Tigger & Shadow are content now to once again be napping in spring sunshine.
This past week was a hard one to get through. The strong storms that came through the south brought so much destruction and sadness with the huge number of lives lost. Multiple tornadoes hit here in Georgia, more than a dozen died. We were in the path of at least one tornado, but it did not touchdown in our neighborhood. A road due north of us was not so lucky and many homes were destroyed, but again it was fortunate that no lives were lost there.
Last Wednesday evening was unreal and too real. We knew well ahead that the coming line of storms had already brought a great deal of devastation and loss of life. It was a full evening of blaring tornado sirens as multiple storms with tornadoes on the ground or in the clouds came racing through. At one point there were two tornado warnings at once with one storm coming north and the other coming east. When the final siren silenced near midnight, we finally came out of our half bath hiding place. We were hot, stiff and sore from the cramped space, but feeling so relieved to be safe and sound. We weren’t complaining, but feeling blessed to be untouched. We decided to leave Tigger and Shadow in their cages in the pantry until the final watch ended since it had been such a strong line of storms. Finally at 3 am after the final tornado watch for our area was declared over, we safely brought the bunnies out.
We knew the next day that the reports were going to be bad and were so saddened. We were humbled by the fragility of safety in learning how near it had come to us.
If the sirens hadn’t been going off and the weather alert radio going crazy with warnings, we wouldn’t have realized just how severe the storm system was. There was an eery silence, almost no rain or noticeable wind and very little sound of hail. Survivors in the neighborhood just north of us described the same thing. They had a few seconds of hail and then silence until trees started falling and glass started breaking. They didn’t hear the sound of a freight train that they had always been told to expect.
These storms were the worst we have seen for devastation and loss of life and yet they didn’t come upon us with any of the obvious signs we were expecting. It would have been easy to ignore the weather warnings as a cry of wolf. Those in the neighborhood that was hit took shelter in interior rooms and survived as their houses collapsed or were torn apart around them, because they trusted the warnings rather than the deceptively quiet storms.
Since tornado season will continue for several months, we will continue to keep on the watch. We sure wish though that our home had been built with a basement!
We are having an uneasy day here keeping an eye on the weather which is predicted to be quite severe in Georgia later this evening. We are hearing this season already called the most active tornado season on record and the season lasts until July, so that is not good at all to be in the tornado regions of the country. I cannot begin to describe what it is like to catch, cage, and move rabbits to a safer location in the midst of a raging storm with tornado sirens going off full blast. We have fortunately to date had tornado warnings, but no actual tornadoes. So we have been able to get our drill and preparedness together without disaster as the teacher.
Everyone should have some plans in place should they need to relocate both humans and pets in a hurry or be able to sustain in place on your own for at least a week if need be. In addition to natural disasters, chemical spills or fires and terrorist attacks could lead to unexpected and speedy evacuations or an inability to be able to go home or leave home.
We looked at recommendations for what to keep on hand and where it was best stored. We don’t have a basement for tornadoes, but we do have a half bath and a room sized pantry side by side on the first floor that are interior rooms which become our tornado hiding places and storage for emergency rations and equipment. The pantry is large enough to hold the week of food and water recommended for emergencies and can also hold the bunny cage when we have to stow them safely during a tornado threat. We have always had batteries on hand and flashlights in every room, since we found out early on that sudden power losses and a roaming black rabbit aren’t a good combination. We have frozen cool packs that are kept ready in our original refrigerator that we had put in the garage, coolers are stored at the ready on top of that fridge.
In our half bath safe room, we have a weather radio with a battery backup, so that we can follow the weather to know when it is safe to come back out. One spring season, a tornado came through just a few miles south of us taking out the power. The weather radio on battery backup alerted us that there was a second storm with another tornado following just minutes after the first one ended. We stayed put where we were and thankfully there was no damage to us, but many in the area lost homes and a couple of people died in the storm.
Rabbits hate to be picked up, so make sure you practice and get them used to it some of the time so that you have some way of getting hold of your rabbit quickly should you need to. Tigger and Shadow have slowed down some with age, but planning ahead to have them already in a cage or carrier when we know a bad storm is brewing helps a lot. They are out running around now for their exercise so that we can have them calmer and caged in a safe place later before the worst weather is due to hit.
Here are some House Rabbit Society links on emergency preparedness: