Before coming to Iowa, my only experience with Twisters revolved around wacked out Judy Garland movies or embarrassing party games. I guess there was also that mid-90's movie with Helen Hunt and another actor. In any case, my knowledge was, at best, limited.
My very first day in Iowa City (interview day) happened to be the first Monday of the month (when they test the weather siren). Around 9am the siren went off - a deafening scary-movie sound. My interviewer went on talking as if nothing was going on. I tried to chat for a little while but could barely hear the guy. Finally I just asked about the sound.
Me: "What is that deafening noise?"
Interviewer: "Oh that's just the tornado siren."
Me (trying not to sound panicky): "Uh, should we be concerned about this?"
Interviewer: "It's probably just a test."
Right. Probably just a test.
I believe I was assured that we're not in Kansas so "twisters" really aren't too much of an issue out here. Then again, here is Iowa City in April of 2006:
What I find funny about this video is that a number of the people featured are smiling - they seem excited more than anything else. I love how in the midst of the storm people came out into the streets to see what was going on. There's the frat guy who talks about the cars piled on top of each other, and describes the dumpster "...which is, like, not normally here."
There is at least one home video of the twister itself as it blows through the downtown area. I ask you, who in their right mind would be out on the street holding a video camera?
People have a way of adapting to just about any situation. Earlier this week there was a tornado "warning" (ie a tornado was spotted in a neighboring county). I happen to work in a bunker of a building so everyone just carried on as normal, including myself. I just hoped the warning would go away in time for me to head home for dinner.
I'm no idiot, but I do agree, life goes on.