Friday, February 8, 2013

Nine Catastrophes Worse Than Snow: #3

3. Tornados

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I don't know a whole lot about tornados beyond what I learned during Earth Science (okay, and the movie Twister), so I'm basing the following observation mostly on intuition: tornados are freaking scary. 

I'm not talking about the baby tornados we have (rarely) in New York, that may knock down a tree, cause a few hours of power failure, or maybe destroy a greenhouse.  I'm talking the real tornados that go for hundreds of miles and can leave damage paths a mile wide.  Tornado tracking seems far less accurate than that of other weather systems, and can cause huge devastation where they hit.
But what I find most alarming is that, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the average tornado warning lead-time is 13 minutes.  That means from the time you hear the tornado siren, you have 13 minutes to run for cover.  Maybe it's just because I'm a slow runner, but that doesn't seem like a lot of time to gather your family, pets, and cherished possessions and hide in the cellar.  Twister and The Wizard of Oz may have romanticized tornados, but I would rather avoid such an experience if at all possible.

~Sarah Jane

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