When it comes to weather, it can happen to you too

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Steve Stanley
  • Headquarters Air Combat Command Public Affairs
It's fair to say I have seen my share of bad weather.
I have watched the sky turn grey in an instant and begin to spiral down to form a near perfect rotating column of violent air. The tornado rampaging across the dry terrain as it travelled overhead only to severely damage a neighboring home on the other side of a set of rusted railroad tracks. The lightning flashed like Zeus firing his bright artillery. Layers of clouds mushroomed from the top and dark streamers curled the furious cylinder.

A blizzard appeared seemingly out of nowhere on the German Autobahn while I drove my lowered sedan equipped with summer tires. The car proceeded to skip off of the road onto an empty rest area.

I have seen a thick red wall of sand climb almost endlessly into the sky as it completely enveloped everything in its path while the scorching temperatures of the desert reached 115 degrees.

My mouth was dry in west Texas during one of the worst droughts in recent history and experienced earthquakes on the "Ring of Fire". I have watched the smoke of the violent California infernos bellow over my neighborhood; although four out of five wildfires are started by people, nature will usually help to fan the flames.

I have flown over the flooded towns of the mighty Mississippi River as houses, vehicles, trees and other structures poorly equipped to withstand the water's strength were no match as they crumbled and floated away. Taken a breath of air in an Asian country while watching the sky turn yellow of pollution, pollen and dust. 

My family and I have been on a sinking boat in the Gulf of Mexico during a flash storm in the middle of a strong rip current; witnessed lightning strike a tree not 30 feet from my living room. 

Sitting nervously on the front porch, I stared as the windows and walls of my home seemed to breathe and the top of tall Pine trees bowed to the ground. The marsh waters began to rise and my father and I watched as a church's roof across the street started to lift and slam when both Hurricane Ivan and Katrina decided to leave their mark.

Mother Nature has shown me time and time again that it is best to always be prepared for her fury.