a tornado in the US
1. Summary writing.
In some parts of the United States there are often tornadoes. Here Ben MacDonald talks about his first one.
Mum and Dad were nervous all afternoon. There was a tornado warning for our part of Oklahoma. They had the tv on all the time and watched all the
special weather reports. I didn't worry about it too much at first. I thought it was all pretty exciting.
"There's nothing exciting about tornadoes, Ben," Dad said. "Last year one destroyed most of Morris. Houses were knocked down, cars were blown
away and some people were killed."
"You're right, Dad," I answered, "But I talked to Old Jeff earlier and he said that no tornado can ever hit Enid."
"Oh no! He's always wrong about the weather, isn't he?" Mum said.
"Yes, but I'm sure he's right this time," I told her.
"That would be the first time." Mum was really worried now. "If that tornado comes any nearer, we'll go to our tornado cellar".
"Great," I said.
"This is not a game, Ben." Dad stared at me.
Our tornado cellar was in the backyard. It was an underground room with a heavy trapdoor on top and some stairs leading down. Everybody in our
neighbourhood had one. In ours there were two bunk-beds, a table and some chairs - but no food or anything to drink.
"I'll get some things ready to take down." Mum said.
"Too late." Dad stared at the TV for a moment. "The tornado is just north of town. We'll have to get into that cellar now. Ben, get your radio," he called.
So I did, and down we went.
When we were below" with the heavy door safely shut behind us. Mum said. "OK. Ben, turn on the radio. Let's see if it touches down''.
"All right." I said and tried, but nothing happened. "Er - I guess I forgot to put the batteries back in. I took them out last night and -"
"Ben, you're impossible," Dad said. "You're the most forgetful person I know." "No problem, Dad. I'll just run out and get them. They're in my room," I
said and started up.
"Ben, you stay here'. That storm might blow you and the house and everything away," Mum shouted and dropped something.
I stayed. Mum had dropped and broken her watch. She wasn't too happy about that. None of us were. You see, it was the only watch we had in the
cellar and now we had no idea how much time
was passing. So we waited and listened, but the door was thick and we couldn't hear anything.
"Shouldn't we go up?" I said at last. "I'm sure it isn't dangerous any more. We've been here for hours."
"No," Dad said. "Perhaps half an hour. That's all."
"But I'm so hungry and thirsty," I said. "How can you worry about things like that at a time like this?" said Mum. "Our house has probably been blown away."
For a while nobody said anything. Hours seemed to pass.
"Ssh," Dad said suddenly. "I think I can hear something." He moved closer to the door and stood there for a long time.
"Do you know the story about the man who was locked in a tomb by accident and all his hair turned grey after two minutes?" I asked.
Mum made a funny sound, and Dad told me to be quiet. "If you weren't so forgetful, we wouldn't be in this mess," he said.
I didn't really think that was fair but I didn't say anything - nor did anyone else. We waited.
Time passed ... and in the end it was Dad who decided that we should have a look outside.
"What if the storm is still going on?" said Mum. "What if our house is gone?" Dad didn't answer. He started up the stairs slowly. I was right behind him when he
pushed open the door. Mum was still below.
"Oh no!" Dad said when he stepped outside. "This is terrible!"
I followed - it was completely dark outside ...
Below Mum called nervously, "What is it? Is our house gone?"
"The house," Dad said quietly, "is still here, and everything's OK. But I left the key inside and we're locked out."
(about 690 words)
tornado - Wirbelsturm
warning - Warnung
pretty - ziemlich
to blow away - wegblasen
cellar - Schutzkeller
to stare - starren
backyard - Hinterhof
trapdoor - Falltür
bunk-beds - Etagebetten
below - unten
to touch down - runterkommen
I guess - ich glaube
battery - Batterie
had dropped - hatte fallen lassen
thick - dick
to seem - scheinen
tomb - Grab
to turn - werden
nor - auch nicht
Write a summary of the story in not more than 200 words.
2. Relative clauses. Explain the following words to someone who does not know what they mean. Use relative clauses with who, which, whose or
a contact clause. The words in brackets will help you. Don't use that.
2.1. designers (people)
2.2. widow (person)
2.3. education (something)
2.4. income (money)
2.5. fee (money)