It has been building up all day. Warm moist Gulf Air has been flowing into the state for days. A spring cold front (“cool” front, relatively speaking) has been sneaking in from the northwest – a set up for trouble.
When I went to pick up Joanna Leigh at school, I knew we were in for a stormy night, but I thought we had time to run to Ruby Tuesdays across highway 11, only a mile or two from our house, and grab supper. I kept looking toward the west and southwest as we waited for Papa. It was dark over there, and it was muggy.
We ate, paid, and headed for the door to get home. We opened the double doors and heard it – the dreaded sirens, loud, piercing. The wind had started blowing. Joanna Leigh and I ran for the car. Papa was getting her into the car seat as I hopped in and started the car. He got a call. I jumped out to go around and finish hooking up the seat belts. I ran back around to get in the front seat. As I opened the door, the wind nearly shut it back on me. Uh oh.
I looked over my left shoulder.
Oh, man, this ain’t good, I thought to myself. In a split second I decided no, we weren’t going anywhere.
I ran back around to Joanna Leigh’s door, unhooked her, snatched her up and grabbed Teddy. The wind was now blowing about 50 mph, we later learned. We ran for the door.
The manager was herding the patrons to the back, to the southwest wall near the restrooms. One of the waiters gave Joanna Leigh some colors and paper. “Why is the storm here?” she kept asking. Finally I said, it’s just meteorology.”
She colored and I watched the thing pass over us on my iPhone with the other patrons who were watching their weather app or getting text messages. One woman was texting with a fireman. She looked up and said, “He said just to hang on. It’s almost all the way over us and heading for Vance.”
Then the torrential rain. Usually that means it’s over, but I decided to stay and let this pass over us too. About 15 minutes later, we ran to the car.
“Oh, for crying in a bucket,” I exclaimed. I had left the car running when I jumped out to get Joanna Leigh out of her car seat.
Here’s a screen shot of the ABC 33/40 weather radar from their blog:
April is a cruel month in Mississippi and Alabama, Tornado Alley Annex. This happens way too often. The mess is heading for the Georgia line, but maybe it has blown off most of its steam.
Kudos to the staff at Ruby Tuesdays.