Wednesday, May 25, 2011

more storms

The local news has forecast more storms for this afternoon - "some violent in nature."  In addition to being the wettest spring on record, we now seem to be on pace to be one of the stormiest.  Tornadoes have ravaged the south and midwest, killing many and leaving total destruction in their paths.  Ironically, I'm reading a book entitled "Tornado Hunters", a tale about storm chaser Tim Samaras and his attempts to capture data & photographs of our most violent storms. We don't fully understand these storms - when they will appear or what paths they will take, but we have come a long way since April 3, 1974.  On that sunny, overcast spring day I was living in Cincinnati, attending the University of Cincinnati, and expecting to run into a few showers late in the day.  What we got were storms that spawned 148 tornadoes, including F5's (the worst) in Xenia, Ohio; Depauw, IN; Sayler Park, Ohio; and Brandenburg, Kentucky.  Hanover College (another of my alma maters) was virtually destroyed.  At the end of the day, more than 300 people had lost their lives.  Although we still can't fully predict what these storms will do, our weather forecasters have come a long way - armed with Doppler, Radar and many other new technologies, they can give us warnings that didn't exist 38 years ago.  My only insight into what was occurring on that April day came from WEBN (an independent rock station back then) when the disc jockey we were listening to said, "well folks, it's time to take me, your best friend and a bottle of wine down into the basement."  If only it was that simple.

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