We started off on another vacation early this afternoon. Our ultimate destination is Anchorage, Alaska tomorrow afternoon. But we left early this afternoon so we could stay at a hotel near the airport in Windsor, CT and not have to get up quite so early in the morning.
We stopped in Manchester, CT first. I needed new sneakers for this trip – mine are worn and not giving the proper support anymore. I guess that’s what happens when you start walking a lot more than you had been – even if it is on the treadmill. The sneaker store happens to be across from one of our favorite restaurants – Ted’s Montana Grill – so of course dinner followed sneaker shopping. Ted’s offers what few other restaurants offer in this area – bison on the menu. Bison is great and much better for you than beef. It’s very lean. Dinner was delicious.
After dinner, we made our way to the Doubletree Hotel. It started raining on the 20 minute drive to the hotel. Must be those “pop-up” thunderstorms they talked about on the weather last night. The only problem I have with the Doubletree Hotel is they give each member of your party a fresh-baked, warm cookie when you check in. Many of you may see this as a blessing, but since I still have over 60 lbs to lose, it was a cruel temptation (to which I am proud to say I did not succumb!). My husband ate them both. He can gain back some of the 20+ lbs he’s lost since the end of April. I am in this weight loss battle to win this time and have been amazing myself by making decisions not to eat certain things. I hope to keep that up throughout this vacation.
After we checked in, while my husband checked some things on the internet, I turned on the TV to see what was on. At that time of day I was expecting Oprah. I got the local weather. They were doing a special broadcast due to the severe weather threats in CT. What severe weather? Where? Oh, they told me. And they showed me! The whole state was under a severe thunderstorm warning. There were flash flood warnings. WOW! All we had in Windsor was some thunder and lightning, but nothing much more than a moderate storm.
The radar showed the severe weather was hitting several areas. There was one particularly evil looking cell that was only about 15 to 20 miles south of where we were sitting. I knew the area well, having lived in the Hartford area during my college years. Radar usually shows up in greens, yellow and maybe red for a fairly strong storm. This storm cell had purple, hot pink, black and even a spot of white. White? I have never seen anything in the black area before. White?!
Then a yellow spinning ring appeared on the radar screen. What was that? If I had to guess, I would have guessed it meant circular winds. I’m a good guesser. That’s exactly what it meant. Hmm . . . winds spinning – isn’t that what a tornado does? Yep! The meteorologist started explaining that the spinning ring meant that the conditions were ripe for a tornado. What? In Connecticut? Suddenly another ring popped up right next to the one we’d been watching. Several minutes later, two more!! Yikes!!
The weatherman explained that really severe conditions were happening in those places. Suddenly two of the four rings turned from yellow to red. The weatherman explained that the color indicated the altitude of the spinning winds. Yellow was higher up in the atmosphere. Red indicated at or close to ground level. OMG! Finally they reported that the National Weather Service had issued a Tornado Warning for that area. Duh? What were they waiting for? These guys had told us 20 – 30 minutes earlier. Much better warning for local residents!
Suddenly rings popped up down in Fairfield County. There was another tornado warning issued for that area. I watched, mesmerized. It was still raining where I was, but it was just light rain. We hadn’t even gotten wet today. And there were tornados possible so close to where we sat? Amazing, weather is.
I have to give kudos to the meteorologists at WFSB Channel 3 out of Hartford, CT. They technology they were using is even better than what we usually watch on WCVB out of Boston. But more importantly, they delivered information calmly, with details and useful instructions. There were no histrionics. There was no hysteria. They stayed on point – no real digressions. They were professional, even when you could hear the rain, hail and thunder on the roof of their studio. I was truly impressed!
Tomorrow morning will be mostly clear when we make our way to the airport and jet off for Alaska. But we certainly had quite a send off from Connecticut!