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Wednesday, June 1st, 2011, was a strange weather day for us here in Massachusetts. The air was downright hot and thick with humidity, not normal for early June but who were we to complain after such a brutally cold winter? Even so, somehow, in the back of your brain, you knew this was different.

You could literally feel it.

The news talked about potential severe thunderstorms throughout the day and there were even a few tornado watches but, what’s to worry about? We don’t get tornadoes here. This is Massachusetts!

Hubby left work that afternoon a little early to beat any bad weather and arrived home safely but a bit apprehensive that I had to head out to teach a class in the next town over. I figured all I needed to worry about was getting drenched in a downpour so off I went as scheduled. (At the time we had no idea that a series of very powerful tornadoes were carving a path of destruction through the western and central part of the state)!

The winds howled outside as I taught and when class was over, we all were simply glad it wasn’t raining. I made it home without incident and we ate dinner glued to the local news channels, awestruck by the ugly-looking radar that now seemed to be heading our way. News reports of the tornado in Springfield were starting to come in and as the storms approached, we began to get nervous things were indeed as serious as they appeared. 

We decided to head outside to ‘batten down the hatches’ and as we did so, we witnessed the strangest sky. I’ve never seen it look like this before – the entire sky was yellow. And not a pastel yellow but a deep golden tone that washed over the landscape with an eerie glow. I did my best to try to capture it but this image does not truly do it justice. Dusk never looks like this. In fact, the sun sets way off to the left of the frame and couldn’t possibly produce this effect!

Only now do I understand that this sort of yellow sky oftentimes indicates the coming of a severe storm and one highly favorable for tornadoes. Yikes.

Luckily for us, the storms lessened as they worked their way to the coast and much of the severe thunderstorms went south of us. Relief! We wouldn’t begin to discover the magnitude of the day for those in Western and Central Mass until the next morning as all our news channels were filled with incredible images and video of the destruction. Being familiar with many of the affected areas only makes it all that much more unreal. It just doesn’t seem possible.

My heart goes out to all who witnessed first-hand the horror of the day’s events, especially those who suffered the greatest loss of all – the loss of life. Many have a difficult road ahead of them. Debris can be cleared, trees replanted, homes re-built and power restored, but the scars of this day will take a long, long time to heal.

God Bless.

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20 Comments

  1. I’m happy to hear that your family is okay, M.P. – that’s a very scary thing. It is hard to believe how one storm can do so much damage and often in such a relatively short amount of time… very sad.

    Cool photo too, M.P. – I do love that warm glow…
    🙂

    • Me, too! Very scary indeed. We just aren’t used to that sort of thing. A Nor’easer? No problem! A blizzard? Eh, been there, done that. A hurricaine? Bring it on. Tornado? WHAT??! No thank you!!

      I appreciate your kind comment, Sig. Yes, cool photo but I would gladly go a lifetime without ever seeing that sort of sky again…

  2. I’m glad to hear your family is fine. I think the town you are from was mostly spared from what I have heard. The sky was truly eerie that night. It had more of a scary greenish color here that I wish I had thought to try to capture with my camera – but my thoughts were elsewhere.

    • Thank you, Karma. The Northshore didn’t see much of anything – we were so lucky!

  3. May God be with all the people affected by the tornadoes in your state. I have extended family in Alabama, and we are hearing a great deal of suffering going on there as well. God bless.

  4. We’ve all had our share of twisters this year… so glad you are all ok!!

  5. I lived in Oklahoma for 6 years and did a little storm chasing. I love thunderstorms, though I get what you’re saying. Crazy weather I tells ya.

    • Reports confirm that one of the three tornadoes that struck was an EF3…scary doesn’t even begin to cover it!

  6. It’s been scary out there this spring weather-wise!! I’m still horrified at the images from Joplin… we drive through there all the time, on our way to Indiana. Stopped there to eat several times, and even spent the night there once. Greg’s uncle lives literally minutes away, in Oklahoma, and I’m pretty sure his late aunt had family in Joplin. Then a tornado missed Cameron’s house literally by a few feet Sunday before Memorial day.. and now this 😦
    I’m so glad my loved ones in IN and my friends in MA are all OK!

    • You said it! We really dodged a bullet with this one. So naive to think it couldn’t happen here. So sad to see it can. 😦

      Yes, thankfully, we are all okay… present and accounted for. I still shudder at the thought of ‘What if…? and wonder how all those folks will be in the next weeks and months when the news spotlight has turned elsewhere.

      Thank you, Michaela! So glad your family is safe as well! 🙂

  7. I’m so glad you are okay. I wondered and worried about you and Karma.

    I’ve seen that sort of sky before, and survived a tornado strike that made me terrified of storms for a long time. I’ve been slowly getting over it, but the storms this year have had me huddling in the basement occasionally (when there is a tornado watch or warning).

    The destruction is so hard to take in. Your last two paragraphs sum up how I feel as well.

    • Thanks so much, Robin.

      I hope I never see such a sky again. After watching “The Wizard of OZ” as a kid, I had this strange fear of tornadoes…used to have nightmares! But, then I grew up, and the fear naturally diminished because we just don’t get that sort of thing here.

      I’m not looking forward to the next time there is a tornado watch or warning now that we have seen the harsh reality of ‘yes, it can happen here’.

      I’ve never considered myself to be much of a writer, and yet, at times I surprise even myself with the flow of words that end up on this blog. Thank you for your kind comments. To know that I was able to aptly express my thoughts means the world to me. 🙂

  8. VERY glad you are all okay.

    We visited friends in Indiana years ago, and we had a terrible storm come through…I had NEVER seen a daytime sky so black in my life, which made me extremely nervous. And then my friend’s Granny said, “A black sky is nothing to fear…a mustard yellow one is the sky you hide from.”

    I hope to never see one.

    • Thank you, KD – much appreciated! 🙂

      I hope you NEVER do either! Black skies STILL scare the bejeezus outta me but if I EVER see that kind of eerie yellow sky again, I will RUN (not walk) to the basement!

  9. Biblical times is right and now it might reach 100 in early June. Climate Change anyone?

  10. I saw that sky but 1) I didn’t have my camera with me and 2) It was almost as if I was paralyzed by what had happened, just dumbfounded, I didn’t even think to capture it with my iPad. To me it looked like a greenish/yellowish tinge, almost like it was infected. Your color in this shot is stunning.

    It’s still so unreal, every time I leave my unaffected house and turn the corner down the street it hits me again when I see all the ruin. It is so very amazing that more lives weren’t lost.

    • I cannot even imagine what it is like to be reminded every single day, in a place that it supposed to be safe and comforting for you, of the destruction that struck. In an instant, our reality of ‘that can’t happen here’ changed forever.

      I will never forget the color of that sky. I agree…it was paralyzing and oh yes, ‘infected’…what a perfect description. I hope to never see it again.

      I pray your city come together and heals stronger than before. 🙂


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