So how sexy is storm-chasing? The producers of Twister put Helen Hunt in a sports bra and it still kinda sucked. Which is why I dodge such assignments as if they were flying shards of sheet metal - which they frequently are. Take last night for instance. While dedicated chasers like, say, Weaver were out pointing their their news units into hundred mile an hour winds, I was hiding under my bed at home reading #tornado tweets. Was I 'laying low'? Like a corpse! Besides, as I burrowed my way under a few old blankets, I was comfortable in the knowledge that if the powers that be really needed me, they wouldn't hesitate to all. Which they did - er, didn't - about an hour before midnight.
Sunday night a a series of storms ripped through central North Carolina, spawning at least three tornadoes and destroying dozens of homes but not resulting in a single death.
All of which goes to explain why, - while you were still dreaming of lottery tickets and cheerleaders - I was nosing a loaded live truck past an unmanned barricade, driving slow to avoid downed power lines and seriously adolescent quest for free time. Ya know, if I hadn't been such a champion truant, I might be somebody by now; maybe a well-dressed and rested executive - instead of a wrinkled schlub with a station cap jammed over a bad case of bedhead; a beleaguered sort of chap with a sticky trigger finger and a penchant for parables. Still, would a well-heeled slicker know what it feels like to tiptoe through other people's broken hearts, to poke your lens in what used to be the living room of a stranger and ask them how their day is going.... I have - though I'd like to forget.
In Guilford County, an EF3 tornado with 148 mile per hour winds touched down in northern High Point, destroying homes, tossing autos and downing power lines.
A word on tornado damage. Hailing from Eastern North Carolina as I do, I'm well familiar with the footprint of traveling winds. Down there, tornadoes and trailer parks mutually attract each other. Thus every flat land touchdown looks the same: like Godzilla ran loose on the set of Hee-Haw. But here in the Piedmont, tornadoes strike upscale communities as well, For whatever reason, that's always strikes me as strange, as if Mother Nature forgot to charge her GPS and plowed into the wrong neighborhood. Does that make any sense? Probably not, but when you've slept three hours and worked twelve, you're lucky the syllables stick together. Now if you'll excuse me, there's a cryogenic lean-to in my bedroom that needs my attention. It's constructed of old logowear, duct tape and a few sports bras I found in my run-bag.
That's not weird - is it?