"No less a critic than C. S. Lewis has described the ravenous addiction that these magazines inspired; the same phenomenon has led me to call science fiction the only genuine consciousness-expanding drug." Arthur C. Clarke

Man vs. Tornadoes

Tornadoes in the Southeast this week have been reported to have killed 72 people so far on Wednesday alone, including 58 in Alabama.  One tornado that blew through Tuscaloosa, Alabama had some incredible video; nothing like this has been seen so clearly since the 1999 tornadoes in the Oklahoma City Metro area (which I lived in during) which spawned a rare F5 tornado and one of the deadliest single tornadoes ever, killing 36.

The thing about the OKC tornado was that, by the old Fujita scale that has been obsolete since 2007, it could have been an F6, a theoretical level that has never been recorded before.  The only difference between F5 and F6 is wind speed, and a portable Doppler in southern OKC measured wind speeds of 301 mph (and an unofficial 318), only 18 miles per hour short of F6 status.  The 301 is the fastest wind speed ever recorded on Earth.

Video of the OKC tornado:

Video of the Tuscaloosa tornado:

Just for kicks, security video inside a building being hit by an F5 tornado:

This whole thing reminds me of not only 1996’s Twister but also Roland Emmerich’s The Day After Tomorrow, which features a scene of huge tornadoes ripping through the Los Angeles metro area.

The special effects are so ridiculously good, but kind of unrealistic.  The view wouldn’t be that clear, nor would a reporter be able to (or want to) stand that close to get good video of three twisters surrounding him, as he finds out for himself.  As for the guy looking out the window, I have some advice, as an Oklahoman who knows about tornadoes: that’s not such a good idea, opening the window and standing in front of the glass.

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