April 15th 2012 in Woodward, Oklahoma, shortly after midnight, I listened as the wind roared. Little did I know that the roaring wind was a sign of the approaching beast. It wasn’t until the phone call from my mother-in-law that I had learned of the tornado about to tear through my neighborhood. The sirens never sounded due to a loss of electricity. I had just enough time to grab my three children and take shelter in the nearest closet. With the disadvantage of not being in a storm shelter I cannot express the terror I felt thinking about the lives of my children. I lay on top of them while my husband did his best to shield us. The sound was so monstrous, but my ears focused mainly of the sound of my home being torn apart and my children’s screams. That night my family and I like so many, had to leave our home. We were fortunate to walk away without a scratch and I’m thankful for that every day. Other families were not as lucky and I think about them all the time.
As a lifelong resident of Tornado Alley I am full of curiosity. I chased tornadoes when I was younger out of curiosity, but I never was fully satisfied. I have always found them more fascinating than terrifying (due to the events, my husband disagrees).
There has been some question as to increase in tornado activity due to global warming. Studies have shown an increase in activity of the years, but some scientists argue that this increase is simply a result of a better Doppler radar system detecting tornadoes that were unable to be detected in the past. In previous years, smaller tornadoes (EF-0) were not so easily detected and didn’t go on record. Taking that number away, there is really no change. Tornadoes do seem to be more destructive than in the past, so the debate continues. More about this can be read on National Geographic.
Could we possibly harness energy from these monsters? Some scientists believe it is possible. It is impossible momentarily to contain this amount of heat. There is some work being done to recreate tornadoes to try and harness the energy power. Billionaire Peter Thiel has been very busy with this project. His breakout labs have awarded Louis Michaud’s company with $300,000 to contribute to the study of tornado power. More can be read about this at Popular Science.
There are so many unanswered questions. I know that my head is filled with them. There are so many theories and hopes when it comes to these mysterious swirling acts of nature. I’ve called them monsters numerously because to my family that is what they have become, but the bigger part of me it still more curious than terrified. I know I’m not alone with either way of thinking.