I was covering Hillsboro High School’s prom Saturday, anxiously watching the sky because of the dire forecasts for that night. The promenade into the dance was going mostly smoothly with nothing worse than some light sprinkles of rain, right until the tornado sirens sounded.
I don’t know if I’ve ever seen such a large crowd spontaneously move so quickly. It wasn’t a panic, but almost everyone made a beeline either to the school’s tornado shelters or to their cars to take shelter at home. Not wanting to risk the drive home, I joined the students, chaperones, and several other spectators in the middle school locker rooms.
I was glad to see so many people take a tornado warning seriously. I think everyone is familiar with the stereotype of people going to their front porches instead of their basements when tornadoes are expected. If it didn’t actually happen, the stereotype wouldn’t be there. One spring during college, I was on my way back to Manhattan after a weekend in the Ozarks. The sky looked a little foreboding, but I didn’t think too much of it. Until I drove through a town and saw everyone standing on their front porches with their eyes on the sky, that is. That was my cue to switch from my CD player to the radio, and sure enough, there were tornado warnings in the area. Fortunately, the storm and I were going in different directions, and my car didn’t even get rained on that day.
I have never been one of the people who tries to get a glimpse, picture, or video of a tornado. As soon as those sirens go off, I’m moving to shelter. Tornadoes are fast and unpredictable. Fortunately, there weren’t any injuries reported for Saturday’s storms in Marion County. Let’s keep it that way in the future. When a tornado warning is issued, please take shelter.
— Adam Stewart