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Surviving Tornadoes

michael posted more than 10 years ago | from the not-in-kansas-any-more dept.

Science 449

SharkJumper writes "We here in central Oklahoma, USA are just climbing out of the wreckage of another series of tornadoes. Unlike the tornadoes of May 3rd, 1999, which killed 47 and injured more than 800, we now have much better tornado information and prediction technology. Largely because of this, there have been far fewer injuries, and (as of this morning) no reported deaths. Here in the greater Oklahoma City area, we can even register our storm shelters with the city. After a severe storm, GIS technology is used to create a map for rescuers detailing location and type of the shelter as well as emergency contact information. Rescuers can then use these maps to search for survivors that may be trapped by debris in their shelters."

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449 comments

I LOVE YOU GUYS (-1)

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Tip #1 (4, Funny)

SpanishInquisition (127269) | more than 10 years ago | (#5920108)

Being a big fat ass can actually increase your chances of survival.

Re:Tip #1 (5, Interesting)

robslimo (587196) | more than 10 years ago | (#5920245)

I suppose. But being a wide-load also makes you a bigger target for flying debris.

I live in Stillwater, OK and was watching the news very closely yesterday afternoon/evening just to make sure those twister weren't headed my way.

Sure, the early warning systems are better, but the main improvements are:

(1) Modern variants of doppler radar (and software for it) that can better identify wind velocities in terms of rotation and likelihood of funnel formation. However, the radar can rarely (if ever?) tell for certain if a rotation in a storm is actually a tornado or if it is on the ground.

(2) Communication. The National Weather service and the Severe Storm labs in Norman work closely with radio and TV to get the info out about severe weather. But too often, they know to report actual tornados only after an eyewitness has called to report one on the ground.

The one thing they do know fairly well is the conditions that could lead to tornado formation. But the presence of those conditions (as we can sense/interpret them now) does not tell us that there *will* be a twister or *where*.

Tip #3 (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#5920340)

Don't piss off Allah by bombing the fuck out of his poeple you godless American pigs!

Best way to survive tornadoes (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#5920109)

Don't live where they happen.

Re:Best way to survive tornadoes (2, Interesting)

Networkink*Man (468175) | more than 10 years ago | (#5920129)

The best way to survive is not to be stupid.

1) Know your surroundings
2) If the sky is green, there's a problem.
3) Have a plan
4) Practice the plan
5) Hang on for dear life

Re:Best way to survive tornadoes (1)

chef_raekwon (411401) | more than 10 years ago | (#5920221)

The best way to survive is not to be stupid.

5) Hang on for dear life

there is irony here, somewhere....

I'll never forget the tornado skies (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#5920372)

I went through many in my life back in Michigan. Most just travelled overhead without touching down, but still.

I'll never forget the green and purple "bruised" skies that tornadoes produce.

Re:Best way to survive tornadoes (2, Insightful)

Peyna (14792) | more than 10 years ago | (#5920379)

Tornados can come out of nowhere in a matter of minutes; I take it you've never lived somewhere they happen regularly, eh?

The only good thing about where tornados tend to occur is that population is relatively sparse; so a few farm houses get hit or small communities, but rarely a big city. If you're out in the middle of nowhere, asleep, and you're too far from a siren to have any kind of advance warning, what will your plan be then?

Re:Best way to survive tornadoes (4, Funny)

The_K4 (627653) | more than 10 years ago | (#5920402)

If the sky is green, there's a problem

What about is a cow or two go flying by?
"Actualy I think that was the same cow." :)

Re:Best way to survive tornadoes (4, Insightful)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | more than 10 years ago | (#5920198)

Don't live where they happen.

And move to where?

West coast? quakes, fires, mudslides, volcanoes
East coast? Hurricanes
South? Hurricanes
Northeast? Blizzards

Everywhere has stupid weather. Just stupid in different ways.

No, the best way to survive a tornado is not to live in a trailer park/tornado-hurricane magnet.

Re:Best way to survive tornadoes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#5920334)

Try the southwest. I'm talking new mexico and arizona here. The only thing we have is droughts -- and all that means is that you can't water your lawn.

I've lived in northwestern new mexico and central new mexico. I've never heard of any crazy natural disaster in any area here. We do have some flash floods, but those really only catch rural areas and are very rare. Not to mention, they're not really floods. Its like a flood for the desert and lasts 10 minutes -- pretty weak all in all.

Re:Best way to survive tornadoes (2, Insightful)

dackroyd (468778) | more than 10 years ago | (#5920341)

And move to where?
England has weather that's quite unlikely to kill you.

