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The No Nonsense Guide to Tornado Safety

The No Nonsense Guide to Tornado Safety

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The No Nonsense Guide to Tornado Safety

161 pages
1 heure
Mar 31, 2014


This book could save your life! The ebook edition of the No-Nonsense Guide To Tornado Safety is the 1st in a series focusing on natural (and man-made) disasters. This guide is designed to provide a comprehensive source for the latest research related to tornado safety. Subjects covered include: providing a basic survey-level understanding of tornadoes; addressing long-held tornado myths; how to be proactive in preparing for a tornado event; providing sound advice by government and weather professionals/researchers on the best courses of action during a tornado; the best shelter during a tornado; and how to remain safe after a tornado event has occurred. This manual also contains several useful appendices that include a listing of government and charitable resources (for those affected by tornado disasters), a list of useful weather-warning smartphone and computer apps, and a list of local and privately-operated designated tornado shelters across the country for those without access to their own shelters.
Mar 31, 2014

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The No Nonsense Guide to Tornado Safety - Jeffery Sims



Simply put, in some ways I was a normal child while in other ways, I was anything but. It is the abnormal part of my being which accounts for why you are holding this book in your hot little hands (or reading it on your tablet). While I enjoyed watching cartoons, reading comic books, and favored science-fiction (notice a pattern?), I was also fascinated—infatuated actually—with learning about strange, unusual, and otherwise unexplained uncommon events. Whether the subject was verifying the legitimacy of alleged occurrences explored in the field of parapsychology, learning about what things exist beyond the boundaries of our planet through the area of astronomy, or—of relevance to you the reader—understanding the causes of interesting weather phenomenon like tornadoes and hurricanes.

As an adult, my love of learning had grown to encompass many other subjects, including history and politics (which I went to college to study). I had come to the awareness that I had/have an innate thirst for knowledge, about everything around me. As a result, I have more books than I will ever read, probably more than the average person. I’ve also probably had more different types of jobs than the average person. I’ve done a great deal of living. And in everything I’ve read, done, and observed, I’ve taken a great deal of awareness about life and the nature of the universe around us with me (yes, I know…a little grandiose, if not self-centered-sounding). I suppose by way of osmosis, I had also developed a love of teaching after having fallen into the vocation of substitute and adult education instructor. Because of these experiences, I have been driven to observe the world with an attempt to gain a deeper meaning of it all…and maybe bring a little bit of insight to others.

I am also driven to write about my observations –without the latent bias of emotion, beliefs, or cultural beliefs—in order to convey a semblance of truth (the teacher in me I suppose) and maybe give others a little something to think about. This is why I started blogging and writing regularly some years ago. In an indirect way, writing is also a way for me to help others to think about and offer possible solutions to grander problems posed by counterproductive policies and our own individual thinking. But it was only recently that I was motivated to combine my proclivity for (objective) observation, thirst for learning, and ultimately my writing to create a series of books based on my own intellectual curiosities and love for seeking solutions to existing problems.

This resulting compendium of interests and ideas has the (intended) benefit of imparting in those who chose to purchase and read it a level of awareness and knowledge about the an aspect of the dangers –those presented by the earth we live on—inherent in the world around us. And although there are no certain safe places to hide from real-life dangers, there are places as well as courses of actions that one can take to limit exposure to these dangers. I acknowledge this fact throughout the book(s) by using terms like relatively, comparatively, or variations of such words to convey that the suggestions offered are in, all likelihood based on research and other findings, the best options given the dangers and circumstances.

It is my hope that the information in this book (or as I call it, safety manual) will save a life, or at least prevent serious injury to those who would might be affected by a related dangerous experience.

So without further ado, I present to you, the No-Nonsense Guide to Tornado Safety…


What Are They?

Tornadoes—also called twisters—are nature’s most violent storms. Though not everyone has actually seen a tornado, almost everyone knows what they look like, either by the way they are depicted in Hollywood movies, or by news footage of these destructive storms. A tornado is a violently rotating funnel-shaped column of (usually visible) air that extends from the clouds of a particular type of thunderstorm, to the ground. The actual funnel of a visible tornado is made up of condensed air, water droplets, dust and debris. The high speeds of a tornado’s violently rotating winds are what make them particularly dangerous to both people and property, as they often can cause a great deal of damage, injuries, and deaths.

A tornado traveling across the Oklahoma landside (Photo courtesy of Daphne Zaras, NOAA)

How Do They Form?

Although the exact process by which that tornadoes form is not known, the process is known to involve a series of common (but not always present) meteor-ological phenomena, including the presence of wind shear (a change in wind speed and/or direction over a very small distance in the atmosphere), the convergences of cool moist air and warm humid air in a given area, and localized temperature differences. But what we do know is that the majority of tornadoes are the extreme product of supercell thunderstorms. Supercell thunderstorms are a particular type of severe thunderstorm, characterized by the presence a rotating updraft of air in the presence of strong vertical (as opposed to horizontal) wind shears. This vertical column of wind patterns begins to gradually narrow, and begins spinning with greater frequency and speed, becoming a fierce mesocyclone. As the present cool air drops, the present warm air rises. Under as-yet unknown precise conditions, the air be-gins rotating into a spiral and forms a funnel cloud.¹ If the wind rotation of a storm is strong enough, it is picked up on nearby weather radars, and authorities may issue a warning. The sky may turn an angry dark shade of green be-fore the characteristic funnel cloud forms. If the funnel of rotating air touches the ground, it becomes an actual tornado. Tornadoes generally form near the trailing edge of supercell thunderstorms. It is not uncommon to see clear, sunlit skies behind a tornado. On occasion—less than 20% of the time— tornadoes may form from either a particularly strong squall line (a line of thunderstorms that form along or ahead of a cold front) or among convective thunderstorms. Convective thunder-storms are storms that form during the heat of the afternoon within an area of atmospheric instability, and often form as a line of severe storms that generate a radar image known as a bow echo (see previous page). Torna-does that do form within these quasi-linear convective systems will form along the ends of these particular storm systems because this is usually where wind rota-tion and/or wind shear is most likely to to occur (however, there are always always be points all along the lines of these particular storm systems where rotation is strong enough to produce tornadoes within them). Torna-does that develop atypically at these points can form with very little or no warning. Essentially, there is a potential for tornadoes to form whenever warm and cool air masses collide.

A supercell thunderstorm photographed over the Midwestern U.S. (Montana).

The radar image above illustrates the bow echo (because of its archer’s bow shape) of a convective thunderstorm system as it appears on Doppler radar and news weather forecasts as it appears over the Kansas City Metropolitan Area in May of 2008. Because these weather systems can sometimes produce tornadoes, television viewers

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