Yesterday’s Storms

This is how the sky looked in the morning yesterday. It got very dark, then cleared some. Then the really scary round came late in the afternoon.

Yesterday, the weather map was filled with red–
storms, floods, and tornadic activity, the meteorologists said,
as north and south of us, the warnings became real wind reels–

inspiring fear with their acrobatic turns–
and here, the sky darker, we watched the TV screen,
while the heavens grew angry, and the wind yelled at trees.

Our phone alerts went off, and so did theirs–
the women on the screen—who stood, no hair in disarray,
continuing to explain, so patient and with care–I assume–

because we turned them off and left the room.
I wondered then if the basement was a womb or tomb,
as we texted family, and the lights flickered, once, then twice–

but stayed on. That was close, I thought,
and confirmed, a tornado hit nearby, but not
us. Not this time. We returned upstairs

where I made tuna sandwiches for dinner. We watched a show,
and checked on people we know—all OK.

Today, the summer heat is gone, the sky is September blue,
eagles soar over the river, and geese scatter, honking in queues,
as the world turns, the sun burns bright over the rising water.

Hanging in the basement after the tornado warning alert went off.

A quick explanation in hasty verse. Thank you for everyone who checked on me! From about 4 in the afternoon till about 7, we had tornado watches and warnings throughout the Philadelphia area. I don’t normally watch TV news or weather, but conditions were scary. There were tornado sightings north and west of Philadelphia, that moved east, and there were other bands coming from the south from Baltimore, through Delaware, and into New Jersey. Our tornado watch became a warning, but it still seemed kind of far, till it didn’t, and our alerts went off. They went off on the TV meteorologists’ phones, too. We went down to the basement with our devices for about half an hour. We did not have any damage at our house, or any I noticed in my town, except for some branches down. One tornado was close to one of the wineries we go to often. You can see a video here. It’s terrifying! I just looked it up, and we’re about 14 miles away.


There were other tornados near us, too. There has also been flooding. When I walked this morning, it looked like the Delaware had risen enough to leave debris on the sidewalk that the groundskeepers were sweeping up. However, the Schuylkill River crested this morning at 16.35 feet. It hasn’t been that high since 1869. If you don’t know Philadelphia, the Schuylkill River is the river the art museum looks out over, and it runs by 30th Street Station. The major Philadelphia highways are underwater today, and much of the city is flooded. Streams in the area have flooded, too.

Sharing with dVerse Open Link Night.

50 thoughts on “Yesterday’s Storms

  1. Because I don’t watch news much, I had no idea you were in harm’s way. I’m so glad you are okay but grieve for those affected.

    As a Floridian, I’m familiar with scary weather alarms. You nailed it in your verse when you say “the warnings became real wind reels–
    inspiring fear with their acrobatic turns–
    and here, the sky darker, we watched the TV screen,
    while the heavens grew angry, and the wind yelled at trees.

    What a vivid picture your words paint. Thank you, Merril. Again, I’m so glad you are okay. ((( )))

  2. Womb or Tomb… YIKES!
    However, the cat looks comfy.
    Glad all is okay for you and yours!
    Merril, I keep thinking about your previous post, “The Wind Whispers Storms”.
    Seems prophetic now.

    • Thanks so much, Resa. I know–I was thinking that too about the previous poem. Yikes!
      Our kitty was very comfy. He had dinner before, so he was satisfied to take his after dinner nap there. 😀

  3. Glad you’re ok. We were in the basement too. I take tornadoes seriously having grown up in Tennessee and seen neighbors lose their houses. Apparently there was a tornado about 5 miles away from us but we had no damage. I feel fortunate. So much destruction elsewhere.

  4. Glad you are all ok Merril. Your post evokes the power of it all … we watched it on CNN and it was hard to believe. Here’s hoping that order after chaos will be the order of the day …

  5. Wow, Merril, thanks for the info and good to know you’re okay. I wasn’t really paying attention to Ida until the news reports after she went through. Your poem is so powerful, the imagery and the rhyming that pulls me along like a flood.

    I do worry about flooding around here, especially after a hurricane. We’ve been lucky. Some houses in our neighborhood have flooded; several years ago a few had to be razed and replaced with a storm water pond, so but so far we just get soggy.

    • Thanks so much, Marie.
      I think this was particularly scary because there were so many alerts in our area, and then several tornados, both in NJ and PA. And then all the flooding, too. I’m glad you haven’t had any flooding.

      • That video you shared of the tornado near the winery … how frightening. I just feel lucky. Any place I’ve been where there’s a natural disaster, whether earthquake or hurricane, we (me, the husband and cats) have been fine. Sometimes I feel like I have survivor’s guilt, but I hope our luck doesn’t run out.

      • I thought it was very frightening, too. There are a bunch of houses near there that were damaged or destroyed. Also, a dairy farm–but they were able to rescue most of the cows.
        Between COVID and the weather, it’s like constant anxiety. . .

      • Oh, indeed. Last night Tropical Storm Mindy came through. Usually rain at night makes it easier for us to sleep, but not this rain. It came down so hard I spent most of the night worrying that branches and trees might come down as well. Fortunately the only damage we had was my red penta plant was partially decapitated by a small branch 😉

      • I’m glad you did not have any other damage! That’s no fun when you can’t sleep because of a storm. I thought we might have that last night here, but it was just rain.

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