Unless of course you find a winter season that lasts from September to June a bit too depressing and kill yourself.

Re:Best way to survive tornadoes (1)

digitalsushi (137809) | more than 10 years ago | (#5920391)

West coast? quakes, fires, mudslides, volcanoes
East coast? Hurricanes
South? Hurricanes
Northeast? Blizzards


Up here in NH, we just go inside during blizzards.

Re:Best way to survive tornadoes (3, Funny)

pixelpusher220 (529617) | more than 10 years ago | (#5920400)

Blizzard Survival 101

1. Have food already bought
2. Have wood already cut for heat
3. Have a steep enough roof to naturally dump off snow.
4. ...
5. Profit!

Re:Best way to survive tornadoes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#5920229)

No, that would be the best way to _avoid_ tornadoes. Surviving tornadoes implies that you actually experience one.

Dumbass

Re:Best way to survive tornadoes (0, Troll)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 10 years ago | (#5920233)

Honestly, this is the best advice here, by far. If you live someplace where storms come by frequently and kill people, why the hell would you want to stay there? Even worse, these storms occur in the middle of the midwest, where the culture sucks and there's nothing to do, so it's not like there's any good reason to stay.

I got tired of snow storms, ice storms, hurricanes, and all that crap when I lived on the east coast, so I moved to the southwest where there simply is no bad weather (other than being a little hot). No earthquakes, no tornados, no hurricanes, no blizzards; simply very few serious weather conditions to worry about. And with all the retired people moving to this part of the country every year (my county is one of the fastest-growing in the country), I'm not the only one that thinks this way.

Re:Best way to survive tornadoes (1)

peculiarmethod (301094) | more than 10 years ago | (#5920370)

well thats a fine idea.. let's just leave 5 or 6 states worth of the most fertile soil and large biodiversity uninhabited because the wind picks up a little every year.. okay.. 120 mph 20 times a spring. i grew up in Oklahoma City, lived in texas, louisianna, and now california. Oklahoma has lots of things to offer.. oil.. fossil records that would blow your mind.. mega renewable resources and the space to up production of those if necessary.. not to mention the PEOPLE that live there. Are you going to relocate them? Where exactly?

Do you know how big tornado alley is? hint.. it's caused by a mixing of the cool winds from a certain moutain range, and a certain body of water on the south. alllll the land between is at risk.

great idea.

lets get to it

pm

Re:Best way to survive tornadoes (1)

peculiarmethod (301094) | more than 10 years ago | (#5920399)

Whoops. I was a bad fast boy on preview. Those would be WARM winds from that certain body VERY near texas. ahem

Re:Best way to survive tornadoes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#5920442)

Tornadoes are scary as hell, but they are also one of nature's most interesting weather patterns. Getting caught in one is a nightmare, but people still chase them all the time! Why run from what you don't understand/fear? Learn about it, and enjoy the view! :)

Earth... (2, Interesting)

Nick Driver (238034) | more than 10 years ago | (#5920238)

You mean move to another planet???

Seriously, tornadoes can occur *anywhere* where a _thunderstorm_ can develop. That's pretty much most of Earth's surface between the Arctic and Antarctic circle latitudes. Of course there are unique areas within these zones where thunderstorms are rare like extremely high mountain tops, etc, that interfere with thunderstorms.

Of course you can also build a city under the sea to escape them.

We don't have it here. And we're a quite big... (2, Interesting)

adilsonoliveira (597940) | more than 10 years ago | (#5920378)

This place is Brazil. We don't have tornados, hurricanes, earthquakes, blizards are *very* rare, floodings happens sometimes in some places but are quite rare too and not too severe and mostly due to abnormal wheater fenomena as the "El Niño". I'm not 100% sure but I believe our surrounding countries have the same lack of wheather disasters. This makes me ask myself sometimes why people lives in such places, have to been aware of tornados, for instance. Don't get me wrong, I understand what is been attached to where you were born but it's a life threat of huge proportions we're talking about.

Problem: Tornadoes happen everywhere! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#5920329)

Tornadoes are not a "midwest phenomenon". They can and do occur in every state in the U.S.

But props for trying to be funny.

Re:Problem: Tornadoes happen everywhere! (1)

snatchitup (466222) | more than 10 years ago | (#5920363)

Yeah, but only in the U.S. They don't happen in other countries you capitalist pig!

Actaully, I've never heard of them in:
Alaska, Hawaii, Washington State, California, Utah, Puerto Rico, Guam, Rhode Island, Maine, Vermont...

