Holy Tornado, Batman!
OK, here’s a little known fact about me: I am completely fascinated by tornadoes. I’ve dreamt about tornadoes since I was a kid. They are among my favorite kinds of dreams. Nightmare or not, I always wake up amazed and in good spirits. I even feel an odd kind of mysticism about tornadoes. There’s something about lethal forms of weather that finds a special place in my heart. If it can kill me, I love it: hurricanes, tornadoes, lightening, floods… you name it. Yes, I know that this is completely weird. What can I say?
I also love the movie Twister. I know it’s pure cheese, but a movie with Helen Hunt, Bill Paxton, and growling tornadoes? Could that possibly be any sexier? Plus, the special effects are waaaaay cool—especially for a movie from the 90s. Since moving to the Twin Cities, I’ve satisfied my love of dangerous weather by watching Twister every spring. The start of tornado season isn’t complete without it. A bowl full of popcorn, sexy costars, and angry weather patterns: could a girl ask for more? I think not.
My love of violent weather also extends to my reading habits. One of my favorite series of fantasy/sci-fi novels is The Weather Warden Series by Rachel Caine. The series tells the story of a woman who is a member of a quasi-governmental agency composed of human beings who control the weather and other natural processes with their minds. OK, so maybe that sounds a little cheesy, too, but it has angry weather (quite literally) and the main character is a hoot.
Now that I live in the Midwest, tornadoes form a far more prominent feature of my awareness during the warmer months. (Yay/crap!) I’ve always wanted to see a tornado and it seems that my new home may make my dreams come true, for better or for worse. Honestly, tornadoes actually frighten me—probably more so than the average Minnesotan—but I still would love to catch a glimpse of one.
Anyway, these past few paragraphs are my segue into presenting y’all with some really nifty tornado footage. Before you ask, no, it didn’t happen in Minnesota. I’m still all in one piece… physically, at least. Anyway, two different groups of people caught video footage of a tornado that swept through Clinton, Mississippi this past Friday. The first video is shot quite a distance from the ensuing destruction but the second video is shot in such close proximity, that it makes you worry for the photographers’ lives.
Now that we’ve just watched some scarey weather footage, I would be remiss if I didn’t encourage people to brush up on tornado safety. NOAA has some excellent, detailed guidelines on how to respond in the event of a tornado. Please read that link. It may save your life some day.
Pay particularly close attention to the advisory that people not hide under highway bridges during tornadoes. First, if everyone decides to run for a highway bridge, accumulated parked cars will block the highway, thus stopping traffic flow and stranding motorists behind you. Second, hiding under a bridge is similar to hiding in a wind tunnel. That is, the structure of the bridge guides and concentrates the effects of the tornado’s wind. To make maters worse, many people choose to hide near the underside of the bridge, near or between the bridge’s steel/cement girders. This is the worst possible approach since the wind speed increases the further you are from the ground. Since the wind effects are far more severe under a bridge, your chances of being impaled or maimed by flying debris are much greater. Get out of your car and hide in a ditch, instead. I’m not joking. Because the air speed is much closer to zero near the ground, you’ll be far safer.