The eye of the storm

Childhood fears are a common thing. My mom’s was being chased by a farmyard bull. Her mother’s was being chased by a derailed train. Mine was always being chased by a tornado.

These phobias make sense really, when you consider their cultural background. There was a train nearby my grandmother where she grew up which was terribly loud and frightening to young children. The precarious train bridge which the children had to cross on the way to school didn’t help their anxiety. Mom lived close to farm animals and the bull was a looming threat, stamping its feet and snorting its taunts. Growing up next to tornado alley, the twisters were a constant threat to my livelihood.

And yet, I’ve always had a morbid fascination with them. I loved the movie Twister, even though it was just a corny popcorn flick.

In most of my dreams about tornadoes, I try desperately to snap a picture of the elusive beast. If I couldn’t slay it then at least I could document that I was its victim. Although I was successful in my dreams, I was never as successful in waking life. All those years and I never actually saw a tornado up close.

Well, now I’ve finally been to the heart of darkness, the eye of the storm. Vicariously, mind you, but I’ve touched the void and made it to the other side unscathed. National Geographic is running a stunning bit of video of some storm chasers and their high-tech tornado cam. Thrilling stuff to those that appreciate the power of nature. I never thought I’d see a tornado this close and not be killed for the privilege:

National Geographic footage

9 Replies to “The eye of the storm”

  1. Growing up in Nebraska I’ve always been fascinated with tornadoes, lightning storms, etc. I also enjoyed Twister and have seen it many times. I enjoyed the video footage, that was great! Oddly enough as I type this its getting dark and windy and we are under tornado warnings/watches throughout the area.

  2. Wow! That was amazingly awesome, Rob. I actually had to talk outloud to the crew I was getting so nervous for them during the set up. “Get in the car. Go, go!”

  3. as a child, i hated them. i think i was traumatized early on by the scene from the wizard of oz with the witch flying by dorothy’s window and the house landing on her. i guess in my magical thinking as a kid i extrapolated to think all tornados did that.

    as an adult, i do think they are breathtaking (as long as they are on FILM). ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. I know, wasn’t that incredible? The experience was like hiding in a closet and peering out to watch Death walk by in his black cloak and sickle.

    What I didn’t expect was how relatively clean this twister looked as it passed over. From the distance, it looked so dark from the dirt it was picking up. But as it was upon the camera, it seemed somewhat clear. Interesting. Of course, there’s no telling how severe this one really was.

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