Thunderstorms more frightening than ever before

Jessica MacIntosh

Jessica MacIntosh

Jessica MacIntosh

With spring in full swing, flowers aren’t the only things associated with the season.

Usually the famous saying “April showers bring May flowers” has some meaning behind it. Those April showers shouldn’t be called showers, especially in the Midwest. It’s questionable whether they bring May flowers.

It’s more than just showers; it’s some of the strongest weather.

The spring semester 2003 was the worst. I have never seen the weather so bad before. It is true Joplin is in Tornado Alley.

One of the biggest things that make my hair stand on end is a thunderstorm. We all have childhood fears; those fears start to outgrow us at a certain age. Thunderstorms were not one of my fears growing up.

When I was a child, living in Newport News, Va., I remember sitting at the bay window with my mother, watching the storms come in with the cool lightning strikes zigzag across the sky.

That was just a memory. Now, thunderstorms are terrifying. There is no reason why. I just don’t like them.

I have lived in St. Charles for 15 years, and the weather has never been that bad. Since starting college at Missouri Southern, the weather has had a mind of its own.

One day it would be clear; the next day it would be pouring down rain with basketball-sized hail. It was not fun at all watching the weather go from bad to worse every day last spring.

The countless tornado sirens are just enough to send me packing back to St. Charles. Jasper and St. Charles counties run the tornado sirens completely different.

If the severe thunderstorm is in an adjacent county surrounding St. Charles county, the sirens are run in St. Charles. There could be not a cloud in the sky, and those evil sirens sound. Sometimes they sound several times, and nothing happens. It’s good to take precaution, but in this case, the story of the boy who cried wolf applies.

If the county continues to run the sirens if the storm is in an adjacent county, no one will react to it because they will be sick of hearing them over and over again.

I don’t know how Southwest Missouri deals with its siren system, but hearing them in Joplin is just as scary as hearing them in St. Charles.

I have never been in a tornado – I admit it. Just imaging them gives me the shivers. Everything that comes after a tornado – the damage, the injuries, the deaths – is a nightmare in itself. Knowing people who have been in a tornado puts a whole new meaning to it.

But, realizing it was my choice to come to Southern, I have to learn to deal with whatever comes my way.

It’s a matter of facing fear.