Monday, July 14, 2008

Tornados in Northeastern Minnesota

"Severe weather moved through Northern Minnesota Monday night. Northlanders got quite a sight.

A tornado was spotted in Buhl at 8:45 PM, while a funnel cloud was spotted in Grand Rapids and a tornado was spotted 13 miles NNW of Virginia at 9:05. Talmoon had .75 hail. Squaw Lake had .88 inch hail. Coleraine sported 1 inch hail, while a 14" diameter tree was down near Bowstring Lake at 10:20 PM."

I personally saw two funnel clouds right over my own house in Aurora, while listening to the sirens going off in the next town just 5 miles away. It's no doubt the good people of the Iron Range were either in their basements or glued to their windows to see an event that Mother Nature does not let us see but for a few rare times in our lives.

Thanks to some of those same good people in Grand Rapids and the surrounding area, the photo's below were featured on our local 10pm news tonight and gave everyone in the path of this storm a reality check of what threatened over our heads just a few hours ago. As I write this, another storm is rolling through but with the threat of severe winds and larger than golf ball sized hail. This one I can handle, but a tornado I can not.

When the tornado sirens were going off, I was vacuuming and our little son who is 4&1/2 was helping me pick up his toys before bedtime. I turned on the TV, the radio, and loaded up the latest satellite imagery on my computer. The technology that had been used to alert citizens of the potential for deadly and destructive weather had reached me in about 1 minute from it's issue by the trained meteorologists who know when to send out these life saving alerts. The latest satellite technology and radar imagery used today is the Mercedes-Benz compared to the now outdated telegraph that Jerome Collins used in the late 1870's to issue his very own weather warnings via the New York Herald Weather Bureau to the west coast of Europe, Britain, and Ireland. One thing that Jerome has in common with the meteorologists of today, they both saved lives. Their weather forecasts alerted people to the threat of severe weather, either in a minutes notice as in today's example where I live, or less than a week's time in Jerome's day. Seafarers would usually confirm upon their entry into port that yes, they did indeed navigate through the storm which Jerome would have predicted to travel across the Atlantic to the coast of Europe, and therefore the people in Europe would have received fair warning in advance of the weather to come. I don't think that the meteorologists of today, or yesterday for that matter, ever received a proper thank you or commendation for saving a life. Firefighters are heralded as heros, Policemen are honored when fallen in the line of duty, and the US Armed forces are national symbols of noble sacrifice. So where's the recognition for the Meteorologist? Despite all this technology, we sometimes take for granted the job of a Meteorologist which is easily aided by technology. What if that technology failed us? Then we are forced to think to a time long ago, when simply observing the weather by looking up to the sky was where it all started.

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