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Sun Jun 27, 2021, 04:16 AM

It was the most awesome thing I've ever seen...

(Inspired by the tornado warnings today, changing a comment to an OP)

I'm on Lansing's northside. Spent the afternoon in the basement, due to the tornado warnings-- which was really no change as I made my main living space down here after moving in last fall, until remodeling upstairs is completed. I am a mostly lifelong resident of Lansing, except for some brief periods living in Phoenix and Tempe, Arizona. (The rainless lightning-storms out there are an interesting phenom, but I digress..)

When I was a child, I remember well being herded to the basement, whenever the tornado sirens (as I thought of them) would go off and there was a "tornado warning" , except for every first Saturday of the month at 1pm when they are tested...

(Little did I understand at the time that the sirens were initially intended for use in case of nuclear war.... Once I had learned the facts about that and the possibilities for nuclear war, and the fact that Lansing was designated as a "tertiary target" because of being the state capitol , the civil defense sirens often gave me a little shiver when they would go off. I remember one time I was driving by Sparrow hospital where one of the horns was located, at the time of the monthly test, and it nearly blew me out of the car, lol. They were not terribly loud at my current location today.)

Anyway, my family was quite religious about taking cover when hearing the sirens, or radio alerts of a tornado warning...and staying there until the 'all clear' was issued. In those days, our AM radio played all day long. This only changed in one instance...

It was sometime around 1970, when a tornado struck which did damage to the Lansing airport on the city's northwest edge, which was about 5 miles away from our family home on the south side. (I tried to google this event, but as it long predated the internet, I could not find anything. Perhaps more skilled searchers could find something.) We must have been in the basement initially... but my parents, who clearly must have been informed about the tornado's actual location, said 'come on upstairs, and we will take a look'

We went upstairs and on out onto the front porch... There was no rain in this instance, at least not where we were. The air was deathly still.

To the north and slightly to the west, we could see the tornado coming down from the sky. In those days, the trees were very small and did not block the view, as that residential section was only about 10 years old at the time...

It was huge.... and it did not appear to be moving. It stretched from the clouds down to the lower limit of the horizon. The perspective made it seem as if it were only a quarter-mile away or less, but it was 5 miles. Unlike all the real or "computer generated" tornados I have since seen on film, it was an amazing shade of blue, maybe a dark aqua, almost like a waterspout.

We stayed out there looking at it, for about 5 minutes or more. Other neighbors were out on their front porches doing the same thing. We just stood and stared, in awe.

It was the most beautiful thing that I ever saw.

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Reply It was the most awesome thing I've ever seen... (Original post)
DemocraticPatriot Jun 2021 OP
wyn borkins Jun 2021 #1
DemocraticPatriot Jun 2021 #2
FailureToCommunicate Jun 2021 #6
Arkansas Granny Jun 2021 #3
MiHale Jun 2021 #4
DemocraticPatriot Jun 2021 #5
multigraincracker Jun 2021 #7
DemocraticPatriot Jun 2021 #8

Response to DemocraticPatriot (Original post)

Sun Jun 27, 2021, 05:05 AM

1. Line Up Kids, Now Bend Over (And Kiss Your Own Ass Goodbye)

Although I lived in a state far from yours, I do remember those nuclear attack warning sirens, and I also recall having to go outside our classroom wherein we would all line-up facing the street and then bend over for some bit of time while the cars drove past. To this very moment, I don't know why the hell we (as very young children) were forced to do such a stupid-stupid thing...

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Response to wyn borkins (Reply #1)

Sun Jun 27, 2021, 05:15 AM

2. You went 'outside facing the street' ?!

Well, that doesn't make any sense at all, does it? LOL


During my whole time in school 1968-1981, we only ever had one such drill that I recall.... but they took us into the hall (away from windows) and we covered our heads while kneeling towards our lockers.


In no universe does going outside in anticipation of an atomic attack make any sense whatsoever. lol. Someone must have been poorly informed.

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Response to wyn borkins (Reply #1)

Sun Jun 27, 2021, 06:55 AM

6. I also vividly remember our grade school "nuclear attack" drills in Ohio...

Our one story school building had apparently only one really solid wall, located in the auditorium, so the teachers would march us all thru the halls to huddle together there for the duration of the drill.

That practice would of course also been for a tornado event. Violent storms were not uncommon in Northern Ohio.

As a kid, I was only vaguely aware of the horror of a potential total nuclear war, but I strongly remember really liking being crammed tightly next to Christine Duncan during those drills. Her slightly worried smiles definitely helped pass the long minutes till the "all clear" sounded.

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Response to DemocraticPatriot (Original post)

Sun Jun 27, 2021, 05:31 AM

3. I grew up in "tornado alley" and vividly remember the afternoon that we watched

a funnel cloud form a few miles from our house. The storm had already passed us and the sun had come out when we noticed the clouds rotating. As we watched, the funnel reached down and dipped below the tree line behind our house. It was pure white at first until it touched down and started pulling dirt and debris into the vortex.

We found out later that it had touched down in a field a few miles away. No one was hurt and no buildings were damaged, but some trees were blown over.

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Response to DemocraticPatriot (Original post)

Sun Jun 27, 2021, 05:31 AM

4. Driving through that yesterday was a real trip...

Descended from the North (Hale) to Green Oak township, meeting up with our daughter to drive to Richland (near Kalamazoo, kinda) for my great-niece’s first birthday. Returning, traveling across I-96 we drove (or should I say dove?) straight into that freaking mess.

There were times you could not see more than 50 feet in front of you the rain was that hard. Cars were pulling off to the shoulder to wait for a break in the downpour which never came quickly.
On the road most cars were traveling with their emergency flashers on creeping along at about 35-40 mph.

Wasn’t the worst rainstorm I’ve ever driven through but definitely ranked as number two.
Got back safe and sound to Green Oak…going back to the friendly North country in a couple hours from now. Hope we received at least some of this rain in Hale getting kinda “crunchy” up there.

I know we got a little portion of the storm, hope it puts a dent in the drought, oh Hale yes.

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Response to MiHale (Reply #4)

Sun Jun 27, 2021, 05:50 AM

5. We have had a lot of rain this week in Lansing...

It has been too wet to finish the last row of my garden, planting okra and placing my rabbit repellent (they like to eat it when it is small, and there is one rabbit that is hanging about here...)

It did rain very hard here again, during the tornado warning.

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Response to DemocraticPatriot (Original post)

Sun Jun 27, 2021, 07:18 AM

7. I grew up there too.

In 1965 a couple of buddies were with me driving around listening to WILS when one was spotted on the South side near Logan and Jolly. We were on Mich. Ave at Park Lake Rd. We decide to chase it and drove that way. Got about half way when they announced another one. So, we changed direction and started looking for that one. Then another one was spotted and we changed directions again. All together 5 were announced. We gave up after the third one. It was pitch black and we couldn't see a thing so we finally gave up.
Those were the days when we use to cruise the Gut, Washington Ave, down town for something to do. A few years later they close that street down and made it into a boulevard so we couldn't cruise it anymore.

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Response to multigraincracker (Reply #7)

Sun Jun 27, 2021, 09:01 PM

8. Logan and Jolly-- that was DAMN close to the family home...

but I was too young to remember anything from 1965.

Washington Ave. South in downtown was reopened again, and part of the North Washington.

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