Re:Problem: Tornadoes happen everywhere! (1)

friedmud (512466) | more than 10 years ago | (#5920452)

Actually this isnt true - I saw just the other day some numbers about the number of tornados that happen in England - somewhere around 150 a year (which isnt too many but it is more than 0).

Personally it is not a big deal. I live in SouthWest Missouri and I had a tornado skip over my apartment earlier this week and crash through a church.

Sure it was tramadic - but it doesn't happen that often (I have lived here for 16 years and that's the first time I've ever been within 15 miles of one).

No reason to move (like some other people are suggesting). You just help out your neighbors that got hit and keep on living your life.

Derek

Where is President-Vice Cheney? +1, Patriotic (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#5920345)



For more information about Dr. Evil's No. 1 Son [whitehouse.org] read this [guardian.co.uk]

Cheers,
W00t

funny you mention that (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#5920389)

We think the same things about flood plains and earthquake zones, both of which cost the united states and insurance companies FAR more than tornados. There is a tornado season, but floods happen along the mississippi every year, and earthquakes cost billions everytime they occur.

Seems sorta careless (4, Insightful)

aridhol (112307) | more than 10 years ago | (#5920117)

So we have an emergency resource, posted to Slashdot when it's most required. Genious.

Re:Seems sorta careless (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#5920172)

Genious

no comment.

Tornados raze KKKanas City, home of the AV3. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#5920135)

Tornados [centredaily.com] raze [cjonline.com] KKKansas [morningsun.net] City [kansascity.com]. As we all know, KKKansas City is where the three members of the Anti-Vlad Triad live. Coincidence? I think not. Let me tell you what really happened.

A vengeful God (YHWH) is finally punishing those who would persecute Scott Lockwood, one of His loyal servants. William Scott Lockwood III is a pious and faithful devotee of the One and Only True Church [vatican.va], and thus has the protection of YHWH shielding him from harm. As YHWH's son once said, "what you have done to the least of men, so you have done to me." A hateful anti-Christian group of extremist atheist terrorists known as "The Anti-Vlad Triad" (AV3) have been for years persecuting "the least of men" (William Scott Lockwood III), and in doing so they have persecuted, attacked, and insulted the One and Only True God, YHWH.

As a consequence, YHWH's patience reached the breaking point. This weekend, YHWH reached down with His divine hand and stirred the atmosphere, creating tornado-force winds that rained down apocolypical destruction upon the homes of the AV3. Earthquakes shook the ground and brimstone rained from the heavens. But mainly it was tornados. The AV3 evildoers cowered in fear as their dark little world came crashing down around them.

None of the members of the AV3 have been found alive after the smoke cleared in the wake of YHWH's Divine Wrath. Their lifeless bodies are presumed to be rotting beneath the smoldering remains of their shattered homes, and their black souls are, as we speak, being flayed and tortured in Hell for all eternity. Yes, forevar and EVAR!!!!11!1!!!1!1!

Shortly before burning hail brought his ceiling crashing down on him, Triad member Haas Markowitz was quoted as saying "FUCK!!!" Another now-missing Triad member, Theodore Devon, was busy with an anal orgy and was blistfully ignorant of his impending doom and thus could not be reched for comment.

Let this be a warning for anyone who would fuck with William Scott Lockwood III, servant of YHWH, the One and Only True God.

For all intents and purposes, the AV3 are dead.

Re:Tornados raze KKKanas City, home of the AV3. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#5920173)

None of the members of the AV3 have been found alive after the smoke cleared in the wake of YHWH's Divine Wrath. Their lifeless bodies are presumed to be rotting beneath the smoldering remains of their shattered homes, and their black souls are, as we speak, being flayed and tortured in Hell for all eternity. Yes, forevar and EVAR!!!!11!1!!!1!1!


and all the other people just got in "gods" way right? nice god :)

What are you doing? (2, Funny)

FortKnox (169099) | more than 10 years ago | (#5920139)

We here in central Oklahoma, USA are just climbing out of the wreckage of another series of tornadoes.

Ok, you just climbed out of tornado wreckage (which is nothing to laugh about, I've been through a couple when I lived in Indiana), but the first thing that comes to your mind is dude, I bet we can submit this to /. and they'll post it!

Seriously, though, its cool that technology can help when mother nature is being a muthah...

Re:What are you doing? (2, Interesting)

robslimo (587196) | more than 10 years ago | (#5920350)

That's right, pick on us Okies when we spin a little figure of speech.

What I take exception to is this phrase:
Unlike the tornadoes of May 3rd, 1999, which killed 47 and injured more than 800, we now have much better tornado information and prediction technology.

