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Tis the season for thunderstorms and tornadoes here in the flatlands.  We’ve already had both, although not any tornadoes close enough to worry about yet (touch wood!). Typically, because of geography, the South Plains, where we are, has cells of thunderstorms build up that dump a lot of rain in a short period of time,  typically produce hail and high winds and also tend to spawn tornadoes, which is why there is a wide swath of the plains that is known as Tornado Alley.

Although we’re several years into a severe drought, we are currently under a flash flood warning.  Until Monday, the wettest May on record for my town was set in 1941 at 4.32 inches/10.97 cm for the entire month.  We got 4.5 inches/11.43 cm on Monday alone, which is to say it bucketed down for literally hours with tremendous claps of thunder that rattled the windows.   We had a very wet and soggy Star Wars Day.  Tahoka, which is a town about 35 miles/56 km south of us has gotten around 9 inches/22.96 cm of rain between Sunday and Tuesday morning, and they had to close the schools Tuesday because the roads were impassible due to flooding.

Just to give you a frame of reference, the average yearly rainfall here in the flatlands is around 16 inches/40.64 cm, so Monday, we got over a quarter of our yearly average rainfall in one day.

Screenshot_4We were also under a severe weather alert Tuesday night so knitting group was cancelled.  We got more rain and some slushy hail out of the storm we had Tuesday.  These Weather Channel maps show red for tornado alert and orange for thunderstorm alerts.  We’re not currently under a tornado alert, but we will be later today if the forecast holds.

Poor Oklahoma is getting pounded.  Again.  There was a tornado reported on the ground at 8:45 in Norman, Oklahoma, that had done some damage.  Some part of Oklahoma gets trashed every year by tornadoes.   Every year.  Oklahoma County, Oklahoma was hit by 19 tornadoes between 2000 and 2015=to-date.  Cleveland County, Oklahoma was hit by 13 tornadoes during the same time period, including the one that hit Norman tonight.   You’d have to pay me big bucks to get me to live in Oklahoma, especially around Oklahoma City (which is the county seat of Oklahoma County as well as the state capital).

May is typically a bad month for tornadoes in this part of the country.  Lubbock was hit by two tornadoes on May 11, 1970.  An F1 hit at 8:10 p.m. that only damaged property, but it was followed by an F5 that hit at 9:35 p.m. that killed 26 people injured 500 people and did $1.4 billion (in 2005 dollars) worth of property damage.  Lubbock still holds the record for the tallest building to survive a direct hit by an F5 tornado and remain standing.  The steel frame of the building was twisted — visibly; however, the building is still in use.  They just had to retrofit it with smaller elevators.

Tuesday, I didn’t know knitting group had been cancelled until I got there, got rained on going into the library building, and saw the sign on the door.  When I got back to my apartment, I looked up and saw that a pane of my dining room window had cracked in two.  Don’t know exactly when it happened, but it happened sometime during the past week.  The apartment maintenance guy came and fixed it Wednesday morning — from the outside, which is good because my sideboard is in front of the window, and it would take an Act of Congress to move it.  I didn’t see any traces on the floor that water had gotten in, though. Typically, when I’m sitting in the living room,  the black one gets up on the ottoman and lies beside my feet.  I was sitting in the living room reading while the repairs were happening, and the noise spooked both of my kitties.  The grey one came and perched on the back of the other armchair and the black one resituated himself on the ottoman and they both watched the source of the noise intently until the window was repaired.

The grey kitty was up on my chest a while ago getting pets, and I could feel every vertebra of her little back bone and the tops of her little pelvis bones, and ever rib.  She is painfully thin and all my efforts at putting more weight on her are not succeeding. She’s still active and alert, but this can’t go on much longer.   I am in the process of coming to terms with letting her go at the end of the month.

Portrait of J. Adam Neuthard

Reverend J. Adam Neuthard, my great-great grandfather

My mom goes on her bus trip to Chicago this month, and after that we will want to go see my cousin in New Mexico.  Also, I want to go to Round Top, Texas to see the church my great-great grandfather founded, visit his grave, and see the other historical buildings in town like the Schiege cigar factory where my great-grand father was foreman, and the foreman’s house where he lived and where my grandmother was born.  I’ve never seen those two places, and I’d like to.  The foreman’s house is now a bed and breakfast.  It would be cool if my mom and I could stay there.  She’s stayed there before, and they have it fixed up nicely — It’s now much nicer than it was when my grandmother lived there as a young girl since the current owners have installed indoor plumbing and air conditioning!

On the way to Round Top is the house where author Robert E. Howard lived in Cross Plains, Texas, which I’d also like to see.   We passed through Cross Plains on our way to and from Pearland in December and I saw a sign for it, but we did not stop.

My mom has had a new fence built.  The old one came with the house in 1963, and really needed to be replaced.  She’s getting the kind where they set 3-inch metal pipe in concrete for the fence posts, and then bolt the wooden cross pieces to the pipe that the fence boards are nailed to.  It’s an 8 foot fence across the back, although the part between her and her neighbor to the west is only 6 feet — he’s paying half the cost of that section.  This is a popular style of fence here as it’s harder to blow down, which tends to happen to fences here a lot.  I emailed her a while ago asking about the details of her Chicago trip and whether I need to take her to where the bus leaves from and when she emailed me back, she said her water heater went out on her Wednesday and she had to have it replaced.

I ordered a new cell phone yesterday from Consumer Cellular, which has a plan where you get 250 any-distance any-where minutes a month with no roaming charges and no contract for $15 a month.  I get a slightly lower rate than that and a price break on the cost of the phone because I’m a member of AARP.  It was time to make the change as they don’t make chargers for my AT&T Go Phone any more, and I can’t get a car charger for it.  The Go Phone needs to have more minutes added on the 15th, and I’m so tired of fooling with AT&T.  I shall have gotten the new phone and have activated it before I need to refill the Go Phone.  The phone comes with a wall charger, but I also opted to get the case and car charger accessory package.  I get to keep my same cellphone number, too, so that’s nice.   I really wanted a car charger because there have been times when I’ve forgotten to charge up my phone and have been out and had to make a phone call that nearly exhausted the battery.  Also, this phone has Bluetooth capacity so I can answer it hands free in my car, and I can get a Bluetooth ear piece for it later if I decide I want one.

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