[M.M.X.I.V. 37] Sirens

Throughout my life, I have lived in the Midwest.  And, that means Tornado Alley.  In Tornado Alley, sirens are used to warn of tornadoes, and are also tested regularly.

For example, when I was in Fort Dodge, the sirens were tested every Saturday at noon.  In Lincoln, they were tested the first Wednesday of each month at 10:15, unless the weather would be stormy.  And in Evanston, the first Tuesday of each month at 10:00.

The sirens were originally meant as civil defense warnings, to warn of air raids, nuclear attacks, and suchlike war-style dangers.  Given that the United States are not under war on USA soil right now, there is no need for these.  Everywhere that I have lived, the siren means “Take cover–we’re under a tornado warning!”

But, there was once that I was afraid there was an attack or something.  It was January 7, 2010 (hmm… exactly 213 weeks ago!), and it was a snowy day–enough to prevent me from riding my bike.  So, to get to the Northwestern basketball game that day, I took a shuttle and then took the L afterward.  The ‘Cats had a very ugly win over Texas Pan-American.  I left Welsh-Ryan Arena at about 20:00, walked to Central, and boarded the L without incident to go toward Davis.

My target was Nevin’s Pub, to watch Texas vs. Alabama for the national championship in football.  But,  shortly after I got to Davis Street, sirens began to blare.  My first thought was, “There can’t be a tornado.”  My next thought made my mind (and feet) race: Maybe we’re under attack!  So, while still being careful,I picked up my pace and hightailed it the couple of blocks to Nevin’s, fearful.

When I arrived, I asked the host what was going on– “Are we under attack?”  He laughed and said, “They blow those sirens for winter parking bans.”

Wow.  So, there’s another windbaggy thing that Chicago and the vicinity does–gets outsiders freaked out about tornadoes or wartime attacks in the winter, when in reality, the cars parked on the streets are the only things in danger!  Yet another good reason for me not to have a car here!

Why did I write this post?  The sirens sounded last night.


Today is the thirty-seventh day of M.M.X.I.V.  That makes five weeks and two days.


5 thoughts on “[M.M.X.I.V. 37] Sirens

  1. What a scary moment, Noah: I tensed as I read it! And how ironic that a siren meant for such serious messages should be used for something relatively trivial.


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