Tag Archives: Tornado

How To Avoid Tornado Deaths

Dozens of people died in tornadoes in the US over the last couple of days, and most of those deaths were preventable. The truth is, most of those killed died because of a decision they made, so their death is to some extent their fault. But, for good reason, no one wants to blame the victim, so we see very little discussion about how a death spree like this happened over the weekend could have bee avoided. Also, almost every single feature of avoiding similar deaths in the future touches on a difficult political issue or points to a costly solution. Therefore, those involved and those reporting on the issue tend to avoid talking about the obvious. Finally, there is a small set of commonly used explanations, which are either totally incorrect or partly incorrect, that are easy for loved ones of the dead, reporters, local and state officials, and others to pull out of their nether regions. The main explanations are, of course, “God’s Will” and “Random Chance.”

Either way, someone’s gonna lose themselves a trailer, which brings us to the real reasons people die in tornadoes. They are:

Continue reading How To Avoid Tornado Deaths

And now we start with the tornadoes. Are you ready?

I went to Target to look at weather radios and found out that they don’t carry them. But the three Target employees that were gathered near the cameras and electronics with whom we inquired were interested to know why we were looking for one.

“You’re about the tenth person today who has asked about weather radios. What gives?”

Apparently they missed Minnesota’s National Tornado Appreciation Week, which was yesterday1. And, they had missed the news that we were expecting a bad year for tornadoes.
Continue reading And now we start with the tornadoes. Are you ready?

Ducks blowing in the wind

One day, about ten years ago, we were having a strong southerly fetch with small tornadoes popping out of the stormy front, so Julia and I were keeping an eye out the windows, watching wall clouds form and unform over our heads. Then, suddenly, there were these two ducks flying south, coming up over the houses across the street. They flew up into the air and beat their wings against the strong wind, not making any ground at all, and then finally, fell back out of our view. I’d seen these ducks before. By day they foraged to the north on the Metronics property, but roosted to the south, behind our house, on Rice Creek. Well, maybe not these exact ducks but the ducks in general that lived in these parts. So I didn’t think much of it.

But then, suddenly, the ducks appeared again in our view, rising above the rooftops from the back yards across the street, plowing into the wind, trying hard to drive forward with their wings beating, but making no ground whatsoever, but rather hovering in place with the strength and speed of the wind perfectly matching their flying effort. And, once again, they dropped out of sight.

This happened a total of about four or five times, then stopped, and Julia and I continued to marvel at the near-tornadoes forming constantly over head. Then we heard the quacking. Tired of flying nowhere, the ducks were now coming out of the neighbors yard on foot, they crossed the street on foot, passed by our house, and followed the lawn down to the play ground then into the treeline where they disappeared into the woods.

Which is better than I can say for these ducks:

Minnesotans: Help Wadena recover

You may recall me mentioning a tornado last year in Wadena.

“The town’s been flattened. I’m on my way there for a high school reunion. It looks more like it’s going to be a high school clean-up.”

If you are in the region, I just wanted you to know about a fund raiser to help get the people of Wadena back on their feet.

Months after a devastating tornado struck Wadena, a benefit will be held this weekend to help the still-recovering Minnesota town.

The Wadena Relief Benefit will be held Sunday from 4 to 7 p.m. at the Medina Entertainment Center in Medina.

Details here.

Too Many Tornadoes

.. and another repost apropos our recent tornado activity:


Marilee Thomas of Beaver City, Nebraska. And a tornado. [source]
Mid-Americans … Minnesotans, Texans, Nebraskans and denizens of Arkansas, and everyone in between, understand tornadoes, but to varying degrees. There are differences by region in how we deal with them. In Arkansas, I’ve seen foolish bravado. The tornado shelter there is known as the “fraidy hole” and having one or not in your back yard may be linked to one’s sense of machismo. People from Missouri that I have known have a deep respect for tornadoes. An example: A few years back there was a talk being given at The U when the tornado sirens went off. Looking out the windows all we could see was black punctuated by white dots (the hail hitting the window). That was not good at 3:00 in the afternoon. As the group sat there wondering what to do, my student, Lynne, stood up and said “I’m from Missouri. I’m going to the basement. You’all can stay here if you like.”

