Tag Archives: Tornado

Whether Here or Weather There Weather’s Whether Everywhere

I’ve lived my entire life in the state of Virginia which in and of itself gives me amble fodder for the novels I write. Thankfully, we are blessed with weather that leans normally toward the tranquil side. Now, that’s not to say we don’t receive a portion of the bad stuff.

We live about ninety miles from the east coast, and from time to time, will have a hurricane pay a visit. These visits (although nice to be considered by the blow hard system) can be harrowing to say the least. What makes these rotating monsters so nice to encounter are the lovely names they are labeled with once they reach Tropical Storm status.

Another unwelcome phenomenon which usually stops by to say, “Hello,” in the spring and summer is our old friend, “the Tornado.” These twisters can wreak havoc in a short amount of time and over a surprisingly large area.

Our other friend visited this past weekend as a sky full of white fluffy stuff that made its way to the ground. Kids love this icy weather for it means no school. I’ll have to admit, it is pretty but I prefer the type of storm where the temperature rises and the roads are clear by the afternoon.

Let us not forget that each form of weather has its good and bad. Seldom, but frequently enough for me, are the winter storms that drop eighteen (and in some isolated areas) up to thirty inches.

I guess you could wrap up the atmospheric conditions in our area by saying, “If you don’t like the weather, wait twenty minutes and it’ll change.”

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Twist and Shout

One of several tornadoes observed by the VORTE...

One of several tornadoes observed by the VORTEX-99 team on May 3, 1999, in central Oklahoma.  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Have you ever paid attention to the structural integrity of a new house being built? I’m getting ahead of myself.  First let me ask you,  “Are you a construction type person? You know, someone who has the knowledge of building codes, solid construction practices, and pretty much know what you’re looking at when you look at it?”

I was a carpenter by trade, a superintendent on residential and commercial projects and a draftsman. I know what it takes to erect a structurally sound building. Houses of today are built to withstand high winds, heavy rains, snow loads and many of the other things this world can dish out.

Skyscrapers are erected with large steel columns and “I” beams in such a way that they can withstand earthquakes and winds at such velocity that would tear the average house to shreds.

On the other hand, many commercial buildings are constructed with cinder blocks and metal bar joists for the roof structure.

In hurricane prone areas, special precautions are implemented, such as bolting the walls from the top plate to the foundation, hurricane clips on the roof system and windows that can stand high winds and strikes from debris.

As in the case of storm cellars in the mid-west, it’s best to get out of the path of nature’s most destructive forces; i.e. the tornado. In recent years, a new breed of storm chaser has set themselves apart from the rest.  I now feel the need to start a new paragraph and express my most valued opinion.

Here’s the new paragraph and here’s my version of an op/ed. I’ve always been fascinated by weather, especially that of the tornadic variety. I have even thought I would like to chase tornadoes but in the part of the country in which I live, I would do just as well sitting on my front porch watching for twisters as I would burning fuel to run the roads looking for the cyclonic wind storms. But I cannot for the life of me understand why someone would want to park a vehicle in the middle of one of these widow-makers. I guess it kinda goes along the same lines as jumping out of a perfectly good airplane.

To sum up, as you write (or for those who create an outline before beginning their novel) keep your story structurally sound taking care to keep the winds of whimsy from racking your building or possibly causing a catastrophic failure.

Well, I’ll be. Looks like I got a twister a coming this way after all!  Ya’ll scuse me whilst I hitch a ride. I’m off to see the wizard….

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