Oklahoma hail storm, photo by Bill Waugh, AP
By Pat Browning
Tuesday, Feb. 10, 2:19 p.m.
Lovely rainy day here in Oklahoma. Warm spring rain, the best kind. But also thunder and lightning. Imagine that, and just as archeologists announced they have found the probable birthplace of Zeus, god of thunder and lightning. It's on top of Mt. Lykaion. In Greece, naturally. Quoting Yahoo News:
***Excavating a trench on Mount Lykaion, in an area which ancient Greek historians later called "the ash altar of Zeus," archaeologists found more than 50 drinking vessels, fragments of human and animal figurines, as well as burned sheep and goat bones. All of the artifacts are consistent with cult ceremonies of the Mycenaean people, who settled Greece approximately between 3,000 and 4,000 years ago, historians say.
*** The period also coincides with the first historical mentions of the god Zeus in Greek texts, suggesting that the Mount Lykaion ceremonies were to honor the man himself.
***Younger, higher levels of the trench have yielded silver coins, a bronze hand holding a lightning bolt and petrified lightning in past dig seasons. All are clear dedications to Zeus, indicating that the use of the god's altar on Mount Lykaion was likely unbroken for several millennia.
I love it when they talk like that. Anyway, it's a perfect day to make vegetable soup, otherwise known as Clean Out The Fridge-Freezer Soup, and cornbread.
Whoa! What happened to spring? I glanced out the window and it was black outside. Then the tornado siren went off and I turned on TV loud enough so I could hear it all over the apartment. Got my purse and shoes and plodded into my walk-in closet with the TV blaring TAKE SHELTER, STAY LOW etc. etc. etc. and that siren making my ears ring.
Once again, Yukon escaped with only rain, thunder, lightning and softball-size hail. Man, did it thump on my roof. If the people upstairs are home they must have crawled under the bed. It's odd, but those tornado rotations always go down I-40, about 2 miles south of me, past the Xerox plant. Those poor people at Xerox must be half-deaf by now. The tornado rotation has now moved slightly east of Yukon into the OKC area. So I'm safe, for now. Just hail hitting my window. I'd better pull the blinds. Human nature -- I have to resist opening the door to watch.
I remembered to turn off the burner under the soup pot when the first siren went off. When things cleared up it poured rain, melting down the hail before I could venture out to take pictures. Pity. My side yard looked like the weather gods upturned a giant bowl of popcorn.
So I put on the kettle for coffee and I’m dipped if the siren didn't go off again. Storm #2! Meanwhile Storm #1 spawned a tornado north of Oklahoma City. A few pictures already coming in. Schools are in lockdown, with the kids in safe places inside the buildings in the entire metro.
Oklahoma is catching hell this afternoon. The storms seem to be moving in almost a straight line, south to north, so I guess they’re coming up from Texas. Storm #3 just reared its ugly head.
The siren guy’s finger must be stuck on the button. Tornado touched down 10 miles south of here and Storm #3 is hovering. Every time I trudge to my closet I take something else with me. Last time I took my lantern. If this keeps up, everything I own will be in that closet.
Siren just stopped. Ears still ringing.
Some school kids put on buses to go home. Others are still locked down.
Hello, Texas. We’re getting a line of storms forming in Wichita Falls.
Hail is huge. Good picture on TV. Looks like the weather gods got tired of popcorn and are now bouncing tennis balls. Can basketballs be far behind?
OMG. Zeus threw a blockbuster this time. Probably to remind us who’s in charge. Most school kids have been sent home. I had time to finish cooking my vegetable soup, and have cornbread in the oven as we speak.
But we’re still on storm watch for another couple of hours. It will be a long night for police, firemen, EMTs, utility workers …
Up and down, up and down. Poured rain and hail where I am. Dark, light, dark again as clouds pass over. We’re only on the edge of the danger zone and the local CBS station is actually running NCIS and The Mentalist, so we must be safe for now. My soup and cornbread are delicious.
But things got ugly in a hurry down in southwestern Oklahoma. A humongous tornado is tearing up the place, moving slowly across the state, headed east, to wreak havoc in neighboring states. This is serious business, folks. Even where tornados don’t touch down, fierce winds uproot trees and blow off roofs, blow out walls, and pounding rains cause flooding.
I’ll read about it tomorrow, and watch it on TV. Storm chasers, reporters, photographers, chopper pilots are either brave or nuts, but they are out in force.
Nothing’s ever a complete loss. Sitting in the closet all afternoon gave me time to think about books.
DEAD MAN’S ISLAND by Carolyn Hart: Henrie O, a retired foreign correspondent, answers a call for help from her first love, a famous publishing tycoon. They meet on a remote island off the South Carolina coast – with a hurricane on the way. Hart’s description of the hurricane is terrifying. I had just read it when our own tornados blew through. Shudder, shudder.
More pleasant was the prospect of receiving an ARC of Debby Atkinson’s latest book, PLEASING THE DEAD. Like all of Debby’s books, it’s set in Hawaii. Golden sands, balmy breezes, gorgeous sunsets … ah ... you betcha-boots I want to read it. With storms piling up here, one after the other, I’ll just think of Debby’s book as "Pleasing the Living."
But that’s fiction. In real life, I’m sleeping in my clothes tonight.