Wonky's Land of Nonsensical Musings

A warm wind at your back and a tornado at your front

Photo courtesy of flickr user Tim Sheets

This past Sunday I had to drive to Chicago for a special friends 40th birthday. Yet once again things conspired against me. I really think the universe doesn’t want me in the western suburbs.

First off the engine light on my not even three year old Ford Fiesta kept coming on. Sometimes when it would come on the engine would lose some power. Turning the car off and back on(Have you tried turning it off and back on again) fixes the problem until it happens again. On Friday during lunch I took the car into the Ford dealership to see if they would look at it. They told me to bring it back Monday. I could not miss this party. So I rented a car for a couple of days.

Next up I needed a present. I actually knew exactly what I wanted to get. I had found it online and wanted to see it in real life. Luckily for me the retailer has a brick in mortar store in my town, or so the internet says. I first looked for the store on the Friday and couldn’t find it. So the next day I navigated my fancy Nissan Altima rental car to the store using google maps. The store wasn’t there just an empty store front. I mean seriously shouldn’t google have been up on that. So this happened.

So Sunday dawns warm and with very strong winds blowing from the south. I had heard the possibility that their might be some strong storms that day.  Nothing seemed obvious on the radar as I set out.  I made good times with the strong wind at my back.  Listening to the radio out of Chicago it sounded like really horrible times were ahead. They were talking about postponing the Bears game.  I made it almost all the way to Naperville with out much in the way of bad weather, even had some sun and the window open for awhile.  All that changed as I got within a mile of my destination. Deep dark clouds rolled above me and a few giant drops of rain splashed against my windshield. Then the storm broke loose.  The wind became a gale and the rain poured down reducing my vision to a mere twenty feet.  I made it but sadly some others weren’t as lucky. There were several tornadoes and some confirmed deaths. At one point I was behind a pick-up truck with the tailgate removed and bed liner.  Every time he pulled away from a stop light water would pour out of the back of his truck.

On the way back from the party the temperature had dropped over twenty degrees and the wind had shifted to gale force from the west.  As I drove home I saw a skein of geese trying to fly.  Probably forty of them endeavored to head west.  They frantically beat their wings as hard as possible.  They didn’t make any forward progress. They just bounced around in the air.  Probably some sort of metaphor for life.

The scariest part for me was that I drove right through the place were the strongest tornadoes rolled through. If I had only been an hour later.


  1. Liene

    Kind of near the tail-end of tornado season, isn't it? Must have been pretty scary driving…

  2. Tim Dudek

    Liene, I wasn't scared until right near the end when the warnings of actual tornadoes was given and the world went dark as night at 11 am. When I got where I was going the weather showed a tornado heading right for my parents. My mom was calling worried about me and I was calling her worried about them. Luckily for us it went south.

    The meteorologists said it was a unique situation where we had warm moist air near the ground and high and really cold winter wins higher up.

    On the way back to Champaign I found a stretch of about a half mile where all the trees were sheared off at the exact same height like somebody had hit them with a giant weed whacker.

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