- Ada, Oklahoma


May 31, 2014

The storm warning ‘buzz’ is no more

Ada — Though it wouldn’t be true for Moore, Okla. or Joplin, Mo. residents, it is only a small exaggeration to say the preparedness kits for many others residing in tornado alley include folding lawn chairs. How else is one expected to comfortably gather with neighbors to swap exciting killer storm stories while watching the skies for the next installment to arrive? 

Those living in Moore and Joplin are likely to be significantly less cavalier about them since their areas have recently served as ground zero for devastating twisters — the kind powerful enough to suck blades of grass out of the ground after razing all structures within a concentrated swath of real estate. 

Personal experiences like that tend to temper one’s sense of humor about such things. But many of those who haven’t experienced one in a while, or ever, get a buzz knowing conditions are ripe for potential meteorological mayhem. It gets blood and adrenaline pumping. 

Residents in hurricane country are essentially the same way and today marks the beginning of that three-month season.  The differences between the two kinds of storms are the lead time one tends to get and the total area affected are both greater for hurricanes. Too, they have the nasty habit of producing their own tornados.

My childhood home was located next to the Mississippi River Bridge in New Orleans. All sorts of fun things occasionally came hurling off of it even on crystal clear days. Once a car tire plummeted down from its 200-foot height, hit the ground and bounced two-thirds of the way back up again, and so on till it finally found its resting place on terra firma. 

Another not so comical projectile was a car with two people inside. It didn’t bounce at all. 

Hurricane Betsy came calling one night with sustained winds of 130 miles per hour and gusts of, if memory serves, 165. The potent sound of wind that strong makes an impression. It was only trumped by the additional sound of objects picked up along the way that pummeled the walls of our house for hours on end. 

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