Bed Time

Bed Time

September 22, 2017

I apologize for the disruption of service last week at I was called out of town for a few days. I’m back now, however, and several of you have expressed concern for my well-being in light of the multiple outbreaks of tornadoes in my part of the world. Thank you for worrying about me, but I am fine in that regard. My only encounter with any tornado was during the severe April outbreak of 2011, when my home had a very close call with an F4 tornado; I think I told you that story. With Doppler radar and other modern instruments, meteorological scientists today can measure the windspeeds within tornadoes, but this hasn’t been the case until quite recently. The strength of tornadoes was determined by studying the damage in their aftermath. It still is, in fact, because it’s hard to know exactly where to deploy precise instrumentation when tornadoes pop up. You’re all familiar with the “F” scale: the Enhanced Fujita Scale. I’ve already referenced it once. “Fujita” was the name of a Japanese-born American meteorologist who was the principle developer of the scale. His is a fascinating story. He was a young mechanical engineer in Japan at the end of World War II and was obsessed with understanding the patterns of destruction left by the atomic bomb explosions in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. He later emigrated to the United States and applied his early research to tornado damage. So we have our familiar benchmarks, from smaller F1 tornadoes to the monstrous F5 tornadoes, fortunately very rare.

30 responses to “Bed Time”

  1. Good morning Jimmy. Welcome back. Glad the storms didn’t do anything to you and yours. I understand about the 2011 tornado. I watched the one in Tuscaloosa from Mom’s front window. I never want that experience again. We lost every tree in our yard and all the ones bordering us fell in our yard too. Except one on the property line with our neighbor, and it’s still there 10 years later.

  2. Dr. Greg Forbes, of the Weather Channel, did his doctoral research under the direction of this Dr. Fujita.
    I am myself today, again.

  3. When I was a kid, there were 3 barns on the other side of the alley behind our house; they belonged 3 consecutive houses & were actual, full-sized barns, so there was just a few feet between them. When I was in 5th grade, a tornado went down the alley. The next morning, the barn to the east was leaning over the alley at 45°. The one on the west was scattered, in its entirety, across our back yard & the ones on either side. The middle one was untouched, and as of early this month was still there, over half a century later.
    A college girl who was living with us (Dad was a prof) was helping my little brother with his homework at the kitchen table, in front of the pantry door; she heard it, threw him on the floor, and laid on top of him (for which I have always been jealous….). About 1 second later, glass from the kitchen window was embedded 1/2″ deep in the woodwork around the door.
    That was my only encounter with one – and I severely hope to keep it that way!

  4. Program on PBS not too long ago about Fujita and his tribulations.

    Bosses brothers car ended up in garage upside down and crosswise. Had been outside.
    This was on ’65. Put the kids in the stone fireplace – last min moved them.
    The fireplace was swept to the hearth.
    No one hurt where they hunkered down.
    I am still me.

  5. I recently opened two new puzzle books from the same company. Near the front I found the usual stuff forbidding reproduction, transmission, copying, etc. However, one sentence stood out, and I quote, “Please do not participate in or encourage privacy of this material in any way.” . Perhaps “piracy” was the word meant? Both books have the error.
    Still me.

  6. c x-p et al: Got a colorful, mass-mailed postcard from a local real estate outfit, to me or current occupant. In big, bold inch-high letters on the message side: “We have Buyer’s!” The greengrocer’s apostrophe is alive & well. Their competition may be delighted, or may not see the problem.

    • Members of the Merchant’s Guild of Ahnk Morpork are honor bound to put their apostrophes in the wrong place, not only in their writing, but in their speech.

      Not only was I almost anonymous, the form was reluctant to let me check the box for saving the information for next time.

  7. My tornado story. In my first life, I was a public school band director (mid 1970’s) working in Southern Illinois. We were preparing for an “All—County” festival, beginning with a Friday rehearsal at a school about 15 miles from ours. Finishing up about 5:30 that Friday afternoon, the bus to take us back home was running 20 minutes late. When we finally got picked up and back to unload at the band room (stage of the old gymnasium), we found the roof gone with the timbers deposited on the stage where my band kids would have been if the bus was on time.

    I had just had the shop class build and bolt to the (cinder block) wall a 3/4” plywood cabinet to hold a new stereo system. It had been ripped from the wall and destroyed. On top of the remains, in pristine condition, was the unsleeved LP record I had left on top of the cabinet.

  8. I have always lived in tornado zones and hate them. Where I grew up in Mississippi River
    Delta they always crossed through our parish endure to Nstchez or Vicksburg, Mississippi. Here in Oklahoma they cross us heading for Ft. Smith, Arkansas or Joplin, Missouri.

    I swear the weather men say “The severe weather has safely moved.out of our area and In to Arkansas.’


  9. James Spann’s home got hit this time around. Fortunately the damage seems to have been to his trees rather than the house. And he insisted on a tornado shelter built below the garage, so his wife had a safe place to ride out the storm. When his men’s Bible group heard about what happened, they came out with everything needed to clear up the mess and took care of it for him. Real heroes there.

    My information had vanished again. I think Jimmy got the Village connected to the Bermuda Triangle.

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