Saturday, August 16, 2008

That Tornado Thing

Those of you who listen to the show heard me talking late in the last hour about a tornado warning -- not a watch, but a warning -- for Manhattan at that moment. And there we were, 36 stories up in a glass studio, in a glass tower, looking out over the city and at the ominous clouds. CNN was in usual hyper-weather-warning mode about the whole thing, and it was hard not to get caught up in it.

And what's odd and eerie about Sirius and the studios is that we have every available news source coming into the studio -- TV, Internet, radio -- but we are obviously soundproofed from the rest of the building, so we couldn't hear any warning in the building even if there was one, and we're on generators, so even if electricity goes out, the studios keep going. I remember the blackout a few years ago, when we were on the air -- was our first year of the show -- and no one told us there was a blackout, nor came to tell us to leave. The show must go on! They were evacuating the building, but we had no idea. Of course, there was a slight dip in the power before the generators went on, and we saw it on TV, but we had no awareness of our 50-story building and hundreds of other buildings all around us emptying into the streets, nor did we think anyone would ever tell us.

So, when the tornado warning came I wondered if there was stuff going on that we didn't know about -- as it turns out, people in the building were notified -- and it was great to actually have listeners calling up from Texas and Kentucky and elsewhere along tornado alley, giving us tips on what to do. I was a typical New Yorker about the whole thing, thinking we were safe high up since "a tornado can't affect us here." Callers quickly let me know that tornadoes come from above and could slice through the building like a machete in a Kansas wheat field. Oh, well. The whole thing passed relatively quickly -- some severe thunderstorms, that's all.