The Tornado Warning

The Tornado WarningThe sky is pitch-black. It is 11:34 AM. I am huddled in a campground bathroom stall with my three sisters, two brothers, and the family dog. My sister is eleven, and she is sobbing because she thinks we are about to die, and she wants our parents to arrive so that she can tell my mom she’s sorry for misbehaving.

Camping in the North Woods of Wisconsin, USA

A Scary Scenario

I am honestly not afraid, yet. This is the seventeenth tornado I have been in since the age of 6 months; I am now 20. I know what they look like, what they sound like, and the best way to stay safe. But my brothers and sisters (and dog) have never seen a tornado, and they truly believe their lives are in my hands.

We are on a family camping trip, way up in the North Woods of Wisconsin, USA. My parents left my siblings and I to set up camp while they ran up the road to a local convenience store. Fifteen minutes after they left, the sky turned an eerie green. My brother asked me if it was about to rain, so that we could put the wood in the tent. I told him that it looked more like there might be a tornado. He started to get that panicky look across his face, his ten-year-old eyes getting bigger and brighter with fear as the rain started to pour. I knew what was about to happen, and when the park rangers drove past and told us to quickly get to shelter, I wasted no time in listening.

The Tornado Warning

My parents had taken the van, so I quickly gathered my siblings and the dog into my two-door Chrysler LeBaron convertible. I put up the roof and started down the trail, looking for the best type of shelter. I saw several cars heading towards the bathrooms and followed. As I drove past the sites, I saw people continuing to put up their tents, refusing to heed the rangers’ tornado warning.

Once we arrived, there were nearly fifty people pushing to get into the restrooms and escape the rain. I forced my way through, and shoved my siblings into the corner stall. I went back outside and tried to call my parents. No service. The wind was starting to pick up, and hail began raining down on the roof. I ducked inside again. My sisters were all crying; the dog was a wet mess.
Eventually, my parents arrived. The actual funnel cloud had touched down only a half mile away, ripping through parts of the campground.

Listen to Authorities, They are There for a Reason.

As the storm died down and my family was re-united, I realized the consequences could have been dire if I had not listened to the park rangers. I couldn’t help but remember the news story from only a few months ago, detailing the tragic deaths of people who had died when a campground flooded. They had refused to evacuate, and they paid dearly for it. The best advice I will ever give to anyone about camping is to be prepared, know what the weather looks like beforehand, and listen to the authorities when they tell you to evacuate or seek shelter. It could save your life.

Author: Arielle Cassiday

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