I had an appointment today during the midst of the whole thing, so I consulted radar and managed with some luck to travel in between the red blobs occurring.
After my appointment was said and done I traveled back to the northeast corner of the metro that I call home, crawling in the massive lemming march that is the Atlanta commute and occasionally hit my wipers. The storm. it seemed, had passed. The highway was steaming from the temperature change and the commuters were inconvenienced with puddles of water. I didn't think much about it as I was pretty sure the worst had come and gone.
Alabama never sends over nice weather. Always with the storms.
I stopped for gasoline and as I watched the numbers rise on the pump I heard a familiar drone in the distance. It wasn't close, but it was unmistakable.
I looked around. The clouds were grey, moving fast but nothing ominous. No squall line, certainly no rotation. The wind was gentle, the drizzle was light. There was nothing the made me feel concern except this sound coming from the west - the direction of Alabama that great bringer of storms.
Southwest corner, by the way. That's the corner of the room you go to. Also put your shoes on, because there will be debris on the ground afterward and it will cut the SHIT out of your feet and you will thank me for it. JUST PUT THEM ON.
Now, I stood there, pumping gas, listening to the klaxon of doom from my childhood, the sound that I had been hardwired to hear and immediately seek cover - and I just kept pumping gas. I checked my phone, no alerts. No warnings. I get tornado warnings immediately they are pushed to my phone.
I asked a man pumping gas "Is that a tornado siren?" He said "Oh is that what that is? I wondered."
I sighed and shook my head. I am sure that in the event of an earthquake I'd be doing it all wrong and people from earthquake-land would sigh and shake their head at me. We grow up in places and we learn the dangers of THOSE places and we learn them well. It's a bit of climate related social darwinism but it works, we learn the dangers and adapt.
I just know that it's 2016 and I just spoke to an adult man who didn't recognize a tornado siren and that scares me a little.
I'm also wondering why that siren was going off.
In my brain I've been calling it "sireen" like my grandma this whole time. Don't tell anyone.