Just how does an adopted Texan handle her first severe storm in the her new home?
Not very well. At least according to those who had to witness my struggle from a close vantage point. In the end my partner ended up taking two days off from work to help me through the experience. Thankfully, most of the severe predictions fell by the wayside as the storm moved over the Metroplex.
I’ve been told that its a much repeated circumstance each Spring, where the weathermen try their best to give the most accurate information possible, while trying to find that balance between keeping people informed of the worst case scenarios but not inciting widespread panic. It’s certainly not a job I covet.
As we drove around Fort Worth the following afternoon, aside from a small amount of debris, the most obvious sign that we’d had a major weather event the day before, was found in Trinity Park. The river, normally calm and serene, the Trinity was now raging, rising and the color of chocolate milk.
When all was said and done, I learned a couple of vital lessons this time around:
1) Worst case scenarios may not always play out, but it is wise to plan for them anyway. Knowing in advance exactly what you would do given all possible scenarios, goes a long way to relieving the stress of major weather events. Know where you’ll go, in the event you need to take cover. Know where your candles, flashlights and other emergency supplies are. Have enough food and water on hand for a couple of days should you become home-bound and unable to get out to the store.
2) There are a number of ways to keep on top of the weather as it happens in this Age of Digital Technology. There are radar maps that track not only where the storm has been but where it is going. There are online video forecasts and if you can afford $9.95 there are services such as Weather Call, that will text you directly when a tornado watch/warning is occurring in your area. Add your local meteorologist to your Facebook page and check his updates. I found the page of Steve McCauley of WFAA particularly informative and interactive.
3) Stay aware, but stay busy. I made an awesome peach cobbler – it didn’t really stop the storm from happening, but it helped me keep my sanity by providing a tasty distraction from my own anxiety driven scenarios that were playing in my head.
Now, I can’t promise that I’ll remain completely calm, the next time we have an severe weather warning, but I know I’ll be much better prepared. Knowledge can go a long way to relieving the fear of the unknown and unpredictable.