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Hail in June - cellophane — LiveJournal
the story of an invisible girl
Hail in June
We went for a bicycle ride today. We'd seen in the weather that storms were predicted around 3, so we left before 1pm. The sun was shining; it was a glorious afternoon. Got about five miles from home, and the tornado sirens went off. Uh-oh.

My first reaction was, "Again??" They've been going off a lot lately. I think the level of "siren-worthy storm" has lowered or something. It used to be that it wasn't a Tornado Warning unless an actual funnel had been spotted, but I don't think that's the case anymore. Anyway we agreed we should start meandering back, but we weren't hugely concerned because storms did not seem imminent. Clearly they were on their way, but we figured they were still pretty far.

We briefly looked at the lake I'd been aiming for, then took the short way home. Except that I enjoyed the path through the woods so much I suggested we ride back and do that part again. As we emerged from it the second time, it started sprinkling.

"No worries, we're close to home now," I told M.

"I think we're going to get wet," he said, gesturing to the big storm clouds off to our right. We were heading right. "Directly into the storm!"

It was a hot day, so the thought of being rained on sounded quite nice. I responded cheerfully, "Tally-ho!"

We headed directly home, because despite our joking around we knew it was time. The rain got heavier, and I pointed out that at least it'd cool us off. Plus, riding in the rain can be fun! You just have to get past the initial "oh no I'm getting rained on" reaction.

As we came nearer to the turn-off for our street, the rain was quite heavy indeed. A driver turning left just behind us rolled down her window and called urgently to us, "Tornado warning! There's a tornado warning!"

"Thank you," M called back, and I waved. It was much too much rain to stop and explain to her that we were headed home and would be there soon, but I truly did appreciate her taking the time to warn us.

As we rounded the next corner, the rain started stinging. It was falling pretty hard! On the outer edge of our subdivision by now, we were nearly home. We moved up onto a sidewalk, to be less vulnerable to cars. It was fun though; we were soaked and I was laughing at the adventure. "Let's go faster!"

"I don't think going faster will make us dryer, but okay!" We tore through the wet streets. M yelped though, "Ouch! I think it's starting to hail!"

At first I didn't believe him. I thought it was just big raindrops that were falling fast and hard, feeling like hail. They sure were stinging though... "No really, look at the ground," he told me. I looked, and indeed there were solid chunks landing on the street around us.

However just ahead was our house, and we pulled quickly into the driveway. Now the hail was stinging quite a bit, and I could see large pea-sized chunks of ice landing all around us. As though God was emptying out his ice trays over our head.

I dug through my bag, found the garage-door-opener, and then we were under the roof, safe and sound. We huddled inside the garage watching the storm. The ice bounced all over the driveway -- most peculiar seeing ice falling from the sky on a day that was over 80 degrees!

The hail stopped within five more minutes, and 20 or 30 minutes later the storm was past altogether. Apparently it had just fallen long enough to attack us on the last leg home. I was amused to find a nice welt just over my elbow. I've been marked by nature's fury.... Quite a nice bike-riding adventure.


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elizilla From: elizilla Date: June 27th, 2010 09:37 pm (UTC) (Link)
At least when I get caught in the hail while out on my bike, I have armor to protect me. The clattering on the helmet can get pretty loud though. :)
sherdeb From: sherdeb Date: June 27th, 2010 09:47 pm (UTC) (Link)
You should have told the concerned motorist that you were storm chasing...
Didn't you joke that I brought the rain last night? I think that this story is proof positive that the two of you were responsible for any bad weather... I may bring rain but you inspire pea sized hail!
renniekins From: renniekins Date: June 28th, 2010 02:25 am (UTC) (Link)
Hm, perhaps you're right... I am a rain god!
cynnerth From: cynnerth Date: June 27th, 2010 09:48 pm (UTC) (Link)
Wow, exciting! Glad you made it home safely. You could have been biking up inside a tornado like Almira Gulch in the Wizard of Oz.
renniekins From: renniekins Date: June 28th, 2010 02:25 am (UTC) (Link)
I did think about that! No Oz for us though, at least not today....
djinnthespazz From: djinnthespazz Date: June 27th, 2010 10:34 pm (UTC) (Link)
It's not a ride, it's an Adventure!
blue_lucy From: blue_lucy Date: June 28th, 2010 12:05 am (UTC) (Link)
I was listening to this on the news this afternoon after the sirens went off. They have indeed changed the way tornado warnings and sirens work. They now put up a tornado warning whenever there is a storm CAPABLE of producing a tornado present, not just if an actual funnel cloud is spotted. Also, in Wayne County at least, the tornado sirens are now supposed to go off if a storm capable of producing winds in excess of 70mph is approaching. So I think in the future we will see a lot more tornado warnings and hear a lot more sirens.

That being said, there was a funnel cloud in Livonia today (I saw the pic!) just south of 96 and a little tornado touched down in a neighborhood in Huron Township, so hopefully this new warning system will give people more time to get to safety now!
javenallese From: javenallese Date: June 28th, 2010 01:04 am (UTC) (Link)
Who is they?

The government, NOAA and NWS, still use Tornado Watch and Tornado Warning unless they haven't updated this page lately (which is always a possibility).

blue_lucy From: blue_lucy Date: June 28th, 2010 01:11 am (UTC) (Link)
I believe it was nbc that we had on while the storm was going through, talking about the tornado sirens and the warnings. I pretty much live on the weather channel because I'm sadly phobic about storms, and this summer what I've seen is that a Tornado Watch is put up for large chunks of the day when conditions are right to create a tornado. The last two tornado warnings that have gone up for Wayne County that I was here for, the language used in the warning was "There is a storm capable of producing a tornado in the area, etc etc." until an actual funnel cloud was spotted and then the text changed to "A tornado has been spotted and is on the ground, heading towards, etc etc"

I don't mean to say it's a new warning system - I just think it seems like they're trying to warn about tornado potential earlier and stronger than they used to.

They could be reporting the changes in the siren policy incorrectly of course, but Plymouth's tornado sirens went off for 20 minutes today with no funnel cloud or rotation even present (haha, but there WAS rotation 20 minutes after the sirens went off... helpful).

renniekins From: renniekins Date: June 28th, 2010 02:26 am (UTC) (Link)
Ahhh, interesting. I like that in concept, that it gives you more time - but my concern is that if they sound too often, people won't take them seriously.
c0nsumer From: c0nsumer Date: June 28th, 2010 02:55 am (UTC) (Link)
The damned siren sounded while we were out mountain biking and in clear view of DEFINITELY NOT TORNADO skies. We thought it was a mistake.
From: writerwench Date: June 28th, 2010 08:31 pm (UTC) (Link)
Sounds like a real fun experience, until the absolute end... I like being out in rain, but don't like the way bike brakes stop working once wet.

We haven't had proper soaking rain here in S.E. England for a number of weeks now. Wanna send us some?
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