One big part of the culture shock moving from Tulsa to Philadelphia was the weather. I grew up on tornado sirens, 50mph winds, and golf-sized hail. It doesn't really worry me all that much because half our house sits underground, but, lately, it's been nonstop tornadoes and craziness.
For all my northern friends who read my articles, I thought I'd breakdown what goes on during a storm- step by step.
First, you wake up in the morning, and your joints hurt. In addition, your sinuses make it feel like your head is about to explode because the pressure is insane. You'll go outside and be able to smell the change in the air.
As the day goes on, the sky darkens, and it rains pretty hard. The rain can be continuous or come in bursts, but it's generally accompanied by ridiculously high winds. It's usually just ignored by locals as we continue to hang out outside or go driving to restaurants.
The sky starts to turn almost greenish. I don't know why, but it's distinctly green not only above but in the air too. It's eerie. Generally at this point, locals are turning on the news and standing outside to watch everything that happens.
By now, lightning and thunder are intense enough to prevent sleep. Wind has reached 50-70mph, so things are getting blown around like crazy. Tornado alerts come first. That doesn't mean there will surely be one, but it means that weather conditions render a tornado possible. News updates will be running at the bottom of any channel on the TV.
The warnings move on to a tornado warning. This is a step above alert. This means the type of clouds that tornadoes come from are present or there is some type of rotation. At this point, TV programs are stopped and emergency weather programs are shown. We are told to take shelter buuuuut, usually people don't.
Finally, the sirens go off. Generally, it's a balance of people seeing what's going on and actually going to the basement or storm shelter or bathroom. News plays on the TV, phone, and/or radio, and we find a way to entertain ourselves while in shelter.
It all passes weirdly quickly. For all the hype, tornadoes come and go in moments. I was 2 miles from a tornado and then 20 minutes later, it was sunny.
And, that's it. I know it's a foreign concept to my NE friends, but this is a fact of life from spring into summer. When I'm freaking out about snow, and you're making fun of me, remember this. We all have our own weird feats of Mother Nature.