We went out for ice cream this evening -- myself, two of my interns, and two lady interns from another intern house. We knew there was a storm blowing in (with possible hail), but we figured we had 45 minutes to get our frozen custard treats and get back home. By the time we got our order figured out at this little outdoor eatery, the lightening display to our west was become slightly more active and the rain was beginning to fall, albeit quite gently.
We were setting up a camera on self-time to snap a photo when we hear the first faint (and I mean faint) rumblings of thunder. There was still plenty of time to enjoy our treats and get back home.
Set the timer, race to get in the picture, run back, check the camera, race back to the picture, freeze, flash, laugh... and just as we were cracking up over the photo, the tornado sirens went off. You Kansas people know what I mean -- the long, sustained note that says (without words), "The National Weather Service has spotted rotation in the radar or a trained weather spotter has spotted a funnel in your county. Take cover immediately."
Being a Kansas girl, I sprang into action, grabbing the camera and barking orders. "Get to the car - now! We're getting out of here." The girls ran screaming for the car as I scanned the heavens, trying to figure out where in the world this tornado was in this peacefully falling rain.
I headed to the closest intern house as fast as we could. I flipped stations on the radio to find the weather, but to no avail. The sirens were still sounding as we scampered into the house, but I still couldn't see any signs of a tornado. We turned on the TV and found the weather man. The storm had dumped golf ball size hail on the Ft. Worth area (45 minutes away) and would be arriving in southern Carrollton in about 15 minutes.
No rotation. Not even a tornado watch. Just a severe thunderstorm. I felt pretty sheepish. I scared everyone for nothing.
The hail? I never saw it. I think we got maybe .3" of rain during the next hour. I'm sure we got the light part of the storm, but still - there was no tornado. There was no reason to leave the pavilion and race to the nearest shelter.
You can take the girl out of Kansas, but you can't take the Kansas out of the girl.