Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Which Way Do You Run?

I recently finished reading Big Weather, Chasing Tornadoes In The Heart of America which was written by Mark Svenvold. The story is Mark’s account of the several weeks he spent hunting for the perfect storm throughout the Midwest during the spring of 2004. In this case the perfect storm is not a hurricane, but one of nature’s most powerful forces, the tornado.

Tornadoes are possible at any time of the year by are most likely during the months of April, May, and June when a cold and dry air mass moving south out of the polar regions collides with the Maritime tropical air mass as it advances north from the Gulf of New Mexico. A tornado is possible anywhere on earth but approximately three-quarters of all recorded storms occur in the United States, predominately in the Midwest, all the south tier states, and along much of the east coast.

A tornado is defined by the Glossary of Meteorology as "a violently rotating column of air, in contact with the ground…”. Mark’s description though a little technical, paints a vivid picture of the monster. He states the following: “A tornado represents many thing, beginning with its own extreme unlikelihood. Every tornado represents a supreme, if momentary, trouncing of the second law of thermodynamics, the glum law of entropy that states that all things move from order to chaos. Tornadoes move the other way, from the chaos of cloud swirl, from a mixture of lines of force, density, temperature, lift, speed and convergence, a set of initiating conditions whose exact ingredients are still unknown, to a near perfect level of order and organizations capable paradoxically of delivering immense destruction...”. The only established method to rate a tornado’s intensity is to access the damage it leaves in its wake and to compare to the standards of the Fujita scale.

Are you interested in a new adventure that might possibly provide you with the thrill of your life? If so, Google the term “storm chasing” and you will find numerous operators willing to position you close to the near perfect storm! Sound like fun, it did to me too but the price tag is steep and my wife said no way. So ends my dream of storm chasing!

1 comment:

wxman said...

Going out for a chase is such a unforgettable experience anyone could ever had..Plus its like going for a wild adventure with your adrenaline pumping all over for excitement but a dangerous thing to do..We already got too much tornado outbreaks and some states had already above average specially in the month of May..Here's a list of 2008 Tornado Count..Looks like we better hang on this second half..Much more expected tornadoes on the way..Thanks for the great and informative post.