NOAA put together this timelapse video to illustrate the seemingly unrelenting series of tornadoes this Spring.
The U.S. experienced unprecedented tornado activity throughout the month of April 2011. The NOAA Storm Prediction Center received 875 tornado reports during that month alone; 625 have been confirmed as tornadoes, so far. Many of these storms were concentrated during 7 different major outbreaks, mostly in the Southern U.S. The largest of these outbreaks occurred during April 27-28, leaving over 300 people dead as over 180 storms were reported from Texas to Virginia.
I’ve lived in hurricane country a couple times, and experienced the edge of Hurricane Camille in 1969 while living in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba — which was far worse than any full force hurricane I experienced living in South Central Louisiana in the early 80s; and I’ve lived in earthquake country most of my life, but just missed the big Loma Prieta shaker, having left the Bay Area for Oregon only weeks earlier, via the freeway that collapsed. Yikes. You know, stuff happens. The earth is constantly in motion — the air, the surface, the flora and fawna, and the shifting plates under our feet.
Having said that, the most terrifying thing I can imagine are tornadoes. They are just so random. I know, I know, so are earthquakes and hurricanes, but you can gather a certain amount of information about the impending doom. Tornadoes happen quickly. Sometimes they’re relatively small, and you can see them; sometimes they’re ginormus and you can’t see them — until they engulf you; my house is fine, but my neighbor’s house is the size of toothpicks.
Okay, tiny panic attack happening right now. Breathe deeply, you’re in Northern Idaho, you goofy girl — no tornadoes!! Pretty much…so far…
Anyhoo, the only time I remember being truly scared I was going to end up in Oz, was toward the end of a stint in Urbana, Illinois, during which I was in a hotel room, looking out the window at a storm that would have drowned elephants, and hearing this god-awful siren noise. Apparently that was a siren warning of impending tornadoes. Hell, I’ve never heard one in my life, so I’m looking out the window! I learned later that I should have huddled in the bathtub and prayed to the Flying Spaghetti Monster to spare my life — that’s when the retroactive scaredy cat thing kicked in. I also learned that standard hospital procedure was to move patients into the hallways, away from the windows. My poor claustrophobic Mom got to experience the whole thing crammed together with other patients in the hallways, all with varying degrees of hysteria. Luckily, she was still too cool to be flying off the handle in front of others. She was awesome that way. :-)
I don’t know if it’s Global Climate Change causing this or something else, but I know it’s bad. People in this country have lost EVERYTHING to this series of tornadoes. EVERYTHING. You know, we cool kids like to do the minimal possessions thing — not that there’s anything wrong with that — but none of us would want to lose our children’s baby pictures, our important papers, or every stitch of clothing we own. They’ve lost it all.
Here are a couple places to start finding ways to help in Missouri & Minnesota, and Joplin, MI. Thanks.
Timelapse video found at MaddowBlog.