Continue reading Too Many Tornadoes

When is Tornado Season?

Apropos the recent tornadic activity here, a repost:

This story:

10 tornadoes confirmed in Ga., including one with winds topping 160 mph

Ten tornadoes, one packing winds of more than 160 mph, touched down in parts of Georgia on Wednesday, the National Weather Service said Friday.

The storms caused an estimated $25 million in insured losses, said John W. Oxendine, the state’s insurance commissioner.

“I spent some time surveying damage and talking to residents in Jasper, Putnam and Hancock Counties” on Friday, Oxendine said in statement. “I believe claims will easily reach $25 million. Actual losses are much higher when you consider things like infrastructure damage and uninsured losses.”

Reminds us that Tornado season is coming. Maybe it is already here in parts of the country, or maybe it is a bit early this year in the south. It is important to keep tornadoes in perspective. It would appear that for the last half century, the frequency of tornadoes in the US is rising, though this could be totally or in part because of increases in reporting. Warming climate should result in more tornadoes in areas where tornadoes already occur, or at least that is a reasonable assumption unless countervailing effects can be demonstrated.

So when is tornado season exactly?

Continue reading When is Tornado Season?

We have been hit with a fairly serious tornado.

UPDATE: Our sirens are back on, but I don’t see anything. But, down in Minneapolis, I’m seeing the damage to the Electric Fetus. Bricks stripped off the outside wall, and broken windows in front, so they are shut down. The Mayor stopped by a minute ago, apparently. I wonder if they’ll have a sale?????

(For those of you who do not know the Twin Cities … The Fetus is a music store of some local fame)

OMG, I’m looking at footage not far from Stephanie and Ben’s house, and there is quite a bit of street flooding. THIS COULD AFFECT BEN’S BEER!!!


UPDATE: Probably multiple smallish tornadoes struck in South and Downtown Minneapolis, and several other small to medium size tornadoes have been spotted over the region, with weather continuing to develop and in some cases worsten in the path of this storm, which runs from south of Rochester, north through Washington county, and then spreads across a broad fromt from nrothern Ramseyy County to the Wisconsin Border. A second storm system is moving along nicely in the western/central part of the state and seems to be of some concern.

Again, no major damage reported so far and no serious injuries, but a lot of freaked out people and numerous small injuries. The beautiful old trees of South Minneapolis really took it in the neck. So to speak.

Minneapolis has probably been hit with a real tornado (not just straight line winds). The tornao apparently was signted or felt between rt 94 and Lyndale, went north where it touched down between 38th St and 5th Avenue (upper left of the main area of damage) and Portland and 42nd ) lower right) of damage box).

I am getting tornado warnings here now as I write this, and there is a nasty looking radar signature coming through right now, though the wind has died down and the rain has slowed considerably (calm before the storm)?

.. ok, blogging from basement now ….

There are numerous reports of minor injuries, no reports of serious injuries, numerous reports of trees down, few reports of structural damage, and rescue parties are moving through the neighborhood looking for injured people and stuff.

If you are in the vicinity and have a downed power line, call: 1 800 895 1999.

Tornado Hits Ball Training Camp (updated)

UPDATE: Confirming that four Cowboys staff members were injured, the extent of the injuries not established. No players or coaches injured. A quick flyby shot of the facility shows a big white and very flat building.

The Irving Texas Cowboys training facility was hit with a tornado and collapsed. There is one injury reported, no fatalities, but there were several athletes (mainly rookies) and staff in the facility at the time. This has not been reported on any news agencies yet, but it was mentioned by a person being interviewed at the Kentucky Derby.