Tornadic activity.

May 23, 2008 at 9:02 am 2 comments

Welcome to Tornado Alley! Yesterday afternoon we had our first tornadic activity  that was close to us.  Not only was it close it was along a line we have travelled several times, as we have gotten to know the area.  You can watch a related video HERE.  The video starts with a commercial but quickly gets to the storm which built up in the Texas Panhandle and quickly moved in a northeast direction, just brushing past Sayre, but hitting full force in the town of Cheyenne, about 30 miles north of us.  Tornadic activity gets the TV stations here hopping like any kind of severe weather does in other areas. 

They have storm chasers, literally chasing after the storm, watching for circulation, funnel clouds, rapidly rotating wall clouds, wind shear, appendages coming down and other things that indicated tornados are forming.  They put helicopters in the sky and broadcast the activity pretty much non stop until the danger passes.  We heard them say as the storm moved on, one little town after another “people in Berlin, Cheyenne, Strong City… you need to go right now to your safe place, storm cellar or basement.  Move away from windows…” We have watched these broadcasts before but they were originating on the other side of the state so it wasn’t a big deal to us but these broadcasts were coming from an area just a few miles north of us. 

Tornadic activity has spawned a whole vocabulary of its own, like tornadic activityMeso cylcones, super cells, wall clouds, rain wrapped ( means the tornado is wrapped in rain and so dark you can’t see it spinning-very dangerous since you don’t know its there).  They say things like “could tornado at any time” and “surface winds don’t look right” and “that one looks more tightly wrapped”.  If you would like to know more about these violent storms just type “tornado” into your search engine and you will find plenty.  Here is a place to start.

We have a little weather radio that comes on automatically, and makes some ominous noises before telling us the National Weather Service has issued some type of warning for the fairly large area that we are in.  Sometimes it begins with a warning of severe thunderstorm activity, because these storms have the potential to spawn tornadoes.  Then comes a tornado watch, which means that tornadoes are possible followed by a tornado warning, which means there has been a tornado sighted and you need to get to shelter. 

These storms carry heavy rain and a variety of sizes of hail.  Sometimes they speak of the size using coins to show the diameter, dime, nickel, quarter.  Then it graduates to golf ball size, baseball and my favorite, grapefruit sizeThink of it, grapefruit size hail!  I guess there is even softball size. There actually was hail the size of grapefruit in the storm that came though yesterday.  Our trailer would be ripped to shreds by hail that size.  These storms also produce lightning that causes grass fires and there were wind speeds of over 125mph yesterday.  That combination of fire and wind isn’t a good thing.

As I understand it, this time of year the jet stream begins to push these violent storms farther to the north but, you they can spawn anytime, when it is hot and humid so we “outsiders” stay on alert while the “natives” watch the sky and go about their business.

We watch Jake the Dog pretty carefully so he doesn’t end up in the Land of OZ.

It’s a great time to visit, we can go chase a tornado!

 

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Kingdom.16 Called out ones. Camp of Champions.

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Jamie  |  May 27, 2008 at 10:00 pm

    Giving me flashbacks…Minnesota was notorious for tornados and we always joke that without fail, every June one touched down on my birthday and we would spend the rest of the afternoon/party in the basement debating whether or not to take a “whack” at the pinata. I have thankfully traded those tornado days for rain here 🙂

  • 2. Rachel  |  May 24, 2008 at 4:01 pm

    Thanks for all the good info! I’ll need to study up on my tornado lingo as we’ll be moving to tornado country in about 3 weeks! 🙂

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