Tornado warnings should be taken seriously

By Helena Rodriguez: PNT columnist

Twister season is here.

While I’ve never been in immediate danger of a tornado, I’ve had frightening experiences, especially when I think of unheeded warnings.

I remember visiting grandparents in Lubbock during a 1970s storm when I was a child.

My parents, uncles and aunts went dancing. Unknown to them, there were tornado warnings. Grandpa Chico and Grandma Chaya took us girls down to the basement and I remember waiting, worrying and sweating, wondering how long we would be down there. My parents, oblivious to the warning, danced away.

In 2001, we went to Dallas for a cousin’s wedding. We were at Uncle Billy’s house and tornado sirens wailed. I nervously looked around, but they were like, “This happens all the time.”

Another time though, I was guilty of not paying attention. I was a reporter in Hobbs and jumped into my car and drove to Seminole, Texas, one evening to do an interview. Upon seeing the ominous darkened clouds and then turning on my car radio, I realized there was a tornado warning. I felt stupid for putting myself and my daughter Laura at risk. Never again.

Helena Rodriguez is a freelance writer and English instructor. She can be reached at: Helena.Rodriguez@enmu.edu