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Iowa weather

Topics/tags: Miscellaneous, Iowa, short

Yesterday was an interesting day, or perhaps just a typical Iowa day. I had planned to leave Iowa City at about 4:30 p.m. to return to Grinnell by sixish. But, well, Grinnell had a tornado warning [1] at about the time I was planning to leave. And, surprisingly, the sirens also started going off in Iowa City at about the same time. I went downstairs to ask where in the Obermann Center they usually take shelter. It appears they were less worried than I was, perhaps because the Iowa City sirens also go off for thunderstorms. So we went outside to look at the sky rather than down to the dingy basement.

Then I had a dilemma: What should I do about getting home? If there are tornado warnings in both the place I am and the place I plan to be, is it safe to drive for the hour between them? There are options for staying in Iowa City: I have friends with spare bedrooms, I have enough capital to rent a hotel room, and, at worst, I keep a blanket in my car and could probably sleep in my office in the Obermann Center. I’d have to wear the same clothes the next day [2], and I’d have to do without my CPAP [3]. Nonetheless, staying in place is a possibility.

However, I like being home with my family. Youngest also needed me to edit an essay. I thought I should check our basement, as well as the basement at 1211 Main Street. And I sleep much better in my own bed. Plus, I’m an idiot.

So I checked the weather radar. It looked like there was a gap between 5:00 p.m. and 6:15 p.m. when I-80 would be relatively calm. So I decided to brave the trip. It seems to have been the right decision. The roadway was dry. Winds were reasonable [4]. And it was good to be home.

You know what? I’m sick of the weather this fall. There’s been too much rain. We’ve had too many tornado-like situations. And I have it relatively easy. While the 1211 basement does flood [4], I don’t have to worry about crops to bring in, travel I must do, or, in most cases, where I can hide in case of severe weather.

Addendum: Today at 3:15 p.m. I got an email message from the Poweshiek County Sheriff’s department:

A TORNADO WATCH has been issued for Poweshiek County. Severe thunderstorms with tornadoes may be forecast. Tune in to local media for more details.

Since it was still sunny in Iowa City, I checked the weather maps. I didn’t see anything that looked like a thunderstorm, but I called home to be sure. Michelle said the weather looked okay, but she saw some clouds on the horizon. Rather than wait to see if things got better, I left for home a bit early today. Then, about halfway home, I received a text message. I couldn’t read it since I was driving. When I arrived home, I saw that it said,

If you received an email about a tornado warning please disregard. There is no watch or warnings issued at this time. It was an error in the system.

Did I ever mention how much I hate technology? I like it even less than Iowa Weather.

[1] If I understand the terminology correctly, watch means that the conditions are right for a weather event to happen and warning means that the weather event has been observed nearby.

[2] or go clothes shopping

[3] not a very good option

[4] Our basement gets water, too, just not as much and not as often.

Version 1.0 released 2018-10-10.

Version 1.0.1 of 2018-10-11.