cairistiona7 (cairistiona7) wrote in photo_scavenger,


A sign of spring in Tornado Alley.

Sign of a tornado on radar photo IMAG0871_zps47c36843.jpg

I took the photo with my phone camera of the National Weather Service's website radar image this morning. The red box indicates a tornado warning and the green boxes indicate flood warnings; blue means light rain, green a bit heavier, and yellow, orange and red very heavy indeed. Fortunately for me, I live north of the warning areas, so this didn't affect me--we had thunder and some heavy rain but no tornadoes or floods at my house.

This tornado radar image isn't the most well-defined one I've seen--there's no obvious "hook" that indicates a tornado, though there are signs of rotation in the area along the bottom of the red portions. It's very hard to see unless you're familiar with radar images. If you'd like to see a very well-defined radar image of an EF5 tornado, the strongest category of tornadoes, you can see the May 23, 2011, Joplin, Missouri tornado image here and, with labels, here. In that image, the "hook" that meteorologists look for is that big yellow "wave" that indicates wind "inflow", which are winds flowing into the storm, against the normal outflow of winds. The pink ball just below the word "Joplin" is what's called a "debris ball" and, as you see in the 2nd image, indicates the actual location of the tornado itself. You very rarely see such a well-defined debris ball on radar; only in the most destructive tornadoes, usually, but this one pulled up nearly everything in its path, from trees to houses and even lawns.

You can read more about the tornado and see photos of the destruction here. On the bright side, however, I was in Joplin just last weekend, and there has been much rebuilding and cleaning up in the nearly 2 years that have passed. In many parts of town, unless you knew what it used to look like, you can't tell there was any damage, and construction is progressing well on the new hospital. Other parts of town are still barren and broken, and of course, in the mile-wide swath of the damage path, there are no trees except newly planted ones. That for me is the biggest tell in restored areas, because Joplin, like Springfield and most areas of the Ozarks, is a city of lovely big trees. Tree replacement has had nearly as high a priority as rebuilding homes and businesses.

It's good to know that the city is recovering well.

Tags: cairistiona7, sign

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