When our & Watch turned into a Warning

For most of yesterday I like many other people in Ontario where aware that most of us were under a Tornado watch. Every time I turned on the TV or the computer I would see this watch being talked about. The news reporters and weather network were saying to be prepared. Not to Panic. Along with a bunch of other important information. However I realize a watch is not a warning, but you say the word Tornado and panic is going to hit. With recent Tornado devastation still fresh in our minds this report was being closely monitored. People who did not usually take these things seriously were paying attention. 


Like many Canadians I have experienced my share of extreme weather. Snowfall warnings, rainfall warnings and even wind. Last night was the first time I experienced a Tornado warning. 
Yes I said Tornado warning . At about 5PM yesterday our watch turned into a warning. What is the difference you ask? Well I had asked this all day yesterday and I am happy I found out.
A “Watch” is to alert people of the possibility of a tornado in their area. Nothing yet has been seen but the conditions are right for one to occur. Be prepared.
A “Warning” is much different. When this is issued it means a Tornado has been spotted in your area. And you are advised to take cover. 

Well when our Warning was issued yesterday the sky was very blue. The temperature warm and the wind, well it was noticeable. I had already taken the clothes off the line, fed the kids and was as prepared as I could be for a power outage but not quite sure what to do next. We do not have a basement so that was not an option. My mother called and told me to pack a bag. Hubby called and was on his way home form work. He cancelled a late appointment and was almost home. The TV went out. No cable. No satellite. No news. I turned on the radio and there was no music on our local station. There was an ongoing announcement to “take cover” . On twitter people were RTing warnings and sightings. I was home alone with my kids and freaking out. 

My teenagers friends were texting them that they were in their cellars, basements and even bathtubs. Parents were worried, kids were board and none of us new what to expect. Luckily I am married to a cool calm thinker. When he arrived home he said we can not do anything here and we are surrounded by trees. We need to leave. Well this concerned me. Images of Dorothy and Oz came rushing in and I pictured the car being pulled up into a funnel cloud along with every farm animal for miles. He reassured me that 30 minutes away where we have family is not under a warning, just a watch. I grabbed my emergency bag and we with the kids left. 

The rain started, the sky went black and in the minute it took us all to pile into the car we were soaked. The rain came so quick and so hard we could hardly see. Then the hail started. The huge hail hit the windshield so hard we jumped the first  time it hit. Lasting for what seems like forever but was more like 10 minutes it felt like we were the target on a driving range. Looking behind us the sky was black and ahead we could see blue skies. It looked like night and day.  I was surprised to see so many cars leaving the area. About 25 minutes later, ahead a few kilometers we could see cars pulled over to the side of the road. The rain and hail had stopped but the sky was very grey.  We looked over to see what they were all looking at. Off in the distance we could see three funnel clouds just over were we had just left. We continued driving until we reached our location and settled for most of the night. 

When we returned home we had some flooding in our yard. Our power had been out and lots of trees were down. No official reports of a touch down. Would we have been okay if we stayed behind and waited out the storm? Most likely, this time. But I think that is what many think when they get caught in a dangerous situation. At what point do you take action and make a decision? For us it was not worth taking a chance with our family. The storm was still far enough at that point we could leave. Had we waited any longer we would have had no choice. I know this will not be my last Tornado warning. The weather every year gets more and more extreme. Next time I will be leaving during the watch and I think I am now in the market for a house with a basement 🙂 Thank you to all my online friends who chatted, tweeted and emailed me throughout, I really appreciated it. 

This was the only good picture I was able to take. We were right at the edge of the storm at this point. 

And by the way, if you are under a weather watch , do not look at pictures of damage caused by extreme weather online. It does YOU no good 



  1. Sober Julie says

    We are in Orangeville and also sat through the watch and warning. If I didn't havee a basement I think I would have left as well.

  2. Bodynsoil.com says

    Your story sounds very scary when that weather turned bad, I am glad you left for the night and nothing bad happened. It is always good to err on the side of caution when dealing with mother nature as she is a powerful force to contend with.

  3. wow that picture looks scary, I'm glad you're all ok!!

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