Tuesday, April 25, 2006
Live birth on live TV
I've lived my whole life in Tornado Alley. I've seen funnels and wall clouds. I've seen the damage tornadoes leave behind. I've written newspaper stories about death and destruction and injury from them.
Last night was a first, though. I saw this tornado "born" on live TV. (Photo by a viewer submitted to KFOR-TV, Oklahoma City.)
AMAZING, the weather and broadcasting technology I've seen in my life. Used to be, tornado watches were issued for entire swaths of territory, putting everybody on edge for hours. Used to be tornado warnings were almost always issued too late.
Nowadays, the danger is we take them too lightly. Last night, as the tornado sirens sounded in my neighborhood -- because they do still issue warnings by county -- I sat on my front porch, smokin' a cigar and readin' a book.
Dr. ER was whooping and hollering in the living room. (Read her fun account here.) I was going back and forth from the porch to the TV -- and happened to see the live birth, taking place, oh, maybe 20 or 25 miles away. Way cool.
I was at work, and one of my employees, (of whom we used to say, we know when he's lying because his lips are moving) said, Hey everybody! there's a tornado coming down out side" whereupon the rest of us replied, "Yah, right Danny, sit down."
But a coulpe of minutes late, I myself saw it out the office window. Just begiinng to touch down.
It stayed on the ground from SW of Wichita, through the neigborhood where my dad was just sitting down to dinner, and wondering why the lights just went out, until it receded into the clouds somewhere in South Dakota.
It came within 1/4 mile of where I was standing, and looked as if I could have reached out and touched it.
True story! In fact, I'll bet most of you saw the same tornado. A video tape was taken of it as a small group of people cowered under a highway overpass and it passed directly over them. It made the national news networks. It was an F-4.