Monday, February 28, 2011

Tornadoes and AP

Today I spent the afternoon in the kitchen, sitting around the table with my grandmother, my father, and one of his friends from the hobby. The floor of the outside patio was tinted green, which my dad explained was because of the hailstones’ peculiar refractive properties. We could hear the wind blowing fiercely, and only I seemed to be frightened. At first, I assumed this was because the other members of this party were far too old to be concerned with death by a murderous funnel, but then, upon inquiry to their unconcerned nature, I learned that my father and grandmother have been through a few tornadoes, and were quite numbed to them. The third man was just too cynical to care.
As the tornado siren came online, I asked what it meant. My father came up with many humorous replies, but then resolved to tell the truth.
“It means a tornado may be coming”.
This, though, was not an exemplary answer, and, upon asking whether that meant there was a possibility of a tornado, or if a tornado was already down and raging a house apart. He then told me, rather unconvincingly, that the alarm proclaimed the possibility of a tornado. After the alarm started blaring, the wind increased, and I saw sheets of water blowing directly parallel to the ground. A few sharp slams on the roof of our house hailed the coming of hail, and my father commanded us to move to the basement.
Of course, immediate danger out of mind, they soon went back to rocketeering. The world outside was a constant hum of rain, amidst frequent flashes of thunder. But the brave rocketeers, when the storm had died out somewhat, braved it to cut a piece of eight-foot boarding, which I presume was to be used for fins. From what they said, “About a foot in, the power went out”.
As they were cutting, I was doing homework upstairs, flinching at every distant thunderbolt. As soon as I set pen to paper, the power cut out. Distraught at the loss of chance to finish my ever-important homework, I ran downstairs, to find said rocketeers ranged about the kitchen table, as before. In this manner, we stayed for much of the afternoon.
But I digress. I mean to go into detail about the tornado alarms. At times during the high winds and strong pours, the alarm’s frequency of high-to-low pitches would lengthen and shorten, as if it meant something. If it did, I am sure it was assuredly lost to the general population. When the siren’s call lengthened, emitting a long high note for much of one minute, I was sure it was an indication of a tornado touchdown, something amongst the tone of, “If you haven’t already ducked for cover, you’d better run there fast.” I expect the people at the weather channel place bets on where the tornado hits, whether it takes out the hospital or the nursing home. So, while the population is at the lowest floor of their house, TWC is laughing at everyone from behind those television screens. Ironically, the time you need those screens online most is when the tornado’s already cut the power out.
To this end, I plead with the weather station to release an explanation of why these sirens change pitch and why they never stay on the same warbling drone, but sometimes stay a high pitched wail, sometimes stay a low pitched cry.
In other news, I’ve started AP Computer Science, which means that, in less than a month, I’ll know more than the average Mac employee about computers. I’ll keep you posted!

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