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April 2nd, 2014

It Will Be A Dark And Stormy Night

After a storm in Albion; for perspective, that's a bulk petroleum plant lit up in the distance.



SLIGHTLY OFF THE MARK


            I’ve been complaining about winter weather in a lot of my columns, so I thought maybe it was time to complain about something else:

            Spring weather.

            Yes, spring will arrive this year, or so they tell me. March is the traditional Hoosier changeover time (yeah, it’s April now, let it go), which is another way of saying we can have a snowstorm one day, a flood the next, grass fires the day after that, and an ice storm during basketball playoffs. I suppose it comes as no surprise that the Governor declared March 16th through 22nd to be Severe Weather Preparedness Week, which I’d have done myself if security hadn’t kicked me out of his office.

            I waited to put this column out until after that week, so if something horrible happened it wouldn’t seem like I was going for ironic.

            As part of the celebration … er … observation, the State of Indiana wants to educate everyone, conduct alert system tests, and otherwise try to keep people from getting killed. Honestly, nothing brings down a wonderful spring day like death. The plan was for you to hear the media alerts and tornado sirens being tested on March 20th … if weather permits.

            Officials often try to make people understand what watch and warning levels and storm terms are, so I thought I’d help out a bit:

            A Watch means you should stay at your cookout, gaze at the blue sky and make fun of the weatherman right up until the first wind gust blows away your “kiss the cook” hat.

            A Warning means that if you haven’t sought shelter, you will die.

           A Funnel Cloud should not be mistaken for a funnel cake, which generally kills only one person at a time. Funnel clouds are just tornadoes that haven’t touched the ground; maybe they will, maybe they won’t. If you want to gamble, go to Vegas. Just to make it more fun, sometimes tornadoes reach the ground and start tearing things up even though the bottom part is still invisible. You could be looking at a “funnel cloud” right up until the moment your mobile home changes zip codes.Collapse )

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