Perhaps the fact that '99s tornado was an F5 and this one was a F2 to low F3 has a little to do with the difference in damage/causualties?

Sadly... (5, Funny)

American AC in Paris (230456) | more than 10 years ago | (#5920144)

Despite all our advances in tornado detection, storm shelter technology, and early warning systems, the fact remains that tornadoes still really suck.

*ducks*

Re:Sadly... (1)

zulux (112259) | more than 10 years ago | (#5920236)

the fact remains that tornadoes still really suck.

Actually, Microsoft Tornado 2003 - with ActiMate Barney Technology is the first Microsoft product that doesen't suck.

It blows.

Re:Sadly... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#5920267)

Will you be here all night?

Even more sadly... (1)

jolshefsky (560014) | more than 10 years ago | (#5920426)

Yeah, this whole big tornado season reminds me of that movie ... Playing God. That sucked too.

Tornados, bombs, Land slides, earthquacks (2, Interesting)

mgrennan (2067) | more than 10 years ago | (#5920153)

Just ejoy where you live. If you feer about these things move. I live in OKC. I've helped dig people out. But I still wouldn't move.

Tornado Alley. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#5920265)

As someone who survived the "Terrible Tuesday" tornado of 1979 in Wichita Falls, TX, my heart and prayers go out to my neighbors north of the Red River.

Re:Tornados, bombs, Land slides, earthquacks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#5920285)

But I still wouldn't move.

how do you secure your trailer to the ground? with adamantium?

with Redneck Adamantium (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#5920438)

His 600 pound mulleted mother-in-law. Well 630 pounds because of that mainsail she calls a muu-muu.

Most heard phrase at his 'house': I wash myself with a rag on a stick.
or
Get me my reachin' broom!

Least heard phrase: No officer, that's my jag. My wife has the other one.

Fun time at his place involves a .223 hunting rifle, a keg and a stopsign.

Bathtime consists of the river floodin.

Crazy Winds~ (1)

L0stb0Y (108220) | more than 10 years ago | (#5920159)

I've always wanted to see a cow fly by like in Twister...

Ok, seriously, I know that they always tell you to get in a doorway, or bathtub, supposedly because it is a 'more sound structure'~ I would think you wouldn't want to be near porcelain at a time like that...

And not living in an area like that, how often do people build their own 'shelter' as opposed to a central/public one?

Re:Crazy Winds~ (5, Insightful)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 10 years ago | (#5920189)

We had Tornado shelters in South Dakota.

Storm cellers, basements, crawl spaces. It's all good.

Bathtubs are good not because of the material, but because it's one piece, they usually survive and it's a place you can get down and cover your vital organs and noggin while having some side protection.

Tubs usually were cast iron with a porcelain coating over them, now they are usually fiberglass.

Re:Crazy Winds~ (5, Funny)

itchyfidget (581616) | more than 10 years ago | (#5920197)

I would think you wouldn't want to be near porcelain at a time like that...

I'd be wishing I was near porcelain, since the alternatives involve begging rescue-workers for a clean pair of pants...

Re:Crazy Winds~ (1)

ksheff (2406) | more than 10 years ago | (#5920217)

Given that people may not have a lot of warning, it would be advisable to have your own shelter. The time it takes to go outside and travel to a central shelter may not be available. Doing so may get you hurt.

Re:Crazy Winds~ (1)

jridley (9305) | more than 10 years ago | (#5920392)

I would think you wouldn't want to be near porcelain at a time like that

What porcelain? The toilet? Bathtubs have historically been made of iron, with a porcelain or enamel cover. Nowadays most are made from fiberglass.

Bathtubs, particularly old standalones, are seriously heavy, and due to the shape of the clawfoot variety, resist the wind picking them up.

Every paranoid should have a clawfoot tub in their house. besides tornado protection, they make a pretty good bullet shield if the black helicopter guys start to riddle your house with automatic weapons fire :-)

Re:Crazy Winds~ (1)

robslimo (587196) | more than 10 years ago | (#5920422)

I don't know why, but the home builders in Oklahoma just don't put in a storm shelter unless you specifically ask for it (and pay extra, of course). I heard one builder say that the red clay soil of OK doesn't place nice with basements, but I think that's a cop-out.

In Kansas, it seems like most homes have a basement; that's just how they build them.

wtf, is Dan Quayle posting to /.? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#5920160)

You say potatoe, I potato!

You tornadoe, I tornado!

