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Tornados in Switzerland? Nope. In Nashville at 3am? Of course.

Cassandra Mychalowycz

Wednesday morning everyone was buzzing about each student’s experience of Tuesday night, and since it affected me greatly, I figured it would make a great blog post!  At about three in the morning, Davidson county’s tornado warning sirens went off.  I had been talking on the phone with my boyfriend, about to head to bed because I had an 8am class the next morning.  At the same time, I’d been staring at the grey swirling sky thinking about how I hated the look of the weather when there’s a tornado warning.  The sky gets a reddish tint to it, the wind seems eerily calm or else way too strong, and you can see the clouds circling ominously.  Having grown up in Switzerland, tornadoes are not something I have much experience with.  It’s only since being here at Vanderbilt that I have had to recognize the threat they pose to people living in a flat landscape.

Tornado warning signs posted around campus.

On Tuesday morning, as I sat looking outside, the sirens began.  I jogged into my room to check with Dexy whether the siren I heard was from Davidson county or Vanderbilt.  If they’re Davidson county’s sirens, you’re supposed to be wary, but if the Vanderbilt sirens begin, you need to get underground ASAP since a tornado is within 15 minutes of campus.  As soon as I woke a groaning Dexy up to ask, the Vanderbilt sirens went off.  I dragged her out of bed, and grabbed my other roommate Savanna from her room.  We started walking down the stairs, surprised not to see anyone and had gotten halfway down to the basement when the sirens stopped.  We were lugging ourselves back upstairs warily when Dexy said the funniest thing to me: “look, I know you value your life but I’m exhausted.  If it’s a question between sleeping and meeting Jesus or going downstairs again…Jesus and I are on good terms.”  Of course she was not serious AT ALL, but her sleep-deprived mock sincerity was hilarious.

As soon as we had settled in bed, the sirens went off again and we moved to the hallway, not wanting to head downstairs until the sirens committed to being on without pause.  After a few minutes spent lying in the hallway of our dorm under Dexy’s comforter, we heard doors opening and closing as people headed downstairs.  We followed the herd, and pretty soon the R.A.s were banging on doors and sending everyone down to the basement.  Staring down the crowded tunnel, I was amused at how many people lived in Morgan who I had never met.  At 4am, everything settled down and we were able to head back to bed.  It was quite an eventful night, considering I had never really had an experience with early-morning weather threats.  Just something else to learn about being in Nashville!  I’m glad that I was able to learn it somewhere like Vanderbilt, where they keep your safety top priority and make sure that everybody gets downstairs.

…Until next time!

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