we quick-marched down to reception. In fact, we had to run across to the lobby due to the rain and I distinctly heard laughter from above as we made a dash for it. Now this was either a higher being having a laugh at the chaos they were creating with the weather or it was a local who was quite used to all the sirens and was amused by our frantic antics.
Alas, our efforts were futile as reception told us that we should be ok but if a second, louder one sounded then we should come back. They also kindly invited us for pizza in the library, which was a lovely gesture if not a tad bit random in the middle of a tornado warning. Maybe pizza parties are used as a coping mechanism here when the sirens go off? (I have made a mental note to add pizza to next weeks shop, maybe cheese and tomato. It’s a nice plain, safe flavour ). However, unfortunately for Luke, I had left frazzled pork chops and crispier than planned sweet potato wedges in the oven so no pizza for him. I blame the poor culinary skills on our panic to get downstairs. And no, I did not use the quilt, I didn’t think I could abandon Luke like that and we only have one.
We thought the worst was over but fast-forward a few hours and we both knew we were in for a stormy night
Also, the building near our flat had lowered the flag that normal flies proudly from their roof. We have worked out that they only ever do this whenever a storm is imminent . Oh dear. Thus we ended our evening sat in our hallway, with a blanket; emergency supplies, which I’d packed after the first siren as another precaution; books and Luke had turned the T.V round to face the hall. This was so we could carry on watching the storm updates that had been going on for 9 hours already and had taken over from normal programmes. They had even taken the decision to carry on with the weather news and not show the American Idol final! For me, this sums up how seriously they were taking the threat.
Being able to see the T.V was, possibly, the worst thing to do as it kept showing downtown Indianapolis and the imminent storm that was racing towards it. There is nothing to ease your worries quite like being able to see a severe storm, which could possibly turn into a tornado, hurtling towards your apartment block live on T.V. Ordinarily, if we had been watching it from somewhere else, i.e well away from the flat, it may have been interesting. However, sat on the floor near the door of our apartment on the 22nd floor? Not so much. It felt like we were watching a disaster movie instead of the news. Only, we were in it . It felt a bit like they had created a reality T.V. show based on a version of ‘Twister’, with a bit of ‘The day after tomorrow’ thrown in for good ratings.
We could see in very clear detail everything happening on T.V , from the Indy news studio, before it reached us. Big yey for whoever invented long distance filming! Thanks to that bright spark we got to see exactly what was headed for Riley Towers. Our tower block slowly become enveloped by thick black clouds as they creeped their way over the city skyline. Then we saw the hailstone descend, and a few minutes later they were pelting down on the windows. We watched the T.V show the stunning lightning forks over the city whilst our flat was then repeatedly illuminated every other minute. I have never seen such a quick repetition of lightning, or ever want to again. It’s very unsettling. As was watching the news. They say technology is supposed to make life easier but this particular T.V broadcast was of no comfort whatsoever.
The whole experience was mildly terrifying, and not what I imagined we’d be doing when I agreed to move here. Next time if Luke says we are moving somewhere I intend to do a very, very thorough check of the place. I found the tornado threat disturbing, to say the least. However, not so for Luke! He didn’t seem the least bit perturbed . Luke was far too focused on getting his spreadsheet done and wasn’t going to let a little thing like a potential tornado get in the way of that. Well, he hasn’t earned the nickname ‘Spreadsheet Boy’ for nothing! I must make sure that there are never again any forms of spreadsheets near Luke when there is an emergency. Ever.
On the rare occasions when I was able to get a little bit of conversation out of Luke, during the time in our makeshift ‘shelter’, we spent the majority of our ‘chat’ trying to weigh up what was safer : On the 22nd floor near the top of the building or the bottom with 30 floors above us? However, we are the most indecisive couple in the world and it always takes us ages to decide anything. Even on the trivial things like what films to see? what to have for dinner ? what washing up liquid to buy? So for us to decide what to do in a potentially life threatening situation was hopeless. By the time we had decided what to do, which was to stay put as we didn’t want to risk being stuck in a lift , the storm had begun to move away from the city and terrorise other areas of Indianapolis.
After later research we should definitely have retreated to the lobby. We should have at least got in a stairwell or bathtub. Like this particularly weather lady did in April . Absolutely hilarious!! Oh well, at least the quilt came into handy as something soft to line the hallway with. Although , a bath tub may be considerably quicker to get down the stairs in. A bit like an indoor toboggan. Umm , now theres an idea.