I like bad weather (4, Interesting)

paRcat (50146) | more than 10 years ago | (#5920163)

It's wierd... I grew up in Tulsa, and I moved to NYC when I was 19. I'm now back in the Tulsa area. Why? I missed the storms. Granted, I've made sure that the areas I live in have been geographically pre-disposed to not having tornadoes, and I don't like the idea of people being hurt... but being in a shelter as an enormous supercell passes overhead is a bit of a rush.

go fig.

Childhood memories (1)

moldar (536869) | more than 10 years ago | (#5920218)

Funny, I also have similar inclinations. Some of the most vivid memories that I have as a child include huddling up with my family in a hallway in our house. My dad had pulled matresses off of our beds and placed them as a temporary shelter in the hall. During one such storm a large tree (big enough that kids climbed in it) was uprooted from a neighbors backyard. It was fun at the time. Oddly I miss that kind of experience.

Re:Childhood memories (1)

paRcat (50146) | more than 10 years ago | (#5920307)

When I was 15 we lost 7 trees within 15 minutes. The *estimated* 100 mph winds in our area. One of the trees was a 118 year-old wild cherry. I'm sure we wouldn't have been as happy if it hit our house, but it didn't... so all was well.

There's a fine line between cool and tragic.

Re:I like bad weather (1)

Quikah (14419) | more than 10 years ago | (#5920308)

I know what you mean. I grew up in suburban chicago, while storms aren't that bad there, there is nothing like a good thunderstorm. I miss that living in LA, where I don't think I have ever even heard thunder. :( I miss the snow too. Man I gotta get out of LA.

Registration is just the first step (3, Funny)

JUSTONEMORELATTE (584508) | more than 10 years ago | (#5920190)

Oh sure, it seems harmless now -- "Just register your shelter with the government, and we'll help you out later!"
But the next thing you know, Big Brother has these lists of shelters! It only makes it easier when they need to confiscate them later!!
I tell you what, you can have my unregistered shelter when you pry it from my cold, dead hands!

--

Re:Registration is just the first step (2, Funny)

TopShelf (92521) | more than 10 years ago | (#5920290)

And you know, once the government confiscates those legally registered shelters, only the criminals will have them...

we need to develope construction techniques (0, Redundant)

the_2nd_coming (444906) | more than 10 years ago | (#5920193)

and technologies so that people who live in tornado alley do not lose their home or their life.

Not inteded to be a callus question (1, Insightful)

gsfprez (27403) | more than 10 years ago | (#5920195)

but, seriously... I have often wondered.

Why do people live in places like this when they get hit _every year_ by tornados? I mean, holy crap - what kind of stress must it be to know that, next year, come May, you or someone near you has almost a 100% chance of having their new house flattened ... again... next may. Hell, maybe in two months?

I live in CO - we have snowstorms, but you either shovel, or wait for the snow to melt, and that's that.

What is it that draws you people to live there, why do you not move from such an obviously inhospitible place to live, and why do you insist on FEMA paying your (collective Kansas and Oklahoma) asses money to rebuild your houses in the same Goddamned spot so the next Chet-chasing twister can blow you to hell all over again?

Okay, that started sounding callus toward the end, sorry.

I serously don't get why people live there, and why they expect taxpayers to buy them new trailers every few years. Its silly, and its insane, and its expensive for everyone.

Re:Not inteded to be a callus question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#5920239)

For the same reason people use MS Windows: They just don't know any better...

Why do people live there? They have to! (2, Insightful)

itchyfidget (581616) | more than 10 years ago | (#5920302)

What is it that draws you people to live there, why do you not move from such an obviously inhospitible place to live

There was a documentary about Tornado Alley [tornadochaser.net] on Channel 5 [channel5.co.uk] last week, which showed horrific devastation from past tornadoes that seemed mainly to hit trailer-parks and cheap housing in places like Oklahoma.

I infer from this that many/most people who live in those areas of the US are not able to move elsewhere, because they are simply too poor to do so.

(not a Troll, by the way, I'm sure there are plenty of affluent people in OK too - but the rural community really isn't well-off, as I understand it)

Why do people live there? We choose to!!! (1)

Starrider (73590) | more than 10 years ago | (#5920369)

Oklahoma is a beautiful place to live...and it is far more likely you will die from a bolt of lightening than from a torando. The odds of being hit by a tornado are small, especially when you consider the wide scale devestation of an earthquake in californnia.

These past few weeks we have seen a lot of tornados, but it really is the exception and not the rule to see lots of homes destroyed in the scale we have seen lately.

I would rather live with tornados than earthquakes, but that is just me. I love it here; I have lived here all my life. Sure, it isn't perfect, but it's home.

