Tornado Alley: Busiest Place on Earth
Special Thanks to Linda Childers 5th grade class at Nichols Elementary in B-Ville for inviting me I to speak today. I will post a narrative and some e-pics when i get them (next week).
This is for the weather junkie. The person who lives, breathes and sleeps severe weather. Whether snowstorms and cold waves in winter or spring and summer high wind storms including twisters, you guys crave the really big events.
Personally, I enjoy winter storms much more since the risk of damage to property and to personal safety is somewhat mitigated. I never want to see a tornado up close and would not want to go storm chasing like Marina Jurica did this week. See the e-pics Marina sent along from her High Plains chase!
That said, we are in the middle of what is likely to be the most active tornado season in American history. Tonight on First at Five I recapped a wild and wooly week in America’s Breadbasket where more than 150 twisters have touched down.
From Windsor, Colorado to Hugo Minnesota and from Kerney, Nebraska to Parkersburg, Iowa HOMES HAVE BEEN SPLINTERS and LIVES LOST. While our chance for severe weather comes on Saturday (when locally high winds and hail are possible), early indications are our region will not have any tornadoes to deal with!
It is here in the famous Tornado Alley (area from North Texas through the Plains of Oklahoma, Kansas and Nebraska) that Mother Nature conspires to create havoc every spring. The volatile combination of humid air at ground level and cold air in the heavens sets the stage for violent thunderstorm development. Throw in a contorted web of air streams as one ascends into the clouds and those thunderstorms can begin to spin. Once that spin ensues, it can either twist itself into a tornado or spiral itself down.
Chris Olsen, a Kansas native, knows all about tornadoes. “In the Midwest, twisters are a way of life. I recall spending 15 straight hours in the basement during a tornado alert when I was a kid.”
Surprisingly, Chris says Midwesterners do not always heed tornado warnings. “The first thing people do is run out on the porch and watch. If the storm is heading for you, you head to safe cover, but if it is moving away, you watch and marvel at the beauty and might”.
On the record, I believe all tornado warnings should be taken to heart. But it is up to you to make a personal decision as to how to react during an alert. Since tornadoes are small in scale, they affect a relatively small percentage of a county or valley.
As for tornado safety tips, it is highly recommended that anyone living in a mobile home leave when a Tornado Watch is issued. This may be inconvenient, but it is also practical.
For most of us, stay away from windows and off the telephone. If you hear the roar of a train, duck under a sturdy desk, workbench etc. I stress most of us will never hear the roar of the tornado train.