The weather was perfect today, so we decided to run out for ice cream after dinner. As we were getting into the car, we heard the tornado sirens going off. Which seemed odd, it was sunny and lovely. But as we pulled out of the driveway, we could see that there were indeed very dark clouds in the north. The radio said that the storms were headed our way, but wouldn’t be here for a bit, so we kept with our plan to get ice cream. Because once a decision for ice cream has been made, it should not be unmade lightly.
The place was only about 20 blocks away, so we got there in short time, we ordered quickly and ate indoors, watching the people who were eating outdoors start to glance nervously at the sky to the north, and then, start to come inside. I was finished, and Chris and Zoe were nearly done. I told Chris I was getting nervous, and he said he felt the same way. We quickly cleared our stuff and headed back to the car. Whether Zoe picked up on our fears, or just wanted more ice cream, I don’t know, but she threw a bit of a fit as we got into the car. By this time, the sky was very dark and the wind had picked up. After a few blocks, I saw a woman get out of her house, and point a camera to the sky in the west and then hurry back inside. When we got to the next cross street, we could see to the west the wall cloud with a bulge beneath it starting to sink lower. Not a funnel, not quite, but pretty spooky. We needed to go west, towards the scary cloud, at some point in the next few blocks to get home. Now I know that we only needed to go a few blocks, and we weren’t really going to drive into a tornado, but wow, my brain did not want me to turn that way. Chris however, did. He thought that if it did start raining hard, it’d be better to head west on a large street rather than a smaller side street. I turned west, with every fiber of my being telling me not to. And that cloud did not look any nicer. And Zoe was still throwing a fit. We made it home just as the hail hit. Our garage is not attached, so I considered waiting out the hail in our garage rather than running to the house. But if there was a tornado, or even high winds, I really wanted to be in our house that had withstood 102 years of Minnesota wind, rain, and hail. When we went out later to look, some of the hail was quarter sized, though most was nickel or dime sized. Sometimes it’s nice to have an old home that you know has weathered a lot. Not the biggest or worst hail I’ve seen, but not something I wanted the leisurely walk through. Chris ran through the hail to unlock the door and then ran back for us. He told me to run ahead and keep the door open for him. Then he grabbed Zoe, and hunkered over her, turned his back to the wind so he could take the brunt of the hail and shelter Zoe, while running kind of sideways to get inside.
I felt better once we were inside, though the tv was showing maps of our neighborhood with the radar screen showing white. You know how on the radar there’s blue then green then yellow then red for the severe storms? Well we were past the red and into the white area. Right there on the screen. Our streets on the map (it helps that we live on a major road). Luckily it was a very fast moving storm, so it didn’t stay long. In the end, the storm didn’t produce any tornadoes. Which is good, there were some very bad, very tragic ones just last week and we certainly don’t need any more. Even the hail damage isn’t nearly as bad as I’d feared. The tulips are nearly so lovely any more, and some of my plants look a bit beaten down, but since spring started so late, it’s not like any of my garden plants had fruits or even blossoms on them. Still, it took a bit for my heart rate to slow down after that. Normally I kind of enjoy big thunderstorms, but this one was a little more than I liked.