Midwesterners, Take Warn!

There is an unprecidented high risk of significant tornado activity in your area TODAY and/or TONIGHT.

Check with the Storm Prediction Center at the NWS for the latest.

There will almost certainly be severe thunderstorms in the Mid-Mississippi and Ohio Valleys and up into Michigan today and early evening/night. It is distinctly possible that there will be tornadoes.

If there is a biggish tornado outbreak today, this may be a highly unusual weather event, and it could count in the Weather Whiplash category of climate-change caused problems.

We will be watching. But if you live in the affected area, WATCH EXTRA CLOSELY PLEASE.

Comments

  1. #1 Dean
    November 17, 2013

    We have a high wind warning and a tornado watch here, with storms just off the lake Michigan coast. Temp is 63. Stage seems to be set for an interesting day.

  2. #2 Greg Laden
    November 17, 2013

    This is a virtually, if not entirely, unprecedented across meteorological history, event. Better check your supplies in the Tornado Box in the basement.

  3. #3 dean
    November 17, 2013

    The worst seems to be north and south of us. We’re getting lots of rain, and thunder, but not so much wind. My son at GVSU says it is worse there, and areas near lake shore and south have a mix of severe weather watches and warnings, including a (now expired, I believe) tornado watch. There is more on the radar though.

  4. #4 G
    California USA
    November 17, 2013

    CBS and BBC websites both report nasty tornados across the region, a relatively small number of casualties, and widespread property destruction.

    At some point we are going to have to get serious about building codes in areas subject to tornados. How many times can the Federal Gov be expected to step in and replace wood-frame houses that will just get wiped off the map again?

    First thing that’s needed is serious research on tornado-proof construction, and I suspect the outcome of that will be reinforced concrete domes with port-hole windows for the “1950s Moon base” look. Any area that gets wiped by a tornado should only be eligible for rebuilding assistance if they use tornado-proof designs. Aesthetic acceptance is only a matter of attitude, and attitudes can change.

    As storms get more violent, it’s just a matter of time before this becomes the standard. After the first instance of a tornado-proof neighborhood taking a direct hit with minimal losses, everyone will hop on the bandwagon.

  5. #5 Eric Lund
    November 18, 2013

    First thing that’s needed is serious research on tornado-proof construction

    This would be an important preliminary to what you are proposing, because as of now we don’t have the technology to build single family houses to withstand an EF-5 tornado. And it is important for any such technology we do develop to be cheap to deploy. Tornados tend to cause localized damage: the severe destruction is limited to a path which can occasionally be a mile or two wide but is usually less, and a couple of miles outside of that track the damage will be no worse than what you see in an ordinary thunderstorm. So it is unlikely to be worth while deploying this technology (especially if it is expensive) outside of Tornado Alley. While that does include parts of downstate Illinois and Indiana, it does not (at least historically) include Chicagoland.

  6. #6 Greg Laden
    November 18, 2013

    There are probably technologies that lend a number of different positive advantages that would also be good for tornadoes.

    It seems that real estate is predicated on the idea that a house is forever. This is true to some extent in that major overhauls of certain components done every few decades can keep a house going indefinitely. But there are things one could do, that tend to be expensive, that would make that process work better over the long term and also make a house more storm proof or at least make an EF5 more survivable. The problem is, the cap. investment is too large.

    But we do periodically spend, as a nation, a gazillion dollars to shore up and fix the lending part of the real estate industry. Rarely, and it doe happen, we invest in the infrastructure directly (i.e. a community based grant to fix foundations in an area where moderately cost housing needs a lot of that work in order to avoid losing housing stock in a city).

    We could be thinking of green energy implementation and storm proofing and housing stock quality/persistence and affordable housing all in one program here and there and make a difference, with the tornado bit being only part of the bigger picture.

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