A Kansas, Welcome………………#219 (the 90’s)

Tornado forming as seen from 1 mile west of Anthony

Tornado forming viewed from 1 mile west of Anthony

The sparsely clouded weather providing a warm southern breeze to massaging the landscape of the rural countryside,  not abnormal for a seasonal June day.   The television meteorologist submitting a traversing barometric high pressure,  its clockwise rotation centered in Texas pumping the warm gulf air to the reaches of the Oklahoma and Kansas.   Gary was made aware of a Severe Thunderstorm Watch being issued by the weather bureau,  a deepening low pressure system in the northwest,  the cool air converging with the warm southern flow,  a dry line stretching west of Wichita,  diagonally across the state.   A routine notification from county dispatch to the hospital and all emergency response agencies being issued,  the Hospital Plant Service Manager giving it little thought,  having experienced thirty years of Oklahoma and Kansas weather.   The late afternoon finding a noticeable change in the weather,  a line of thunderstorms beginning to form to the southwest,  the severe thunderstorm forecast being updated to a Tornado Watch status.

June of 92'

June of 92′

Gary’s day completed at the hospital,  exiting for home amidst some scattered rain,  Jan, Sandra and his visiting mother who had journeyed from California with the family to Kansas after the passing of Gary’s father,  giving little notice to the increasing thunder proclaiming a noticeable electrical discharge report in the distance.   Gary making an inquiry to the whereabouts of Robert,  a concerning about his being out in the rain,  when he abruptly entered thru the back door.   The approaching storm starting to make its appearance known to the proletariat of Anthony,  the lightning’s presence ever closer to the city,  Gary reassuring his mother,  the storm was a normal seasonal occurrence and would soon pass.   Then precipitously a new intonation arose from without,  a salient promontory,  the shrill sound of the cities tornado warning sirens,  their wailing resonance broadcasting a dispatch for everyone to seek shelter.

Jan immediate donning her coat and embarking for the hospital as required by a long-standing protocol,  Gary realizing,  he too would be following her.  When reviewing the Hospitals Emergency Preparedness Plan as Hospital Safety Director,  he amended a Return Personnel Protocol to include the on-call maintenance person.  Gary could see the questioning expression on his mothers face as he gathered everyone to accompany him to the basement.   Descending to the lower level,  Gary disclosing to his Mother,  he too would have to  leave and fulfill his obligation at the hospital,  assuring the three,  they would be safe in the below ground disposition.  Gary’s could tell by his mother questionable expression about being left  alone with the children,  the siren still sounding its call to take cover.   Gary wasn’t surprised at her concern,  as someone from California,  her apprehension and perception of tornado’s are perceived from movies and television,  not adherent to the occurrence and accepted life of those who thrive in what is labeled,  Tornado Alley.

Arriving at the hospital,  Gary finding Jan,  as DON,  still indecisive in initiating the protocol to start transferring patients to the basement,  a decision that he was content with not having to make.   The nursing staff began the aversion process,  Gary relegated to his protocol position of monitoring the south hallway, its posture enabling a view of the front and rear hospital doors and an access to the boiler room operations center which housed the emergency generator.   The Emergency Preparedness Plan requiring him to be the only employee representative to be active aloft unless an immediate danger was perceived,  then entrusted to take shelter below ground level in the boiler room operations center.

A thankful sound,  the wailing sirens had ceased,  followed by a brief continuous burst,  the all-clear having been sounded,  Jan and the nursing staff thankful for a halt to their transfer of patients.  Gary,  inquisitive to the reality of the trepidation of the storm,  its resolution and a procrastination would have to remain on hold,  the return to his  home a precedence, a curiosity  about his mothers experience of  being stationed in the basement of an unfamiliar  house,  the sound of thunder penetrating thru the wind-driven wash of rain and the every presence echo of the tornado warning sirens sounding.  Betty Willson relating her experience to her son,  asserting it was without incident except for Robert making a reference to another lower level in the basement that they could crawl into if necessary,  which she really didn’t want to hear.  Robert was referring to a covered recess in the cement flooring, across from the external entrance of a deposed coal-chute.   This quarried area another level beneath basement cement floor once housed the original but long displaced 1904 coal-fired furnace,  its only remnant remaining,  the walled-in a brick masonry up thru the structures three floors,  the adherent chimney exiting thru the roof.

Gary concluded,  the experience of the day would always be remembered,  for indeed,  the sounding of sirens was a Kansas welcome to his Mother.

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