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Thread: Tornado Country

  1. #1
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    Tornado Country



    Late April - early May is the heart of tornado season (at least in these parts). This year has been unusual in that I think we've only had a couple of watches and no confirmed (don't hold me to that) touchdowns in the county. Normally it seems like most years we'd have heard the civil defense sirens in the county going off at least once or twice by now. Knock on wood. The last time a tornado tore through downtown was back in 1980 (and I believe killed five or six people).

    Take a look at the map. Not surprisingly, Oklahoma and parts of Texas are Tornado central, with parts of the great plains, midwest and Florida not far behind. Evidently they don't get tornados at all west of the Rockies and very few out east.

    Do you live in 'tornado country'? If so, have you ever experienced a close call?I recollect in elementary school we used to do a 'disaster drill' (similar to fire drills) where everyone would crouch down in the hallway with a book over their head about once a year. I'm curious if this was normal practice in the places shown in yellow on the map?

    I think I'll watch ye olde 'Twister' video tonight.
    People will miss that it once meant something to be Southern or Midwestern. It doesn't mean much now, except for the climate. The question, “Where are you from?” doesn't lead to anything odd or interesting. They live somewhere near a Gap store, and what else do you need to know? - Garrison Keillor

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Emeritus Chet's avatar
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    great. i moved from that nub of 5 in wisconsin to the nub of 5 on south texas. add the occassional hurricane.

    Umm... [Dan...Suburb Repair Man... can ya'll be my evacuation plan?

  3. #3
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Chet View post
    great. i moved from that nub of 5 in wisconsin to the nub of 5 on south texas. add the occassional hurricane.

    Umm... [Dan...Suburb Repair Man... can ya'll be my evacuation plan?
    And what's up with that little enclave in east Texas where they only get one tornado? Is that ofos' house and maybe the tornados are afraid of the infamous curmudgeon?
    People will miss that it once meant something to be Southern or Midwestern. It doesn't mean much now, except for the climate. The question, “Where are you from?” doesn't lead to anything odd or interesting. They live somewhere near a Gap store, and what else do you need to know? - Garrison Keillor

  4. #4
    Cyburbian ofos's avatar
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    Growing up in the orange part of Michigan, moving to orange Iowa, and now in red to dark red Texas, I've seen a number of tornados and tornado aftermaths. Last year we had one pass by about a mile from my Dallas house and another a year before that took out trees within a quarter mile of my E. Texas country house. Several years ago, a series of really big ones ripped through the Oklahoma City/Norman area. I was up there the following weekend and the devastation was incredible.
    “Death comes when memories of the past exceed the vision for the future.”

  5. #5
    Cyburbian Emeritus Chet's avatar
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    "Back Home" we had two tornadoes 4 years apart that took the EXACT same path. My firends lost thier houses twice. I saw both of them, about 1/4 mile from my childhood home. Freaky.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian zman's avatar
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    We're coming up on a year since the massive Windsor tornado hit the Town Next Door.

    Used to be we'd get a few tornadoes in Denver/along the Front Range when I was younger. It tapered off for a while, but now seems to be more of a threat.

    Oh well. What chaps my ass is that most of Windsor has been rebuilt (with a much needed facelift) but people are still using the tornado as an excuse for things.
    You get all squeezed up inside/Like the days were carved in stone/You get all wired up inside/And it's bad to be alone

    You can go out, you can take a ride/And when you get out on your own/You get all smoothed out inside/And it's good to be alone
    -Peart

  7. #7
    Cyburbian Bubba's avatar
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    Two close calls - at school in the fifth grade (the twister jumped the school property), and one that passed within a tenth of a mile of my apartment building back in the late 1990s. And, while I wasn't in downtown Atlanta when the tornado hit during the SEC Mens Basketball Tournament last year, my office window looks out at the Westin Peachtree Plaza and its (still unrepaired) damage:

    I found you a new motto from a sign hanging on their wall…"Drink coffee: do stupid things faster and with more energy"

  8. #8
    Cyburbian zman's avatar
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    Oh yeah, we'd have tornado drills in school all the time too. That concept was lost on my Pac NW wife.
    You get all squeezed up inside/Like the days were carved in stone/You get all wired up inside/And it's bad to be alone

    You can go out, you can take a ride/And when you get out on your own/You get all smoothed out inside/And it's good to be alone
    -Peart

  9. #9
    Cyburbian TexanOkie's avatar
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    The May 3, 1999 F5 tornado that virtually destroyed the City of Moore, Oklahoma and a great deal of the OKC metro area near Tinker AFB destroyed the neighborhood across Sunnylane Rd. from my wife's then-residence, killing one of her teachers and displacing thousands.

