29 April 2011

"Debris ball"

For anyone who is at least minimally sentient and socially aware, the outbreak of tornadoes is not a "TYWK," but I wanted to blog two items.  From Paul Douglas On Weather blog comes the image above -
Here's a reflectivity view from Birmingham (NWS) Doppler around 6:30 pm Wednesday, showing a 1/2 to 1 mile wide tornado. The energy beam from the Doppler is actually reflecting off debris swept up in the tornado. Absolutely incredible.
And one doesn't want to be a gawker at other people's tragedy, but The Big Picture does have a gallery of 23 photos, from which I've selected these two:
One of many impressive videos is at Vimeo; you can understand why the videographer was hyperventilating.  And a survival story is here.

Photo credit top Marvin Gentry/Reuters, bottom Rogelio V. Solis/AP.


  1. Terrifying. This blog is getting me much too familiar with the sounds of humans in severe distress. (Well, it's going to make me actually take all those disaster preparedness steps that people talk about. Where I live, that means earthquakes. I'll take them over tornadoes any day!)

  2. This is exactly what parts of Oklahoma City and surrounding areas looked like in 1999. I'm not sure if the scale of the damage is the same, but the pictures sure remind me of that time. I saw areas that had grown during my lifetime completely wiped flat in that storm.

  3. I'm very glad that tornados are extremely rare in my own country.
    What surprises me is that in those areas where tornados are expected on a fairly guaranteed basis, housed, even whole towns, seem to be built of the flimsiest possible materials.
    Whilst, of course, I doubt the populace could be persuaded to live in largely underground, reinforced domes, it seems that houses mostly built of sheet ply on a flimsy wooden frame, held together with three-inch-nails, should be considered unviable.
    I've seen plenty of film that shows that the centre of a twister has a terrible ferocity.
    I realise it destroys all it touches. But surely, we could build to better withstand its edges?


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