Half an hour ago, the NOAA weather radio awakened me with a loud announcement that a severe thunderstorm watch had been issued for parts of Arkansas, including Garland county, which is where we live. Moments after the announcement ended, flashes of lightning illuminated the bedroom and bone-jarring claps of thunder ended my feeble attempts to sleep through the night. As I was getting out of bed, my wife asked if I was planning to disconnect the power from our computers. I replied that I was, indeed, planning to do that, after which I obediently did same. And, now, as I type these words, I listen to pounding rain and absorb the rattles and growls of rolling thunder and watch the sky sizzle with light. I love storms but I fear them, as well.
On the advice of the television weather forecaster and several people who have lived in Hot Springs Village for a while, we bought the NOAA weather radio shortly after moving to Arkansas. Since then, it has alerted us to severe weather more times than I can remember. Its alarm, an unmistakable noise, is a loud and disconcerting sound that could waken the dead. The artificial voice that follows, though, can be a little tough to understand, so when I hear the alarm, I rush to put my ear close to the radio. Usually, the mechanical voice reports the reason for the alarm is “source: radar-indicated” when speaking of storms with ping-pong-sized hail and eighty mile-per-hour winds. Occasionally, though, it surprises me by saying the source of the report is actual observation. It matters not to me where the information originated; only that I’m being forewarned.
I suppose I could be (and probably have been) annoyed by the noisy intrusion into my sleep, but I’m usually glad to be notified that the gods are upset and lashing out in anger. I love to watch them act out their aggression, but their powerful rage can frighten me, too. I feel like a child in the face of fierce storms; I’m powerless to do anything other than witness them