My new year started off with some wild weather. I rang in the new year in Nashville where I was visiting my family for the holidays. The weather on New Year’s Day was warm (nearly 80 degrees fahrenheit) and brought the first tornado warnings of the brand new calendar year. Coincidentally this happened to be the first Saturday of the month, which is when tornado sirens are regularly heard in the afternoons for the area’s monthly siren testing. Yet when the sirens sounded on this particular afternoon it was not a test but rather the real deal.
When I first went to ride out the pandemic with my family in March 2020 I arrived just weeks after a tornado outbreak wrought severe damage in Nashville. And just last month the city was skirted by the tornado that devastated communities in Kentucky. So it was a disconcerting start to the year. I helped my mom bring in Christmas decorations and patio furniture that could be turned into projectiles by the high winds. We were watching live weather updates on TV when the tornado sirens sounded, and we sought shelter in a small closet under the stairs. When it felt safe enough I went into the front yard and watched the dark, swirling clouds moving swiftly past.
On the following day the weather turned cold again. I was scheduled to fly back to Pittsburgh that evening and while I was waiting at the gate heavy snow began falling outside the windows. My return flight was eventually scrapped and rescheduled due to staffing shortages, presumably a consequence of the mass weather-and-covid-related flight cancellations that had been wreaking havoc on major airports. I returned to my family’s home to stay the night and enjoy the belated wintery weather. With the new paint job on my mom’s house the nighttime scene looked particularly monochromatic.
The snowstorm that had snarled traffic of all kinds from Atlanta up to D.C. had missed Pittsburgh, so when I finally made it back to the city it was cold but clear. Snow finally began falling this past Thursday evening.
From the alley behind my building I spotted assorted birds of paradise bedecked by the freshly fallen snow.