I'm a kid at heart. When you had mom or dad tell you to get away from a snake or spider when you were little because they were scared it would bite you or even worse, bring it over to them? Yeah, that's me. I'm that way with thunderstorms. I love to watch the lightning, heard the cackling sound of thunder, the tapping of rain on the roof whether it was hard or soft; That smell of ozone and water hitting the ground warms my heart everytime I hear that a storm is in the forecast. When we hear that these storms can produce more than what we expect, we get a little anxious and scared for the inevidable. Usually they would start out as this:You better make sure you are far away from this type of supercell, but isn't it pretty?
and thisWall clouds are pretty cool when they form, but you know what can happen majority of the time when you see one of these.
A huge warm and cold draft meeting together within the atmosphere that created the electricity that hits me hard and warms every inch of me.Dark clouds of grey and white mix, creating thunderheads that flatten out, ready to unleash the amazing capability that Mother Nature has.
Retrojunkers, grab your cameras and umbrellas we go hunting for the perfect storm.Storm Fury This is from WISH-TV's radar, over my state.
Let me start off like this. When I was a kid, my mom, dad and I would sit on our front porch when we would see the dark clouds start to roll in from the west. My parents, especially my father, had a wierd fascination with storms. We always would have some way of telling when a storm would come in. My dad said it was because he went to the car wash; my mom's knees would start hurting. At that notion, I rush to go outside, unlocked the front door. With my popcicle in hand, dripping on my shirt and face, I waited anxiously rocking in the porch swing for the time that the storm would unleash the absolute awesomeness. The smell of ozone would fill the air and I would embrace it; closing my eyes and taking deep breaths of the fresh scent. The lightning would be patchy and I would count until I heard the first clap of thunder, dividing it by 5 to give me an idea of where the storm was. Ever since I can remember I'm always out on my porch listening to the storm, day or night.
Between April and June, the midwest goes through Tornado Season. With the temperatures starting to warm up, the cool air and warm air would have mix and dozens upon dozens of storms would happen in my area. You knew you were in for a great storm when the wind would stop, leaving an eery calm. I know this is photoshoped but still, isn't that freakin' awesome?!
When the storm did bring a lot more than expected, I did get scared. When I was 7, a thunderstorm came through and produced a tornado just about 5 miles from my town limits. I cried as any 7 year old would (sirens scared me) but...the tornado didn't touch down in my town. My dad then decided to grab me and drive toward the storm where the tornado would be. I remember my dad stopped the truck and I climbed on top of the cab and witnessed a extraordinary site; a funnel cloud. It wasn't this exact one, but it was pretty close
I don't remember anything else but that cloud that dipped down to a point and rotated so smoothly and gently; almost as if it was slow motion. Being only 7, I was captivated by the beauty of it. As we drove back I asked my dad if we could do this for a living, chasing tornadoes. He said no, of course, and said that it would take years of school. I really didn't care how long it would take; I wanted to be able to see an acutal tornado develop and see it die as it dissipates in the air. I wanted to feel that adrenaline rush, my temperature rise and me jumping up and down at the excitement of it all.
When we got home, I tried to gather as much information I could about thunderstorms and tornadoes. I rented Twister, (1996)
Night of the Twisters (1996) starring Devon Sawa that was always on the Family Channel on Thursday nights around 8:00pm,
Every documentary regarding tornadoes and thunderstorms from National Geographic, books, eye witness accounts, pictures, historical facts (Did you know that tornadoes spin counter-clockwise in the Northern Hemisphere and clockwise in the Southern Hemisphere?), and when I was old enough, websites and YouTube. Thunderstorms and tornadoes were a calling to me in a way; letting me know to be prepared for something that is rare to see at times. I would pay so much attention in science class when we would talk about hurricanes, tornadoes and the biology behind what and how a storm produces. I even had dreams about tornadoes; lifting me in the air and dancing inside the vortex. I also got interested in Reed Timmer, who is a storm chaser with TornadoVideos.net. Not only is he cute but he's had his share with some tornadoes. Now this is a bad-ass picture
One in particular was the May 1, 1999 F5 tornado that hit Oklahoma City, OK. At the time he was studying in college and chased it...maybe even a little too close. Luckily he's been able to shoot, capture, and document tornadoes of all sizes and shapes.
Along with seeing the beauty of these phenomenons, both storms and tornadoes, there's also the reality of knowing that this incarnation is also deadly. When you see these movies about cyclones and storms, it looks simple. I watched eye witness accounts of catching a tornado and you can feel the fear of it all. The tornado sounds like rushing wind when you are in a car going down the interstate.
An EF5 tornado with winds in the 315 MPH range leveled 95% of Greensburg, Kansas in 2007. There has even been other accounts like the Super Outbreak in 1974 and the Palm Sunday in 1969. They may be all pretty from several miles away but these things are so dangerous. Luckily, with advanced warning systems and with common knowledge of how to survive, almost everyone seekes shelter and is able to live through to tell the story and start over. Not only as tornadoes and storms help embrace my love for them but the passion to help people. I love telling everyone new things and some useless knowledge. Another attirbute I've gained is generousity; a key element with my personality; I'm willing to help whoever, whenever I can. If I can't help enough, I try hard enough to do my best. With chasing storms and tornadoes, I can be blown away (no-pun intended) by the significance of the storm to provide new information on tornadoes but be able to have a helping hand when a town or city is devestated. The top is before, bottom is after of Greensburg, KS.
It tears my heart up when I hear that a beautiful element on Earth is able to destroy something that everyone has put a part in to consider their haven. Of course, tornadoes are nothing to play with and you should always have a emergency plan with you if you are or not in the affecting areas.
As I did grow up and attaining this knowledge, I realized that the math included was almost too much for my brain so I had to put it on the back-burner but the idea of ever being a storm chaser never really left me. I still want to have the opertunity to catch a tornado and be able to chase it down. Everytime I get to see a dark storm front come through my city or town, I'm there at my computer and a window, or porch watching the front, updating the radar, listening to the National Weather Service Radio. I still sit on my front porch and listen to the storm as it trails into town from the west. I've had the sirens go off, wind gusts, hail, you name it.
Thunderstorms and tornadoes have always interested me and will for the rest of my life. Hopefully with the Navy and my ability to see different places, I will get my chance to see one particular storm that will take my breath away.
Now, dear retrojunkers, have storms frightened you or do they still? Do you have specific times where you witnessed a tornado or a super bad-ass storm? Do you know some knowledge about tornadoes that isn't known to much about? What did you want to do as a career when you were a child?
I've lead you down the road to Nostalgia, now it's your turn.