On Monday, May 9th, we had the risk for a couple tornadoes and Barry and Ned were on duty at the station. If the situation started to get cranked up, I would hurry into the station and help out. That's usually the case when multiple warnings are issued. Otherwise, I was going to stay home since it's my "off day" and be on stand-by. As many of you know, I enjoy communicating on social media so I contributed to the coverage in that way.
By 10:30, my kids were in bed and I was still staring at two computer screens tracking the storms and sending out the occasional Tweet. I saw a little rotation in central Saline county on my radar display. I perked up in my chair and logged into the National Weather Service chat room. It's a tool the media uses to keep in touch with meteorologists at the office who issue the warnings. They were watching that area of rotation too and ready to issue a tornado warning if it became stronger.
As we all know, it did. Within 1 minute of the warning coming out, the sirens sounded in west Little Rock and my wife asked if we needed to wake up the kids and get to a safe place. I told her to wait a second and let me determine the exact track. It didn't matter, the blare of the sirens woke them up. (BTW, never rely on sirens for your warnings). I quickly noticed that if the rotation did hold together, it would track very close to my neighborhood. By this time, all I heard were sirens and 2 little boys crying at the top of their lungs with terror. I acted calmly and told her to get the boys in the hallway and play it safe.
Fortunately, the tornado warning was cancelled early and I was able to tell the kids all was ok and the tornado danger had passed. My 6 year old walked up to me and was still shaking like I had never seen before. I tried to tell him it was all ok and that we were safe.
Those 10-15 minutes of terror I saw on my kids faces was a needed reminder of what many of you must deal with. Kids are terrified, and even as adults, we get worried too. Sometimes we need reminding when sitting in a calm TV studio tracking a tornado several counties away of what you are facing. I won't forget.
Thanks for reading.