the gathering storm

I knew this week was going to be mentally taxing. It was going to be my first real severe weather event. I had been through the winter weather stuff a few months ago, and the occasional severe storm.

However, this was my first, know-about-it-a-week-in-advance storm system that was almost certain to spawn tornadoes. I’ve had a lifelong fear of them since one dropped behind my grandmother and I while driving home in the Texas Panhandle one balmy afternoon in the late ’80s.

…and since one dropped a portion of a large tree on our trailer house a year or so later.

In the years since, every so often I’ve had nightmares that incorporate tornadoes, which dream-analyzing sites suggest is a subconscious warning about some sort of inner turmoil within my life. Whether it is or it isn’t – it’s a freakin’ tornado.

And, to crown it all off, I happen to now live in an area that was one of the many hard-hit in the April 2011 tornado outbreak.

So in the lead-up to Monday’s storms, I had plenty of time to obsess over my fears and get nervous about the fact that I would have to be single-handedly responsible for keeping the web and social media constantly updated during a time of impending emergency.

It’s also times like these that I forget I am on a team, and as such, I am not single-handedly responsible for the whole thing. Just social media in this case.

So anyway, I had an hour or two from the time I got into work to kind of mentally prepare for it. I also learned I would have a second person by my side to handle phone calls, viewer picture submissions, et cetera. That immediately helped my nerves.

They came rushing back when the first tornado warning actually came in. This was it – go time. It was more nervousness that I wouldn’t know what to do, but that quickly went away as well.

Ultimately, I was at the station for 13 hours with my standard 30-minute breather broken apart across the night. I mostly spent the night blowing up local Twitter accounts, taking screen grabs from our live feed and tweeting them out.

Facebook rather goes to the wayside. We have a system that auto-posts the weather warnings to Facebook, and I intermittently posted advisories that our Twitter was the best way to keep abreast of minute-by-minute changes.

At the end of the night (morning), I went home proud of the work that I had done, satisfied that I had done the best that I could. However the tension associated with the situation stayed packed in my muscles throughout the week.

Here I am at the end of my weekend and I feel no better rested than I had on Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday morning. I’m going to try my darndest to rest up well tonight and ensure that my next work week starts on the right foot.

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