Re:Not inteded to be a callus question (0)

nemoest (69043) | more than 10 years ago | (#5920318)

Maybe because we don't like forest fires [cnn.com].

Seriously, the twisters don't come every year, Moore just happened to get hit twice within a 4 year period. Lets not forget that the May 3rd tornado was the first F5 rated tornado to EVER hit the OKC area [weather.com].

Why do people move near the Mississippi river? It seems to flood all the damn time? Why do people live in Flordia? They get hit with hurricaines and probably cost us a lot more to replace than a trailer park.

There isn't a safe place to live, period. You are just fooling yourself if you think that snow is harmless [thedenverchannel.com].

The chances of being hit by a tornado are small (3, Interesting)

Starrider (73590) | more than 10 years ago | (#5920323)

What is it that draws you people to live there, why do you not move from such an obviously inhospitible place to live, and why do you insist on FEMA paying your (collective Kansas and Oklahoma) asses money to rebuild your houses in the same Goddamned spot so the next Chet-chasing twister can blow you to hell all over again?

I live in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and I don't think you realize the very very small likelyhood of being hit by a tornado. While tornados themselves are not rare, it is not everyday that they hit populated areas. It only seems that way because of the last few weeks.

You say it is inhospitable? What about California? Earthquakes hit on a massive scale and destroy HUGE areas. A tornado, while devestatingly powerful, does not destroy hundreds of square miles like an earthquake will.

Also, being hit by a tornado TWICE is really against the odds. You really are far more likely to be struck by lightening than to be hit by a tornado.

Re:Not inteded to be a callus question (3, Insightful)

tuffy (10202) | more than 10 years ago | (#5920331)

Why do people live in places like this when they get hit _every year_ by tornados? I mean, holy crap - what kind of stress must it be to know that, next year, come May, you or someone near you has almost a 100% chance of having their new house flattened ... again... next may. Hell, maybe in two months?

Really now. In spite of nasty natural phenomena, people continue to build homes in California and Florida without a second thought. By comparison to the widespread damage caused by earthquakes and hurricanes, tornadoes tend to be localized affairs that are much more likely to happen to somebody else. For most people, the dangers are (pardon the pun) overblown.

Re:Not inteded to be a callus question (2, Informative)

veddermatic (143964) | more than 10 years ago | (#5920332)

First: I live in the NE (upstate NY) as much as I bitch about the cold, the snow, and shoveling my damn driveway, everytime I see something like this (or a hurricane, or an earthquake, or a tidle wave, or flooding) I thank my lucky stars I am where I am.

That said....

People live where they do for many reasons. Number one is economic. *something* drew enough people to the area (this is "any" area", not jsut tonado alley) for it to be "profitable" to live there... either a scarce resource (like gold, which drew folks to eathquake ridden cali) or an environment... the flood ridden mississipi (-sp?) delta is sure as hell prone to floods.. but that's how it got it's amazing soil, which is why farming there is "worth" the risks.

Once a sufficient population has developed in said areas, willing to take those risks, then another population grows to support them... those running the stores, restaraunts.. etc.

Then a strange thing happens.. a "community" forms.. and people have family ties, etc. to the area. This makes it hard to leave. How many times have you packed up an moved to a new part of the country? It's not easy. Esp with [insert rant about GW here] today's economy. It COSTS to move.. both financially and personally.

Do yourself a favor, and trace every product you buy, and where it came from. If *none* of them come from areas that have natural disaters "regularly" then bitch and moan. Until then, pay your taxes and pray for the folks who's lives are ruined by this and other events.

Re:Not inteded to be a callus question (1)

jonfelder (669529) | more than 10 years ago | (#5920359)

Gee...I guess people shouldn't live where there are hurricanes, or earthquakes, or flooding, or blizzards, or wildfires [nwcg.gov].

Time to start colonizing the moon I suppose.

Re:Not inteded to be a callus question (1)

veddermatic (143964) | more than 10 years ago | (#5920375)

Hey, I live in "blizzard alley" and blizzards never killed anyo...

Oh, um. Yeha.

Well then, have a nice day.

Re:Not inteded to be a callus question (1)

afidel (530433) | more than 10 years ago | (#5920364)

Because no one community gets routinly hit. I mean the chances of dying from a tornado or hurricane or an earthquake are probably pretty similar if you throw out trailer parks. Also the main reason they live there is so you can have cereal in the morning and bread for you sandwidch at lunch etc. Basically Kansas and Oklahomo are part of the breadbasket of America (and partially some other countries considering how much grain we export). The expense to the taxpayers isn't any greater than that for people who live in 20 year floodplains, earthquake prone areas, hurricane prone areas, etc. FEMA is necessary because insurance companies have the act of god clauses in their policies and losing you house really is an unrecoverable catasrophy.

