s Thoughts from the Physics Chick: There be tornados here

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

There be tornados here

So we had our first tornado Sunday night. Or we had our first tornado warning, which means that the sirens went off and we had to go sit in the basement for 45 minutes because a tornado had been spotted in the area and might come our way.

I just knitted the whole time and listened to the Illinois natives tell stories about “the great tornado spring of tickity-seven” or whenever, and then they let us go back to our rooms and go to bed, although the tornado watch was still in effect. Luckily, we didn’t have any more warnings that night.

The weird thing about tornados, I’ve decided, is that they are very . . . specific, as natural disasters go. I’ve been in an earthquake (or a series of earthquakes) when I visited California and a hurricane when I was in Alabama two years ago. (OK, technically it was a tropical storm by the time it got that far inland, but the eye went right over where I was, so it still counts.) With earthquakes and hurricanes you’ve got a whole swath of people who are affected. With tornados, the damage can be very bad, but the worst of it is also very precise. A tornado can destroy one house, and leave the house beside it practically untouched. (Of course, the thunderstorms associated with tornados cause damage to a more general area.)

So I’ve now been through a tornado, or I’ve been through a tornado warning, at least, which is all that most Midwesterners ever see. Spring is apparently a bad time for twisters, so I’ll probably see a few more before the end of May. And I’m very concerned because I’m out of yarn, so I can’t knit through the next one. Maybe I’ll bring a book.


At April 04, 2006 11:20 PM, Blogger Becca said...

Tornadoes aren't such a bad natural disaster to have, I think. They can predict their formation and path pretty well now, so if you're watching the weather on the news you have a pretty good idea if you need to take cover. We had a couple warnings the other evening, but the map said they weren't near enough to worry about. Earthquakes would freak me out.

At April 05, 2006 6:55 PM, Blogger noelle feather said...

Being a Californian, and having been through my FAIR SHARE of earthquakes, I'd take a tornado any day. My beef w/earthquakes is that we have NO CLUE (obviously) when they are coming, and at least with the tornados--you have watch, warning, etc. The warning time (however small) is what makes it work for me. :)


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