Tornado-genesis: A twist in the wind

There are few spectacles on earth more awe inspiring than a tornado over land or sea. If they seem unearthly, with all our modern science and perspective, imagine how they appeared to ancient people who might see or hear about a single such event in their lifetime! But tornadoes are a dramatic representation of one of the most common weather phenomenons on earth and throughout the cosmos as far as we can discern: the vortex. A tornado starts out way up in the clouds, concealed from sight, and that’s where its engine resides. The part we see is almost an afterthought. But it’s no afterthought if you’re in its way. That visible part can plow the ground and tear families apart.

It’s more than fascinating, it’s a serious, routine concern for a lot of Americans. The majority of tornadoes occur in North America and most of those hit in a region called tornado alley. As I write this, perched in the lower outskirts of that region, the sky overhead is a puke green, the clouds tumultuous, and the the air hangs heavy with moisture as thick as a rain forest. This is twister weather. Follow me below the fold to learn more about a typical tornado. [Read more...]

Oklahoma: clean up, death toll revised DOWN, Sen Coburn miscalculates

In a battered region where good news is hard to come by, the death toll on Oklahoma has been revised down and currently stands at 24. Meanwhile, Senator Tom Coburn (R-Naturally) just couldn’t resist, he shot his mouth off demanding budget cut offsets before he’d vote for federal aid while bodies were just getting pulled from the rubble, and he’s getting slammed on Facebook for it. A sample of that below the fold: [Read more...]

Guess who voted against emergency management & disaster relief?

Oklahoma ranks third in the nation on disaster relief. That puts an unwelcome spotlight on two of the slimiest purportedly God fear’n denizens in DC. US Senators Tom Coburn and Jim Inhofe have more than anti-science lunacy and extreme right-wing fundamentalism in common. Both these clowns are deficit hawks who have repeatedly voted against disaster relief and tried to kill funding for FEMA: [Read more...]