May 12, 2015

Weather Nerd

I spent the first fifteen years of my life mostly in Kansas, smack in the middle of Tornado Alley.  It is something you learn to live with, I suppose, and I wonder now, how we ever survived without constant news coverage of the threats.

Reflecting back, I would guess that we lost power much more frequently than today, during the storms that spawned tornadoes, making radio the media of choice - if we were so inclined to sit calmly by said radio and trust the voices coming out of it.  We were not.  My grandfather didn't always have the luxury of radio, and instilled in us the old-fashioned method of tornado warning systems, which is to stand outside and watch the sky.

I moved into my current home several years ago, in the month of March.  A few weeks later, as the Texas storm season heated up, I discovered the fatal flaw in our home purchase.  All those old-growth, towering oak trees that we thought we loved, block the view of the sky.  I have to cover an acre of front yard to get to the street where I get a narrow view of the western sky, where most of our tornadic activity originates.

Not cool.  I am not prone to panic, but if I can't see the sky when the clouds start to spin and drop out of the sky, how am I supposed to know when to take cover?

Just as I arrived home this past Sunday, the rotation started just above my neighborhood.  Fortunately for us, but not so much for others, the storm moved a couple of miles to the north before it dropped to the ground.  It was just a little EF-1, but the same line later produced a killer of a storm in Van, Texas.  Here it is moving through my neck of the woods:

My new toy for this storm season is a storm chasers app which shows a map-based view of where storm chasers are, and upon clicking on any active chaser, you get a streaming view of their dash cam video.  Many of them also have their audio feed running, so you can hear what they are thinking, and what they are seeing.  It has been great fun.  Except for when they are parked at a business a quarter-mile from your house.  Not fun to see your neighborhood on the dash cam of the tornado-intercept vehicle!

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