Growing up in St. Louis, Missouri, it wasn’t uncommon to hear the tornado sirens go off fairly often during summer and warmer months. I remember going through tornado drills in school, where we had to go out to the inside hallways, sit down with our backs against the wall, and put our head between our knees. In fact, during my childhood, a tornado touched down just a few miles from our house and decimated a subdivision. That story is an all too common one throughout the midwestern states like Oklahoma, Missouri, and Kansas.
But you don’t normally associate tornados with mountainous states like Colorado. However, one thing that people fail to realize is that a large part of Colorado is made up of plains, very similar to Kansas. In fact, you have to drive a over 200 miles to reach the first range of mountains as you head west. So in fact, eastern Colorado can at times get very “Midwestern-like” weather, but it’s not something I think about or expect.
As I was getting ready to leave work, where our offices are located just south and west of Longmont, Colorado, I heard some rumbles of thunder. The sky looked kind of strange, gray and eery as I made my way to the parking lot. Even given all of that, I was somewhat shocked when an emergency warning came over the radio for a tornado warning for Longmont and nearby Lyons. Apparently a tornado had already touched down just north of Longmont. Wow, it had been so long since I’d been in the situation, I wasn’t even sure what I should do. What do you do when you are in your car? Should you pull over, get in a ditch, keep driving in the opposite direction?
Fortunately, the tornado was moving in a westerly direction and I was headed south, so made it home safely. But the wacky weather from the night was only just beginning. After the tornado warning expired, a thunderstorm moved into the same area, and dumped up to six inches of rain in just a couple of hours. The Town of Lyons is reporting water running over roadways, running through homes, and the river at bank full. This being the same town that was devastated by the September, 2013 flood.
Who would have thought our wet, wet month of May would get followed by such severe and crazy weather? At this point, am not even sure I will get to work tomorrow. More to be revealed….