    The March 28, 2000 F3 tornado that engulfed downtown Fort Worth and then passed through Arlington, Mansfield, and Grand Prairie destroyed fences immediately behind my car as I was driving home from a talent competition at school. There was the "green lightning" all around (blowing transformers) and the electrical wires and poles were leaning over the roadway. My sister, then 12, was completely freaking out. The day after, we discovered the tornado had destroyed our vet's office (which was about 3 miles southwest of our house) and torn down a good portion of fencing (mixture of brick and wood fences) along Country Club Drive in Mansfield before heading up towards Arlington Municipal Airport, where I think it killed a security guard.

    I've also seen more funnel clouds than I'd like to. Before sprawling suburban tract homes encroached on our formerly exurban house adjacent to stretches of cattle pasture, our house had a great view north toward Arlington from the second floor window. We would watch thunderstorms pass for hours while listening to NOAA weather alerts.

  10. #10
    Cyburbian illinoisplanner's avatar
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    I've lived in orange Illinois all my life. It seems all the major deadly tornadoes from my lifetime have happened in the southern part of Northern Illinois, along the I-80 corridor (i.e. F5 Plainfield tornado in 1990, F3 Utica tornado in 2004). I have two college friends from those areas and their homes were just missed by a quarter mile and about 2 miles respectively. It's been said that the LaSalle-Grundy-Kendall-southern Cook County region in Illinois is basically Ground Zero for tornadoes. A series of EF1 and EF2 tornadoes battered the area, destroying several homes last June. There's also been a few twisters in the very far northern reaches of Illinois, near Harvard, though none deadly (one EF3 occurred recently in January...yes January...of 2008 causing lots of damage and a few injuries).

    I've defintiely directly experienced my fair share of other severe weather though (derechos/microbursts, hail, etc.). Siding, roofing, screens, patio furniture...all have had to be replaced, sometimes several times over, due to hail and/or high wind gusts associated with severe thunderstorms.

    I've endured a tornado warning at college twice now, with sirens blaring and had to go down in the basement. But those instances were both close calls...it was usually just a nearby funnel cloud or the tornado had briefly lifted before re-forming further east. One time they issued a tornado warning during move-in day...that was fun for a lot of folks.
    Last edited by illinoisplanner; 04 May 2009 at 5:00 PM.
    "Life's a journey, not a destination"
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  11. #11
    Cyburbian Plus JNA's avatar
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    SW Indiana Tri State has had it's share of historic tornadoes & out of season too.

    March 1925 Tri-State (approx EF 5)
    January 1989 Allendale, IL - F4
    June 1990 Petersburg, IN - F4
    January 2000 Owensboro, KY - F3
    November 2005 Vanderburgh CO, IN - F3 (got to walk through the damaged mobile home park )

    Even discuss it in our Comp Plan's Natural Hazards chapter.

    Has anybody read the Enhanced Fujita Scale Report: http://www.wind.ttu.edu/EFScale.pdf ?
    Very worth reading, specially if you want to know more about damage assessment.
    Last edited by JNA; 04 May 2009 at 5:37 PM.
    Oddball
    Why don't you knock it off with them negative waves?
    Why don't you dig how beautiful it is out here?
    Why don't you say something righteous and hopeful for a change?
    From Kelly's Heroes (1970)


    Are you sure you're not hurt ?
    No. Just some parts wake up faster than others.
    Broke parts take a little longer, though.
    From Electric Horseman (1979)

  12. #12
    Cyburbian Joe Iliff's avatar
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    North Texas is a pretty high risk area, but since the Fort Worth tornado in 2000, I haven't experienced anything too bad.
    JOE ILIFF
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  13. #13
    Cyburbian mike gurnee's avatar
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    What are these tornadoes you speak of?

  14. #14
    Cyburbian rcgplanner's avatar
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    I moved from Southern Minnesota which experienced several tornadoes, including the infamous 1998 St. Peter tornado which killed 2 and damanged most of the town. In August of 2006, another tornado hit the same area. I was running errands and saw the tornado from about 3 miles away.

    I now live in Indiana right under the red area. Last summer there was a tornado about 2 miles down the street I live off of, which destroyed an apartment complex.

  15. #15
    Cyburbian Michele Zone's avatar
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    I had no idea Columbus was on the edge of a tornado hotspot for Georgia. But it makes sense. We fairly often have tornado watches and sometimes tornado warnings. We certainly get enough downed trees here during bad storms.