Act of God clauses protect you (1)

Starrider (73590) | more than 10 years ago | (#5920406)

The "Act of God" clauses in insurance are why you have insurance. The insurance covers you in case of "acts of God". If I'm hit by a tornado, my insurance will pay for everything.

I think you are confusing what "act of God" clauses are. Federal aid is for those who do NOT have insurance and are hit by a natural disaster.

Re:Not inteded to be a callus question (1)

TMLink (177732) | more than 10 years ago | (#5920396)

Well, let's go the whole nine yards then. Atlantic coast should be abandonded because of hurricanes (which do a ton more damage than a tornado could dream about), California and other areas with the potential for earthquakes, and then every low-lying area in the nation that could potentially be flooded. Also anyplace that could get a major ice storm, hail damage, wind strong enough to blow trees over...hmmm, what am I forgetting?

Re:Not inteded to be a callus question (1)

feed_those_kitties (606289) | more than 10 years ago | (#5920398)

Snowstorms can cover huge areas, perhaps thousands of square miles. The average tornado might have a destruction path less than 500 yards wide by 2 miles long. Yes, some of the 'monster' storms can be a mile wide, but 'tornado alley' is tens of thousands of square miles.

No place has "almost a 100% chance" of being hit by a twister every year. If there was such a place, no one would be living there!

Technology is helping to save people's lives by giving them a few more minutes of warning, and by helping to find people who were smart enough to take cover.

!Sig

need more coffee (0)

ilsie (227381) | more than 10 years ago | (#5920208)

Am I the only one who read this as "Surviving Tomatos?

Re:need more coffee (1, Flamebait)

snatchitup (466222) | more than 10 years ago | (#5920413)

Wasn't it Bejamin Franklin who discovered that tomatos are edible, at th same time, throwing at the Dixie Chix?

Re:need more coffee (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#5920448)

yes

MAYBE YOU SHOULDNT LIVE IN A SHITPIT LIKE OKLAHOMA (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#5920211)

Or america for that matter

Get a Monolithic Dome... (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#5920224)

These things [monolithicdome.com] can survive just about anything short of a direct hit with a nuke.

You know... (0, Troll)

Evil Adrian (253301) | more than 10 years ago | (#5920234)

You know, millions of dollars and thousands of lives could be saved if you Okies just, you know, moved somewhere that wasn't right in the middle of tornado alley...

Just a thought. :-)

the 1999 Tornado killed because it was so huge (5, Interesting)

Starrider (73590) | more than 10 years ago | (#5920268)

The 1999 tornado in Moore Oklahoma killed so many not because there wasn't enough warning, but because it was the most powerful tornado every recorded. It was listed as an F5, the nastiest class of tornado, but many meterologists say that the F5 classification doesn't fit, because the 1999 tornado was off the scale.

That tornado was so powerful it removed the foundation of the homes and left barren earth. Unless you had a dedicated storm shelter underground, you were at risk.

I'm from Tulsa, Oklahoma, and I saw the devestation too. There was plenty of warning about this tornado, but when they are this nasty, this powerful, this devestating, sometimes there isn't anything anyone can do.

That same storm cell went up I-44 and hit Tulsa a few hours later. The tornados by then were not nearly as powerful, but that was the first time in my life I was actually scared of a tornado. I was 21 at the time, have lived in Oklahoma all my life, but when they show a street level map of you neighborhood and show the path of the tornado coming right at you, it is unnerving to say the least. (Especially after seeing what this storm cell did to the poor folks in Moore.)

Our home did not get hit, as the tornado hit the Arkansas River and went back up into the wall cloud. It touched down again across town.

Here, tornados are a fact of life. Most people who live in "Tornado Alley" accept this, and just pray it never hits them. My heart goes out to those who have suffered losses from this tornado.

the first step to taking our shelters away (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#5920274)

You realize that government registration of shelters is just the first step to taking our tornado shelters away. And then we'll be totally dependent on our government for our own personal safety.

You can have my tornado shelter when you pry it from my cold, dead hands.

SKYWARN and amateur radio (3, Informative)

KD7JZ (161218) | more than 10 years ago | (#5920278)

A program that has helped (even in the network age) to speed warnings is SKYWARN [skywarn.org]. SKYWARN is an adjunct program of the National Weather Service that trains spotters to deliver real time, on the ground, info to the NWS.

