One year ago today, a tornado devastated Joplin, Missouri. Photographer Robert X. Fogarty's "Dear World" project commemorates the survivors of that day with two galleries of portraits. Each survivor has a short message written on his or her skin: "I survived Joplin's EF-5." "Together these work miracles." "Survived."
Joplin, Missouri was hit by a tornado on Sunday evening, leaving at least 89 people dead and an estimated 2,000 buildings destroyed, as much as 30 percent of the town.
A wave of powerful storm cells swept the southeastern United States this week, spawning hundreds of tornadoes that wreaked havoc from Texas to Virginia. While damage was widespread throughout the region, the most terrible toll was seen in Alabama, which has accounted for two-thirds of the more than 300 reported deaths -- the deadliest since the Great Depression -- and where many small towns were simply wiped from the map. Especially hard-hit was the university town of Tuscaloosa, the state's fifth-largest, where a monstrous F5 tornado (seen in this terrifying firsthand video) tore a vicious track through entire neighborhoods and business districts -- narrowly missing the region's primary hospital -- and continuing a path that rained debris as far as Birmingham, over sixty miles away. The disaster prompted a visit from President Obama today, who declared "I've never seen devastation like this" after surveying the area with Governor Robert Bentley, Senator Richard Shelby, and Mayor Walter Maddox. More: photos from In Focus and The Big Picture, aerial footage of the aftermath, "before and after" sliders, the path of the Tuscaloosa twister on Google Maps, People Locator, local aid information, MetaTalk check-in thread
"Are you going to issue a tornado forecast?" [asked the general]. We both made abortive efforts at crawling out of such a horrendous decision. We pointed out the infinitesimal possibility of a second tornado striking the same area within twenty years or more, let alone in five days. "Besides," we said, "no one has ever issued an operational tornado forecast." [more inside]
John Park Finley, American meteorologist, wrote the first known book on tornadoes (Tornadoes, 1887). Though some of his "safety" guidelines for surviving a tornado have since been refuted as dangerous (seek shelter on the side of a house facing an oncoming tornado!), the book remains a seminal work in tornado research. [more inside]
The Tornado History Project: Google Maps meets historical data Tornado data turned into Google Maps that you can slice and dice any way you want: By State, by Date range, by Fujita number. Even records the path of long-track tornadoes. Hours of fun for weather weenies (like me!) and those interested in investigating trends over time. [more inside]
On August 28th 1990, between 3:15 p.m. and 3:45 p.m. a devastating tornado ripped a 16.4 mile-long path through portions of Kendall and Will counties in northern Illinois. At its strongest, the tornado was rated F5, the highest rating a tornado can be given. A total of 29 people were killed and 350 more were injured. [more inside]
A tornado forms in front of a car taking video. A study of the spectrum of human reactions. NSFW language.
On March 7, 2009, TornadoVideos.net (TVN) launched the beta version of their Live Streaming system. It's an interactive map that tracks each member of the TVN team as they criss-cross the country chasing storms, complete with live video. You can sign up (main page, top left: "Chase notifications") to be alerted when a chase is in progress. [more inside]
The (U.S.) National Weather Service has released its report on a strong tornado that occured in Iowa the evening of May 25th. On the evening of May 25th, 2008 a tornado rated at EF5 (estimated wind speed was around 205 MPH!!) obliterated half of the town of Parkersburg, Iowa. Eight people have died, and 70 were injured. Here is a PDF containing incredible pictures of the damage (taken by employees of the NWS during their survey). [more inside]
Inside a tornado. It's a technological first. A well-placed probe fitted with 7 video cameras—6 with a 60-degree field-of-view designed to achieve a full 360-degree field-of-view and one pointing upward—captures footage inside a tornado, providing visual data on ground wind speeds where the storm does the greatest damage. And Tim Samaras with his team of storm chasers are there to make it happen.
Extreme Instability is a site by Mike Hollingshead, a weather buff from Nebraska who likes chasing storms. On his good days, he gets some spectacular photos of tornados and supercells, but, heck, even his 'crap chasing' days aren't too bad. More of Mike's photos at photoSig.
Three Dead From Southern Maryland Tornado. This is the kind of news story you skip because it doesn't happen in your state. It didn't even register to me until I realized that one of my daily reads - Moire - lives in La Plata. The twister went through her front yard. Her account of the storm and its aftermath is pretty powerful. Were any other bloggers involved? (It's my first post; be gentle.)