Tuesday, April 1, 2008

If you don't like the weather in Oklahoma, just wait one minute... it will change!

I am in Tucumcari, New Mexico, but my body is still on Arkansas time.

I am on my way to Las Vegas for my brother-in-laws funeral and to see three of my four sisters, whom I've not seen for over 15 years. A very sad statement about our family, I think. But, we are gathering together to show support for my sister, who is faced with the sorrowful task of burying her beloved husband and her own bout with cancer.

Yesterday I drove from central Arkansas to Tucumcari, a full 10-hours. I'm not one of those adventurous storm chasers who races towards tornadoes just for the thrill of it. I would just as soon avoid them at all cost, along with the other severe weather that accompanies them. As luck would have it, I drove through one of those storms from the Arkansas/Oklahoma state line through Oklahoma City. Torrential rains, hail, thunder, lightening and winds so strong even semi-trucks were pulled over to the side of the road. The outside temperature dropped from 79 degrees to 53 degrees in less than 15 minutes. But, luckily, I did not encounter a tornado.

As I headed for Oklahoma, I was able to tune into a public radio station from Tulsa and just after I crossed the state line, I heard the warning sound. You know the one. The loud, beeping noise and then someone says, "This is a test. This is a test of your emergency radio system." But, it kept beeping... then it stopped. A few seconds later there was a loud squeal. Uh oh, that is not a good sign, I thought. Then came the announcement from the National Weather Service in Tulsa. Severe thunderstorm warning.... the voice named the counties and cities involved. All I heard was Tulsa and Oklahoma City and I knew I was screwed.

As I drove out of Oklahoma City, the weather began to clear and when I finally crossed the Texas border, the sun was shining and it was back up to 79 degrees.

But, I was tired and I literally counted down the last 15 miles of the first leg of my trip. I pulled into Tucumcari at 6:00 p.m., found a place to stay for the night and this morning I am getting ready for the final 10-hours. I've checked the weather. It's clear from Tucumcari to Las Vegas. It should be smooth sailing today.

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