Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Stormy weather woes

I am terrified of storms. My fear of storms can be traced back to my infancy, when as a baby my father would frighten me to sleep by repeating "Jhor! Jhor!" (Storm in bengali) at me in a deep and somber voice until I would close my eyes and bury my head under the pillows and fall asleep. (Don't judge his parenting skills, he came from a generation and culture in which men rarely participated in raising a child, much less putting a child to sleep.)

We lived through some pretty horrific storms in the Philippines - signal 4 typhoons - which are severe tropical cyclones where winds exceed 185 km/h. I used to love typhoon announcements, because it meant classes were cancelled, but once the storms actually hit I was scared but also in awe of the ferocity of mother nature.

My fear comes not only from by own experiences with inclement weather, but also from the long history of weather related tragedy passed on orally in my family. My dad has told me stories about how a whole branch of his family (relations of my paternal grandmother) including children, perished during hurricane season in Bangladesh. He recalls watching families, clinging for dear life to the rooftops of their homes as they were swept away by the currents in a flooded river, never to be seen again.

Given all this history, I was happy to move to Ontario where there is a very low risk of encountering a hurricane. Well no place is perfect - Ontario is home to another weather threat - one that actually terrifies me more than any monsoon, cyclone, hurricane or typhoon ever could -TORNADOS!!!!

Granted there are less tornados in Canada than there are in the States, but nevertheless, over the last few years there have been a few that have touched down in southwestern Ontario and not far from my doorstep. There was a devastating one in Goderich a couple of years ago and one was spotted forming a few miles north of where we live in 2012 - but thankfully it never reached the ground.

It would be normal for someone with my background to be anxious right? Try explaining this to my husband! He laughs at me every time I make my family hang out in the basement during a tornado warning. You would do the same right? Some of you must have been hiding in your basement during tonight's tornado warning too right? It wasn't just me =).

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