At present, I live in what is referred to as the “Tornado Belt.” I never chose to live in this part of the country, nor did I ever imagine that I would. But as life often has it, I ended up here with the best intentions and the most naïve heart.
We moved here to Northwest Tennessee in 1992. I had absolutely no idea about this area having a reputation for tornadoes. I had never heard of this tornado belt thing. I doubt it would have kept me away as I was a firm believer in going wherever my husband needed to go for work. After all, we had two little girls to take care of, and I was nine months pregnant with our third. We needed a home and an income. My husband took the plunge and left his only home in Virginia to start a new life and new career for all of us. I will always admire him for that. He was the hardest worker I have ever known. And I trusted him when he brought us out to West Tennessee.
Today I was once again reminded of the potential this area of the country has for storms, bad storms. In the little town we have lived in for the past 30 years, I have witnessed an average of 5 to 10 yearly tornado warnings. Not watches, but warnings. The highest level for a potential tornado to occur. Tonight, we were thankfully spared. We ended up with only heavy rain and what I call a “normal” thunderstorm.
We had been warned for several days that this line of storms could become severe, and it had set everyone on edge. The last time we had storms so severe was December 2021. Several tornadoes set down in communities within 100 miles of us. One of the worst in a town just “up the road” from our own. Many people completely lost their homes or had extensive damage. Buildings were wiped out, and the lovely little town looked like bombs had gone off. They are still trying to rebuild. I have a friend whose daughter had just finished repairing her home and had only moved back into it two days ago. I can only imagine the anxiety she must have felt with the predictions of these storms today.
Every stormy day like this one, I ask myself why I still live here. I had always planned to move back to either Virginia or my hometown in Northeast Tennessee. I even attempted to move away several times. And each time, my circumstances brought me back here. I guess without my even realizing it; it became “home.”
So here I sit, having just witnessed another stormy day, with the warnings, anxiety, and prayers. Thankful that our little town was again spared and grateful that we were only slightly inconvenienced. I can live with that, and I’m sure my neighbors feel the same way.