Testbed for weather radar in Norman, OK (3, Interesting)

landtuna (18187) | more than 10 years ago | (#5920330)

Sorry for the blatant plug, but my company's working right now with the University of Oklahoma on new radar technology that should double the warning time for severe storms.


You can see some pictures and read about the new radar here [noaa.gov].


The current radar technology used for all weather forcasting (NEXRAD) is really pretty old. By using a phased array, the scan times are much quicker than the old spinning dish style.


We hope to get this thing operational really soon. Off the above site, there's a webcam where you can see the progress of its construction.

You can use high-voltage powerlines (0)

MickLinux (579158) | more than 10 years ago | (#5920338)

IANAM, but...

I came from the Hampton Roads area, an area well known for tornados, and one observation I made was that high-voltage (10kV) powerlines act as tornado fences.

That is the observation. Here is what I believe is a related fact:

The wind power of the tornado is approximately equal to the electrical power that has been measured flowing through the tornado. That is, in Kansas approximately 1.2 Amps was measured flowing through a huge voltage (millions of volts), from ground to sky.

Another related fact: the air ionizing during lightning results in a cracking sound--but no boom. That boom is a capacitor discharging: Ground - cloud, just like your monitor before it goes bad. It is the clouds literally bouncing up and down after the discharge and released pressure on the dielectric air.

So these tornados are electrically driven. The storm drops a layer of charge, the right soil type holds the charge, then you get the tube, which forms a *low* power tornado, but the return of water ions to an electrically neutral state drives it up to high power.

But what happens in the zone of the power lines? The power lines disrupt the pickup and return process of the ions, which stops the tornado from crossing its path. So the tornado starts to run along the power lines, looking for a way through. Add in one other unit like a well-grounded tower, and -- in the case of the Hampton Roads tornado, it killed the tornado.

Now, that's not going to happen for a *really* large tornado, but for the small but deadly ones, getting on the other side of the power lines could be an advantage. Staying near the power lines could be bad.

Just as an aside, what's the reverse situation? Well, how about raising electrical ground over a large area? How about, for example, raising electrical ground by 20 feet over a square mile? Wouldn't that attract the tornado? Energy minimization would seem to draw a tornado in that direction, I would think. [A mobile home park, of course].

MMMM... Oklahoma (3, Interesting)

cens0r (655208) | more than 10 years ago | (#5920352)

I actually grew up in Oklahoma, just north of Tulsa in Bartlesville, and graduated from OU. I live in Seattle now, and I actually miss the weather some times as crazy as that sounds. A few days ago I saw lightening and heard thunder here and it brought a smile to my face.

If you haven't ever been to the middle of the US, and you get a chance, watch the weather reports some time. If you're from the west coast they will simply amaze you. All the weather people are real meterologists (most with phd's) and they really know what they're talking about. When there is a severe storm or tornado they track the thing and tell you at what time it's going to hit certain intersections in the city. The weather people here are just a joke.

Just get rid of all the trailer parks (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#5920357)

then there won't be any more tornados!

Thank you! I'm here all week! Don't forget to tip your waitresses!

Michigan (5, Interesting)

Schezar (249629) | more than 10 years ago | (#5920403)

I lived in Michigan for most of my life (Southeast area, by Sterling Heights), and tornado watches/warnings were a weekly occurance.

(By the way, just to quell misunderstandings later on, a tornado WATCH means that the conditions in the area are condusive to the formation of a tornado. A tornado WARNING means that a funnel cloud has actually been seen forming in the area.)

I was told of several ways to know when a tornado was coming by my parents, friends, teachers, etc... These are in no way scientific or reliable. (Don't sue me if you die in a tornado ^_^)

1. The sky will take on a slight green tint in the 20 minutes before a funnel cloud forms.

2. The wind stops right before a funnel cloud forms near you.

3. If the clouds that are high in the sky are moving at a different speed from the clouds that are lower, a tornado is likely.

4. If you observe spiders unraveling their webs, a tornado is likely to form.

5. Dogs will begin to panic and/or act strangely.

6. If you observe a tornado.. ^_^

I love Michigan. My father and I used to sit in lawn chairs and watch tornados follow the freeway during summer storms. (Mom thought we were crazy..)

Oklahoma Weather Technology (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#5920421)

<shameless plug>
One advantage that we also have here in Oklahoma is our ability to see what is happening in the atmosphere and pass that on to people that need know and act. I work at one [mesonet.org] of the agencies [ou.edu] that do just that [ou.edu]. Ask your officials why your state doesn't have a Mesonet system [mesonet.org].
</shameless plug>
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