The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
-Psalm 19:1

Do you know that God controls the clouds and makes his lightning flash?
-Job 37:15

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Tornado vs. Hurricane... and other adventures....

Mini-Dew arrived back from her field trip to downtown Atlanta, where their buses traveled through some of the tornado-stricken areas, and she was so eager to get her pictures back (film camera) to see how her pictures turned out. Unfortunately, she didn't realize that using a flash inside the bus was not the best idea, but she still got some great shots for me of some of the damage (pardon the glare). Thanks, Mini-Dew. Her photographs of the damage from the March 14, downtown Atlanta tornado show a good amount of roof damage and trees down. She said that as they were passing through, news crews were setting up.Now, onto other things... leaving Wally World this week, I noticed this very funny and sadly inaccurate magnet on some one's vehicle. I hope the pic will work... (darn, it won't... I took it with my camera phone in the dark, go figure). Oh wait, they had their URL on the magnet... conveniently enough... All I can say is that I hope they are better with martial arts than with weather knowledge... (for those who don't know... that is a tornado graphic, not a hurricane). Kind of like in the "Twister Sisters" TV show where they showed the hurricane graphic for the supercell location... While I am discussing that, maybe I should take this time to really tell you about the differences. This may be redundant for some of you, especially my CWG (Cool Weather Geek) friends, but bear with me, please. According to Wikipedia:

A hurricane (tropical cyclone)... is a storm system characterized by a low pressure center and numerous thunderstorms that produce strong winds and flooding rain. A tropical cyclone feeds on the heat released when moist air rises and the water vapor it contains condenses. They are fueled by a different heat mechanism than other cyclonic windstorms such as nor'easters, European windstorms, and polar lows, leading to their classification as "warm core" storm systems. While tropical cyclones can produce extremely powerful winds and torrential rain, they are also able to produce high waves and damaging storm surge. They develop over large bodies of warm water, and lose their strength if they move over land. Depending on their location and strength, tropical cyclones are referred to by other names, such as hurricane, typhoon, tropical storm, cyclonic storm, tropical depression and simply cyclone.
The above graphic is a satellite image of Hurricane Felix as a Category 5 hurricane just before landfall in Nicaragua, on September 4, 2007. Satellite imagery is the only way to effectively view a hurricane. They are MANY miles wide. They do not come in looking like anything... yes, you will see cloud movement, heavily sheared, in a large scale rotation (sort of a curved shear as convective bands turn around the eye of the storm), but they do not look anything like those really spectacular supercell shots that Mike Hollingshead took that have been circulating through email FALSELY as pictures of Hurricane Katrina... she didn't look anything like those shots, folks, impressive as they are, and they ARE AWESOME!
A tornado is a violently rotating column of air which is in contact with both a cumulonimbus cloud or, in rare cases, a cumulus cloud base and the surface of the earth. Tornadoes come in many sizes but are typically in the form of a visible condensation funnel, whose narrow end touches the earth and is often encircled by a cloud of debris. Most tornadoes have wind speeds between 40 mph (64 km/h) and 110 mph (177 km/h), are approximately 250 feet (75 m) across, and travel a few miles (several kilometers) before dissipating.
I don't personally (yet) have any pictures of tornadoes. I have only been chasing for two years at this point, and as of yet, have not seen a tornado personally (well, not since chasing), just some awesome shelf clouds, great storm structure, strongly rotating wall clouds and a few funnel clouds, but MANY of the storm chaser links to the right have some incredible photographs of tornadoes. Please check them out. Whew, I feel better now.

I feel inclined to share this story, though I know with my history (see Adventures in Lawn Mowing Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3 for more information), I am setting myself up for some ridicule and humiliation. It's just too funny not to share. I guess the picture tells most of the story, you might be a redneck if... your lawnmower currently sits in your driveway on BLOCKS!!! Well, onto the story. Unfortunately, it's that time again. I have had an enjoyable break from yard maintenance, but it was definitely time to hop back on Ol' Red, something about the grass being knee high, makes the neighbors a little testy... anyways, 'tis the season. So, I fire him up and hop aboard for yet another adventure in lawn mowing. Now, I would like to think that I have mastered this machine. I have figured out how to keep it from backfiring. I have figured out how to avoid most obstacles, even gotten a pretty good feel for the turning radius... evidently, not a good enough feel. I was trying to cut in close to the bushes to get the stuff underneath (trying to avoid weed eating, which I HATE!!!) Well, too close, a little too close, to the point where Ol' Red got stuck, so I had to back up, turn hard and kaploo-ey, the doggone tire just up and fell off the wheel. Apparently, my sharp turning allowed the air to escape from the tire (I can almost hear the air now, "Quick, escape while you have a chance!!! Dewdrop is MOWING AGAIN!!!!"... probably somehow in cahoots with Ol' Red... "We'll show that swing/toad/deer statue/horsefly killing woman who's boss!"...) So, with that, I am not able to complete the job. As a result, the beautiful purple weeds that have sprouted up in my yard will stick around for another day. sigh. At least, the weeds are pretty... lolHave a lovely day,


  1. I have had the tire come off the wheel of my mower many times in the past. It's no reflection on the driver! :>)

  2. Mike, you are so kind. Let's just ignore the whole bush incident... :O)

  3. Stunning tornado pics.Makes the storms here look very lame.

  4. Wow - Your killing me by posting cat 5 hurricane sat imagery. A little over 8 weeks until hurricane season and I’m already needing some treatment. Yeah I love when some of these TV docu’s use hurricane radar data loops for tornado segments. How hard is it to fine a hook-echo loop on radar these days. A little research ppl!

    Jen, the lawn mower pic has me on the floor! The pic says so much! Check out my Red Pony up on blocks!!! LOL

  5. Cool pictures Mini-Dew. You'll get the handle on that flash thing! Nice lawn story....pretty weeds. I laughed out loud when I saw the lawn mower picture...I knew what was coming before I even read it! That's why I have severe is my way of getting out of lawn work...and dusting. Allergies, while annoying, can prove to be useful in some situations.

  6. Babooshka, It's stunning to me to consider the amazingly destructive power potential of natural weather occurences. Tornadoes, tropical cyclones, floods, earthquakes, tsunamis, wildfires (not the arson type), hail, lightning, all are such fascinating events in nature with capacity for complete devastation... makes me very aware of the fact that I am NOT in control.

  7. Jeff, I thought you might appreciate that. Sorry to cause a flare up of your TCDS. lol. It seemed like an appropriate jpg to demonstrate my point. hee hee. It frustrates me to hear and see incorrect information being filtered through the media. If they would just ask someone who knows... it would be so much better than reinforcing ignorance.

    I thought the lawn mower story was worthy of a share. Laughter is great therapy!

    Annie, I will pass that along to Mini-Dew. Glad you liked the story about Ol' Red. Mowing the lawn isn't so bad. I was sneezing like crazy the whole time, but bf was kind enough to finish the yard for me in light of the circumstances. Such a sweetie.

  8. Dewdrop....I meant to say "thanks" to Mini-Dew for sharing these pics with your readers! She will be wanting a digital camera soon, if she's like mom!

  9. I will pass that along, Mike. Thanks. I would imagine that same idea... sheesh.


Dew comment, please...