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Tornado Tours

In connection with the local travel threads that have been popping up, I happened onto "storm tours" by chance a couple of days ago. First thought was that everyone involved has to be barking mad. But the more I looked, the more interesting it seemed (I attribute this cognitive drift to the stresses of lockdown). Right now it actually seems like a possibility at some point. But whether I recover my senses or not, the videos are amazing. Just google "tornado tours".

Posted by
3054 posts

For six years, in the 80s, we lived in Norman, Oklahoma home of the National Severe Storms Lab. My husband would jog at lunchtime (heat of the day) and the guy who had a locker next to his was a researcher/storm chaser. My husband would tell us about how they’d get a warning and all hell would break out as he would go running out throwing on clothes. Later that day we’d see what they were so excited about as we’d watch our favorite TV personality, Gary England and his beloved Star Com 9. You have to say that last part with an Oklahoma accent to get the goosebumps effect. That Doppler radar saved our sanity and lives. It was one of the first Doppler radars to be used by a weather forecaster. It had a part in the movie Twister. The lab north of Norman at the old military base should definitely be on any tornado tour you would go on.

I still can’t see actually doing a tornado tour. I think we experienced a few in real time in my Oklahoma past but if I were a weather and adrenaline junkie it could be on my bucket list.

Posted by
4939 posts

Mona, I had forgotten you lived in Norman for a while. We were there until 1981.

When we were there (as students) we worked for the University of Oklahoma. My husband worked for Housing Maintenance, doing repairs and maintenance in the dorms. He and the other student workers worked the "emergency" hours: 5:00 p.m. to midnight M-F, and 8:00 a.m. to midnight on weekends.

His favorite tornado story was one stormy night, he and a buddy were fielding calls from residents about blocked toilets, broken light fixtures, whatever... when the call came in from the campus police: "This is to inform you that the Severe Storms Lab on North Campus has been evacuated because of confirmed tornadic activity."

Posted by
27447 posts

I’m afraid that after having had a few years in Fort Worth and Dallas, hail storms and tornadoes have little interest to me now. I had the emergency radio set to the proper frequencies and regularly would get tornado warnings that I would have to listen to.

One day I was at work deep underground working as an auto bank teller in the centre of Dallas when the green cloud came over. I realised then that even being two stories underground the fear never diminishes. Even watching the cloud come over on a closed circuit screen didn’t make it any less real.

I do not like tornadoes.

I have lost too many roofs.

My brother-in-law had softball sized hail go through his house from the window in the front over his head and out through the window in the back.

I don’t like hailstorms either.

Posted by
667 posts

Nigel, never having seen one up close, I remember being astonished at the bright, sickly green color as a tornado approached a mall in Minneapolis where I had gone to buy something. With many other people, I retreated to the back of a Target store, where we were safe; front of the store was damaged fairly severely though.

Posted by
3140 posts

Here in AL we can experience this even during a lockdown. This April we had a day of threatening weather in each of 3 subsequent weeks. When my daughter graduated from college, my first thought was that she would no longer be living in tornado alley.
Of course, you could wait until hurricane season in Aug and Sept. Cheap thrills, as long as it doesn't hit you-and if nothing happens, you could still enjoy the beach, Rocket center in Huntsville and Civil Rights sights.

Posted by
3487 posts

I have seen more than enough Tornados in my life already. They are dangerous. I have zero desire to go anywhere near one on purpose. The only people who should be going anywhere near the storms are meteorologists who get paid to track storms and the first responders who go in after one hits to provide medical and other assistance to those caught in the damage. Anyone else is just in the way.