Twister Lessor

December 6, 2015

tornado___speed_painting_by_ojollands-d35q684Overcast, damp and chilly this Sunday morning on California’s north coast — right now, a ‘chance of rain,’ but decent-heavy-shit tonight and tomorrow, a break maybe Wednesday, so they say.
Along with a High Winds Advisory, rain with ‘gusty‘ winds are forecast to persist awhile.

As someone originally from tornado country, where ‘gusty‘ would apply, this is welcome news — Bob Henson at WunderBlog on Friday:

Amid all the genuinely awful news making the rounds in recent days, here is one bright spot: the year 2015 may end up with the lowest number of U.S. tornado fatalities in at least 141 years.
As of December 2, preliminary numbers from the NOAA Storm Prediction Center show only 10 tornado-related deaths nationwide.
If this number holds through the end of the year, it will beat the 12 deaths reported in 1910 to become the lowest annual total on record.

(Illustration: ‘Tornado – speed-painting,’ by FableImpact, found here).

In south Alabama, a ‘tornado shelter’ was close at hand. My grandparents, on my daddy’s side, had the best one — dug into the side of a hill, deep and creepy. As I recollect 60-years or so past.
And I really can’t remember if it was ever used, except mostly by rattlers, real and imagined.
However, during my upbringing, and until arrival in southern California in the early 1980s, tornadoes were a worrisome bitch. A lot of close-at-hand twister encounters, and a lot of havoc-looking terrain afterwards.

And in the unpredictable warming world we now inhabit, and even with the data from WunderBlog, accordingly the numbers may be on the low side, since 2011 (with 553 fatalities, the nation’s deadliest since 1925), ‘the U.S. has seen four consecutive years with below-average activity‘ — Greg Carbin, warning coordination meteorologist at NOAA/SPC:

Naturally, given the nature of his job, Carbin worries about the possibility that a quiet stretch could soften people’s resolve to keep themselves and their loved ones safe from tornadoes.
The decade from 2005 to 2014 produced a total of 1092 tornado-related deaths.
That’s roughly double the death rate that prevailed over the three prior decades (1975-84, 1985-94, and 1995-2004).
Clearly, the numbers for the past decade are skewed by the huge death toll in 2011, but a total of six of the ten years in 2005-2014 produced at least 50 deaths.
That wasn’t the case in any of the three previous decades.
“The annual death toll in the modern era is likely influenced more by the number of tornadoes than by our improved ability to predict them,” Carbin emphasized.
“The conditions to support a widespread killer tornado outbreak can come together in a matter of 2-3 days. We need to maintain vigilance!”

Global warming creates weather terror by adding more energy (in the form of heat) to our climate.
Last spring, released research indicated fewer tornadoes in the future, but those which do form, will be assholes — from The Weather Network in April:

Now, a study by scientists from NOAA – the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration – is showing evidence of this trend.
“When people ask, ‘Are we getting more tornadoes, are we getting fewer tornadoes, are they later, are they earlier?’ – the answer to everything is yes,” said Harold Brooks, the lead study author from NOAA’s Severe Storms Laboratory, according to

Mix the world-renown El Niño, and you’ve got a shit-pot of ugly unpredictability, especially a push/shift in norm: ‘The Tallahassee office of the NWS says El Niño is known to push severe weather south in the winter, which leaves central and southern Florida in the bull’s-eye. Upon studying El Niño years and otherwise, the NWS found a higher likelihood of tornadoes from November through April than with any other pattern.’

Twist less here, twist more there…

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