Tornado's have ripped through much of the Midwest, causing widespread damage and death. Wise people seek shelter, or drive away from the storm. A few curious people watch the storm. Others, known as tornado chasers drive toward the storm for pictures and scientific study.
A car sponsored by the Weather Chanel was going into a tornado yesterday, and took a direct hit. The storm flipped the car over 200 yards smashing the car and injuring the storm chasers.
Tornado's don’t always go in a straight line. They may bob and weave, turn sideways and bounce around. You may think you are safe and just watching, but a sudden turn could nail you.
I have been near two tornadoes. The first, when in high school one passed over our house. The TV gave a tornado alert and our family headed to the basement. We never saw anything and the wind broke a few branches off trees in our yead. A few blocks away, some houses were damaged. This tornado seemed to bounce around, hitting a few homes and then going up in the air only to touch down again. Unpredictable, that’s why taking shelter is the best action.
The second encounter happened when I was driving in Michigan. A small funnel cloud touched down a mile and a half of where I was. Cars stopped, people got out and took pictures. I turned my car around and drove the other way, missing the best part of the show, but staying safe.
The destruction of the chasers car demonstrates that expert weather watchers may not always stay safe as they can miscalculate. For us, far better to stay away, miss the photo op and stay safe.
Update: Tragically three other storm chasers were killed Friday night, Tim Samaras, Paul Samaras, and Carl Young, all from Colorado. Again, this highlights the point that the experts can't always know when to take cover.
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