Hello, English teacher Fred here. I have a story to tell you today. This is a story about something that happened to me when I was… I think I was about 17 years old. It was when I was in high school. And this is a true story. This is a story about the time that I got chased by a tornado. Really! A tornado chased me- it did!
See, I grew up in Iowa, in the middle of the USA, and in the middle of the USA, in the Midwest, they have tornadoes. We have tornadoes, and the tornadoes are really dangerous. I don’t know if you know much about tornadoes, but they’re dangerous. They can pick up a whole house and throw the house, you know. They can kill you, easily. And when I was a child in Iowa we used to hear stories about tornadoes. And sometimes there would be a big storm with a lot of thunder and lightning and on the TV or radio they would have a tornado warning and so everybody would hide. We would go into the basement, underneath the house.
Have you seen the movie “The Wizard of Oz”? It’s just like in that movie, The Wizard of Oz. It’s a great movie, by the way. You should watch it. But in The Wizard of Oz there is a big tornado that comes, and the whole family, they go under the ground, to be safe.
But actually seeing a tornado is something that’s very rare. You don’t usually see a tornado. For one reason because you’re hiding, so you’re not… you’re not watching the tornado because then you might die, so you’re hiding from the tornado so you don’t see it but also big storms are pretty common but it’s rare to actually look in the sky and see a really big tornado.
But we would hear stories about tornadoes and one thing that people told me, that people would say to small children, is that they would say, “If you are watching a big storm and you hear the sound of a train… if you hear the sound of a train, then just run as fast as you can and get away as fast as you can.” Because a tornado sounds exactly like a train. This is what I heard, this is just what people told small children in Iowa. They would say, “If you hear the sound of a train, run away as fast as you can.”
So one day when I was 17 years old, I was at home and I was at home by myself with our dog, the family dog there, and there is a big storm outside. It was afternoon and I was at home and I was watching this big storm, there was a lot of the wind but it wasn’t raining yet, it was just really windy and it was kind of exciting. I like big storms; I think they are fun and exciting.
So I decided that I would take my dog outside and I would go up to this school nearby. There was a school near our house; it took maybe 10 minutes to walk to the school. Because at the school there was a big open area with no buildings and no trees. So I thought I would go up to the open area and I would watch the storm, and that would be fun. Another thing about tornadoes is that they hit in a big open area. So it’s not very smart to go there. But anyway it was my idea: I’ll go to the big open area. Because where there are tall buildings, a lot of trees, it’s more difficult for a tornado to begin.
So anyway I took my dog outside and we walked up to the school, and we went up to this area where it’s a big open area, just grass, no trees, no buildings. And I was looking around at the storm. It was really exciting, really windy. And another thing I always heard about but I never really saw, was what they call a “funnel cloud.” This is a cloud but it’s in the shape of a funnel. Do you know what funnel is? This is what I always heard, was that the tornado would start as a funnel cloud. And then the funnel cloud comes down from the clouds and if it touches the ground then it connects from the ground to the clouds and it becomes a tornado. This is just what I heard; I never saw it before, before this day.
So I went up to the school, and I’m looking up in the sky, and I was looking around and it was really, really amazing. I’d never seen anything like it before or after that. But what I saw was many, many funnel clouds. It was just amazing! I was looking up in the sky and there was about 10 different places in the sky where I could see where the clouds were spinning. Like just this small circle in the clouds. It was really amazing. So I could see like 10 of these different circles, all above me, where the clouds were spinning. And these were all funnel clouds. So it was spinning around and then a piece of the cloud would come down a little bit. I could see little wisps of cloud, little pieces of cloud coming down. So it was starting to form the shape of a funnel; I could see the funnel shape.
So I’m looking up at all these funnel clouds. “Wow, this is an amazing! I’ve never seen anything like this. I’ve never seen a clouds spinning around in a circle like that, with a little piece coming down.” And these are low clouds; they’re near me, not high up in the sky, but near.
So I’m standing there looking, “Wow! Wow! Wow!” And suddenly I heard the sound of a train. I heard what sounded exactly like a train! People always said, “A tornado sounds like a train and if you hear the sound of a train, then run.” But I thought that they meant it sounded nearly like a train or sort of like a train. But what I heard sounded exactly like a train. It was exactly like there was a train right next to me. A train is really loud if you stand near the train it’s very, very noisy.
So I’m standing there looking at the sky and suddenly I heard a train. It was exactly like a train, and it was coming from behind me. The train was, the sound of the train was behind me. So I’m standing there- suddenly- the sound of a train, and the sound was behind me but I didn’t turn around. I was SO scared. I heard the sound of a train and I just immediately started running. I started running as fast I could possibly run. And I ran all the way from my house- from the school to my house without stopping. It’s a 10 minute walk so for running it’s kind of far. And I ran as fast as I could possibly run, the whole way, with my dog right next to me. And I ran all the way home and I ran in the front door- not the front door, the back door of my house. I opened the door, ran inside, the door slammed shut and I turned around and right then, the whole- there was a tree in the back yard of the house- and about half of the tree went “bam” and crashed down onto the ground. This huge piece of the tree, just “boom”! So I: run run run, in the front door, and the tree went, “crash!” Oh my God! I mean the tree fell down right where I just ran through. I was just there, you know, 2 seconds ago and then the tree went “blam” and fell down.
And, so then, after that there was this huge storm. A lot of wind and lightning and thunder. And then after the storm went away, it was still daytime and people started to go outside of their house, and we could see the path of the tornado. It was a small tornado and we could see, like here is the tree at my house that came down and here’s another tree at this house that came down… And we could see the path that the tornado took. It went… like this. So that’s why I say, “The tornado chased me.” I was chased by a tornado! From the school to my house and then the tornado continued. It didn’t get me, but it chased me home. I was chased by tornado. I was so scared.
But see, now I have a kind of a regret. When I think back on this story and I think what I should have done was… because I was standing there looking at the funnel clouds and then I heard the train behind me… What I should have done was turned around and looked, because I’ve never seen a tornado, before that and after that. I’ve never seen one. But there was a tornado right behind me, and if I had turned around and looked, I would have seen a tornado. But I was so scared that I didn’t take the time to turn around and look, I just started running immediately. Because that’s what people said, and I was really, really scared. I was terrified. But now I think, “Hmm, if I’d just turned around and looked and then started running, maybe I could have seen a tornado. I could have seen the tornado that was chasing me.” But I didn’t. So, oh well. I didn’t see the tornado but I know it chased me home and then it continued.
Okay that’s my story. The story about when I was chased by a tornado. Have you ever been chased by a tornado? Have you ever seen a tornado? I love storms; they’re really exciting.
Okay, have a nice day. Take care; bye-bye. Come by EnglishTeacherFred.com okay? Lots of great English lessons there for you. Bye-bye, have a good day.