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 11, 2009

Saving for a rainy day

I was just pondering the things that storm chasers ponder when the nearest thing in sight is the slow approach of a very insignificant and mild cold front, which might introduce a little rain into area and likely drop our daytime temps from a ridiculous 83° to a more reasonable 73°... but only for a day... I was pondering saving money for a rainy day. As a storm chaser, I think that I have a different perspective on what to do with a rainy day from how many others might view them. Where some people are saving aside money for various indoor activities, I am pinching my pennies to go out into those rainy days (only those with a great deal of instability, lift and shear...) The slight risks, moderate risks, and the exceptionally rare high risks for severe weather issued by the Storm Prediction Center cause a stir in me. I want to see the fury... yet the destruction humbles me. As a storm chaser, I am fascinated by the science and (yes) the beauty of tornadoes, yet the still untamed seemingly randomness, how it can bounce here, missing some structures because it lifted just in time, destroying others, really horrifies me. This scene from "Twister" sort of touches on the fascination, though going overboard putting a much more complacent spin on the destruction... Haynes describes seeing an (at the time) F4 as "sweet". With tornadoes only being rated by the destruction that they cause, an F4/EF4 would not be "sweet" to me. Seeing an EF4 would cause me serious post traumatic stress. Yes, tornadoes are rated by what they "eat". They are an unavoidable threat to people and property. An EF5 is described as total destruction. They are not rated by their size or appearance but only by the damage and destruction left in their wake.

Joey: [Discussing at Meg's on the tornadoes they have seen so far] No, that was a good size twister. What was it, an F3?
Bill: Solid F2.
Melissa: See, now you have lost me again.
Bill: It's the Fujita scale. It measures a tornado's intensity by how much it eats.
Melissa: Eats?
Bill: Destroys.
Laurence: That one we encountered back there was a strong F2, possibly an F3.
Beltzer: Maybe we'll see some 4's.
Haynes: That would be sweet!
Bill: 4 is good. 4 will relocate your house very efficiently.
Melissa: Is there an F5?
[Everyone goes dead silent]
Melissa: What would that be like?
Jason 'Preacher' Rowe: The Finger of God.
Melissa: None of you has ever seen an F5?
Bill: ...Just one of us. [Indicating Jo]
Also in this part of the movie, they describe the rare and powerfully memorable and tragically devastating F5(EF5), the "Finger of God", which only one of the characters had experienced. Only 52 F5/EF5 tornadoes have been recorded since 1950. Incidentally, 7 of those F5's occurred on the same day, which happens to have an anniversary VERY near our wedding day. It wretches my heart to see the destruction, lives turned upside down, and the horribly tragic loss of life... which is why I have trained in Damage Assessment, why I have been active in the Disaster Services division of the American Red Cross, why I have trained as a Skywarn® spotter, why I have trained as a CERT team member, why I have learned CPR and will continue to learn as much as I can, because if I am out chasing and see something occur, my storm chasing hat will come off, and I will serve to the best of my ability.

As an aside, I did an analysis of Georgia tornadoes over history, and in recorded history, 61 tornadoes (in Georgia alone) have an anniversary within a week of our wedding date (first week of April), one being an F4 in the same county. If the set-up exists on our wedding day, we might have to have a safe ceremony indoors and then, grab the camera crew and go chasing. Wouldn't that be awesome... having a tornado in our wedding pictures?! It is, in fact, true that the largest tornado outbreak in history occurred April 3-4, 1974... with 148 tornadoes in 13 states, including the one F4 I mentioned above. Alabama Mike had warned me that we had chosen a particularly volatile weekend...

Have a fantastic day!


  1. What a potentially more than average exciting wedding day you have planned. :)

  2. It will be funny to watch on your wedding video the bride, groom and the whole wedding party sprint to the cars parked nearby. Highway numbers being yelled back and forth..LOLOL!! Love the thought!

  3. I can't imagine going to a wedding tornado instead of reception, Dewdrop. But hey! It's YOUR day. ;-)

  4. WOW, i love the clouds, it looks like it is soft and flows in the wind...

    thanks for sharing...

    Check out mine here; THANKS


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