Sirens in the Night


2:19 a.m.: sound asleep

2:20 a.m.: a sound is pulling me awake

2:21 a.m.: an awareness of the sound that is pulling me awake is not on the TV or in my dream, this sound is outside the house, down the street, it is a mind-numbing whining warning siren

2:22 a.m.: turn the TV to local news, stumble in a zombie-like state to the closet for shoes (just in case there will be broken glass)

2:26 a.m.: fully awake, watch the weather reporter urging people to take cover, I listen for storm sounds outside (there are none)

2:30 a.m.: I fall back into bed (shoes near), the siren stops its wail, silence surrounds

2:40 a.m.: the siren screams out its warning again, the wind blows through the trees, shaking the leaves loose, hard rain beats against the house, TV signal is lost, I prepare to take shelter (again)

2:50 a.m.: TV signal is restored, siren quiets, storm has passed through

3:00 a.m.: still wide awake, wondering what has happened in the darkness, gradually tiredness takes over and sleep returns

7:45 a.m.: daylight, cloudy skies, cooler breezes slide through the trees, a leaves litter the ground, a warning that more storms may appear through the day

Coffee helps the pounding of my head from the disruptive night. No further storms develop on this day. This time I’m relieved the weather man is wrong.




24 thoughts on “Sirens in the Night

  1. Glad the storms did not cause damage…and only a night of little sleep. We have sirens here, but so far this year have escaped the bad weather that you are having.

  2. Joyce says:

    I felt your pain LC. Springtime in southwest MO is certainly a mixed bag of wonder. The awe of flora throughout the hillsides to the very real threat of killer tornadoes. Living so near tornado alley has it’s drawbacks

  3. The worst night ever. Me? I’d love to sleep right through it all. (I need my sleep.) However, I have married a wanna-be weather warrior. We would have been in the basement with the girls … and so tired just like you the next day. The weather has be crazy the last couple weeks … looking forward to the calm. I’m glad all was ok in the end.

  4. sallydonnelly11 says:

    Also glad you are OK. As for you, as a writer, I love the structure you chose to tell this story. The time sequence really had me hooked and also rushing through to see what would happen next.

  5. Wow! I don’t know how you live with that constant tension. I can only compare it to living in California near the San Andreas fault line when I constantly felt rumblings of minor earthquakes. I was never there for a BIG ONE, thank goodness. Did you grow up in Missouri, so for you it’s just a part of life there? Glad you and everyone else are ok.

  6. It’s that middle-of-the-night time that is so frightening. You can’t see a thing, as you wrote. Glad all was okay, but it is that time of year, isn’t it? Hope all continues to be okay, Elsie.

  7. I’ve always been stressed by “weather aware days.” I’m so glad the weatherman was wrong! Your writing really brought the nerve-wracking night to life. I liked how you used the passing of time to frame your story.

  8. Oh, I didn’t even think ‘tornado’ when I first read your piece. Then I read Stacey’s comment and I thought “Wow, how scary I have never been in that situation.” I am so glad you are ok Elsie. What state are you in? Sometimes we see news here in Australia about Texas and Oklahoma and the terrible devastation of the tornadoes. Do you have to go to a bunker or something? Stay safe with a thermos of coffee nearby at all times:)

    • I am in Missouri, which is next to Oklahoma. One should go to a basement, but I don’t have one. We go to an interior room with no windows. We will get tornado warnings a couple of times a year, but usually not in the middle of the night.

  9. I too thought it was human activity! I was awakened early on Sunday morning by a screaming woman! We hear fog horns and ships blowing. But nothing like that! Loved the way you unfolded the time with this post. Must be so scary! Hope you got some more zzzzzzzzzzzz’s!

  10. Living in the Midwest at this time of the year is pretty scary. We get terrible springtime storms, but we don’t have sirens around here. I can’t imagine how frightened I’d be if we did.

    Hope things look up and that tornado season ends sooner rather than later.

  11. I’ve never lived anywhere that had storm alarms. How awful. At least everyone will be feeling the same this morning. You can all commiserate over coffee.

  12. Judy C. says:

    I hate when the weather alert goes off in the middle of the night. Do I get up to see if it’s a severe warning or just a watch. Such disruptions to our sleep patterns. Glad that the storms missed you and that all is well. Sounds like we’re in for more during the coming week.

  13. Oh my! What a jarring way to be awakened in the middle of the night. I remember being awakened one night by sirens, but it was because there was a house fire just up the street from us. Glad you had no damage from the storm and that the weatherman was wrong.

  14. Being from a “moderate” weather climate I thought the sirens were for human activity not from mother nature! I was there with you thinking all the wrong things. Shows what lack of schema does! Thanks for growing my weak knowledge of weather warning systems!

  15. Oh, Elsie, so glad all was well and the weatherman was wrong. I worry about family and friends every time I hear about the latest tornadoes. You captured the heart-stopping nature of those warnings in a few words.

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