Wednesday, May 25, 2011
The Power of Simile
Call it the power of simile that roused me suddenly full awake at a quarter to three early this morning. I knew the tornado watch continued on to three but the chief meteorologist of my favorite evening news station said it wasn't likely. The National Weather Service from Topeka, she said, let a weather balloon loose not long ago. The data the balloon sent back showed calm air above the six mile level.
The killer tornados in central Oklahoma were topping out at about six miles according to Doppler radar. The jet stream was providing volatility to the winds aloft. An upper level low pressure system steered in to enhance vertical wind shear over Oklahoma. But now the air above the Sunflower state was placid. Sure we'd see the thunder storms move through, but not the evil appendages hooking on to their rear flanks.
With my mind set to rest I gathered grandchildren to their beds. Sleep came quickly. Then suddenly I was awake. A faint roll of thunder off in the distance was being drowned out by the steadily increasing roar of what sounded like a freight train.
I can't recall when the last time was when I moved so quick. In a split second I had spun to a sitting position and had my feet on the floor. I hit the television remote and the mute button. The television would provide light in less than a second.
My mind raced as I stood up and changed channels to the local stations. I heard it as the first station appeared. There were no local warnings and the engineer finally let loose with his whistle. The deafening sound of an approaching freight train turned out to be a freight train.
If tornadoes sounded like older women walking down wooden halls in orthopedic shoes, a sound not uncommon to my youth, then I'd not have been fooled by the train. That's the power of simile.