  16. #16
    Zoning Lord Richmond Jake's avatar
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    We were in a tornado warning until 2:00 pm today. I posted a couple of pictures in my gallery of a waterspout out on the bay from last year that I'm too lazy to find and link here.
    ________________

    It begs the question that my mom asks often when we discuss the pros and cons of living in the various places: "Is there a perfect place to live? Never too hot, never too cold, never too much rain, never a drought, never a damaging hurricane, never an earthquake, never a volcano, never a tsunami....."
    Annoyingly insensitive

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    Cyburbian Plus Zoning Goddess's avatar
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    Central FL is another hot spot, but.... the tornadoes there tend to be F1s, not the behemoths that hit the midwest and parts of the southeast. Although 12 years ago, my kid and I had been in our house just 3 months when a series of tornados killed 42 people in 3 central FL counties. The one in our county was several miles from our home, but the pine trees in our yard were swaying back and forth more than they did during the '04 hurricanes. It was frightening.

  18. #18
    Cyburbian Tom R's avatar
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    1985 outbreak

    In 1985, my ex and I were having lunch in our old college watering hole (Ray's http://www.raysplacekent.com/) in Kent, Ohio when a storm blew up and the power went off. No big deal, typical Ohio weather. Later we found out that the same storm produced at least one tornado that tore up Newton Falls http://www.may311985tornadoes.com/, about 10 miles to the east. It must have passed directly over our location.
    WALSTIB

  19. #19
    maudit anglais
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    Interesting...extrapolating from the map I get the impression that Canada should be tornado-free, but we do get a few up here (at least in some regions). Ottawa had a minor tornado blow through about 2 weeks ago...took the roof off the patio of the pub across the way from us and blew down a bunch of trees in the National Cemetary.

  20. #20
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Tranplanner View post
    Interesting...extrapolating from the map I get the impression that Canada should be tornado-free, but we do get a few up here (at least in some regions). Ottawa had a minor tornado blow through about 2 weeks ago...took the roof off the patio of the pub across the way from us and blew down a bunch of trees in the National Cemetary.
    Looking at the legend, the first category says 'fewer than one per 10k sq miles/year' so if a given 10k sq miles area got one tornado every three years it would still fall into that category.
    People will miss that it once meant something to be Southern or Midwestern. It doesn't mean much now, except for the climate. The question, “Where are you from?” doesn't lead to anything odd or interesting. They live somewhere near a Gap store, and what else do you need to know? - Garrison Keillor

  21. #21
    Cyburbian dandy_warhol's avatar
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    I was living in NOLA in 2004 - 2006. In February 2006 a tornado blew through NOLA like icing on a post-Katrina cake. It was late at night and I remember hearing the winds ripping through the neighborhood. I thought it was the worst thunderstorm I had ever experienced. I remember hearing some loud horns going off but having grown up in relatively-tornado free upstate NY, I had no idea what they meant.

    The next morning I turned on the TV and saw that a tornado had come through the area, toppled a radio tower about 1/2 mile from my place, and destroyed and damaged a few homes not to far from me.

    Thank god for oblivion, probably saved me a lot of stress worrying about what was going on!
    In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends. -Martin Luther King Jr.

  22. #22
    I'm in the three tornadoes on average area in southern Indiana. This historic marker recalls the deadly 1917 tornado.

    Off-topic:
    There is a contemporary postcard that shows a shotgun house, damaged but not destroyed by the twister, but the house has a hole in the roof. An arrow helpfully points to the hole and explains that [paraphrasing] "This is where Mrs. Brown was deposited by the cyclone after being sucked up by the storm..." four blocks away.
    Je suis Charlie

  23. #23
    maudit anglais
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    Quote Originally posted by Maister View post
    Looking at the legend, the first category says 'fewer than one per 10k sq miles/year' so if a given 10k sq miles area got one tornado every three years it would still fall into that category.
    D'oh!

  24. #24
    Cyburbian Plus JNA's avatar
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    AIB Gedunker's Indiana Historical Marker, there is one for the Tri-State Tornado that I had posted above:
    http://www.in.gov/history/markers/16.htm
    Oddball
    Why don't you knock it off with them negative waves?
    Why don't you dig how beautiful it is out here?
    Why don't you say something righteous and hopeful for a change?
    From Kelly's Heroes (1970)


    Are you sure you're not hurt ?
    No. Just some parts wake up faster than others.
    Broke parts take a little longer, though.
    From Electric Horseman (1979)

  25. #25
    June 9, 1953, one day after my birth, a tornado in Worcester MA killed 59 people (was born in Winthrop MA)

    Spring of 1982..........lived thru a tornado in Marion IL, killed 10 people, almost had my car sucked up into it.......

    April 2009.....here in Texas (near Round Rock) had a tornado warning

    May 2009.........next door (Georgetown) they had a small tornado.......

    and so it goes,........

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