Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Tornadoes in Joplin Missouri

We've had another extreme storm front that has gone all the way across the country. One of the tornadoes from this storm hit Joplin, Missouri. It was approximately one mile high and three miles wide with winds reaching 200 mph. It was an EF5 which is very rare. The death toll today in Joplin rose to 124 with 1,500 of the town's 50,000 residents still missing. And more tornado warnings are expected tonight. As of May 28, 2011 the missing are about 250.

This video was taken the next day. And part of it was taken while the tornado hit. It is the most terrifying video I've seen. At first you will see the destruction. A text frame will appear that says click here to see the tornado as it hit. Most of that video is darkness. But what you hear.... is unforgettable.

And this is the video of the aftermath...

The day before the storm front came through the Chicago area I noticed the weather had changed. Just like I had noticed before the last storm front that had generated terrible tornadoes that took place a month ago, in May. From an early age I was taught to watch the sky. So I know when a storm is coming and if there is snow in the clouds or it looks like we might get some hail. I can even tell if a tornado is coming and when its time to get to the basement. I grew up watching the weather long before there were satellites and the weather channel was available.

This year I have noticed something different going on in the sky. Twice, before these huge storm fronts came across the country the sky was blue with a few white puffy cumulus clouds. They weren't massive towering cumulonimbus clouds which is a normal site when a storm front is changing. And way up high I heard thunder. Even though I didn't feel a change in the weather, I felt something very unusual was going on. I couldn't make sense of it. It was especially odd because normally the wind travels from west to east and since we are so close to Lake Michigan, we may get some swirling wind but usually the currents of wind persist in an easterly direction. I didn't feel a change in temperature or humidity and there wasn't even much wind ahead of time. But that thunder real high in the sky, and the sun being out and no change in temperature caused me to pause and notice something was different. I didn't turn on the weather channel until I could see the wind blowing the branches to the trees in different directions. This swirling I've noticed before tornado weather.

For the second time I have noticed this same pattern of wind, without a drastic change in temperature first and heard intense thunder way far up in the sky when the sky was still blue.

Here are some YouTube links of the storm that was hitting Joplin, Missouri at the same time I was noticing a change here, in Illinois. This was just what it was like within 24 hours of the time another devastating tornado hit Alabama one month ago.

Joplin Tornado April 22, 2011 and 116 Killed

I heard a someone say on TV this morning that these tornadoes have flattened everything. Like it was a bomb, like Hiroshima. Of course, Hiroshima was worse much, much worse. The paragraph below will give you some facts to understand the perspective a survivor, family member of a survivor or student of history would have. But what the person was saying was that these storms are leaving absolute devastation in their path. And I still wonder if these storms have intensified because of the radiation that has been released into the atmosphere.

Hiroshima details: Within the first two to four months of the bombings, the acute effects killed 90,000–166,000 people in Hiroshima and 60,000–80,000 in Nagasaki,[1] with roughly half of the deaths in each city occurring on the first day. The Hiroshima prefectural health department estimates that, of the people who died on the day of the explosion, 60% died from flash or flame burns, 30% from falling debris and 10% from other causes. During the following months, large numbers died from the effect of burns, radiation sickness, and other injuries, compounded by illness. In a US estimate of the total immediate and short term cause of death, 15–20% died from radiation sickness, 20–30% from flash burns, and 50–60% from other injuries, compounded by illness.[5] In both cities, most of the dead were civilians.

I have seen cloud formations similar to these only they were incredibly geometric. I even wrote a poem about it because they reminded me of the scales of the belly of a mythic dragon. Moments later we were in the shelter and we could hear the tornado. It was ripping up apple trees out of the ground at a friend's house nearby.

Tonight the temperature has dropped. It is more than twenty degrees cooler than it was this weekend. And it is windy. We'll probably have a thunder storm tonight. I always know when the thunder is coming. My akita Coco nudges me with her nose and walks to my room and stops and waits for me to follow her. If the thunder is real strong she takes me to the basement.

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