Tag Archives: weather

Xenia Tornado of 1974

Xenia tornado cloud 1974

Xenia tornado cloud, April 3, 1974

Spooky wild and gusty; swirling dervishes of rattling leaves race by, fleeing the windflung deadwood that cracks and thumps behind.

~ Dave Beard

One of the scariest things about spring in the Midwest is the ever-present danger of tornadoes. As a child growing up in central Illinois, I remember stories my parents told of friends having homes blown away, of crops being flattened, and other such terrifying possibilities. My mom, for example, watched a tornado go behind her car by just a few miles. My father told stories of barns full of machinery and tools being leveled by the force of the wind. For years, I couldn’t stand to watch The Wizard of Oz, just because of the tornado scene.

Not long before my mother passed away, I remember getting the phone call that a tornado had gone through my hometown. And where was my mother? Watching it through the kitchen window. The same kitchen window that was directly behind the tree that ended up through the back window of the car. The same kitchen window that was next to the dining room, where a board from the shattered storage unit crashed through multiple layers of siding and house construction materials to wind up horizontally stuck into the back of the dining room hutch, from the outside of the house. The same kitchen window that was directly across from the large propane tank, which was later found in the middle of the front yard, on the other side of the house from where she stood.

Since moving to Ohio, however, I’ve learned that those fearsome tornadoes of my childhood were nothing to the King of Tornadoes of lore in these parts. We live just a few miles from Xenia, Ohio, which I have learned sort of functions like a tornado-magnet. The most famous of those, however, was the F-5 tornado which struck as part of a supercell of 148 tornadoes across the Midwest on April 3, 1974.

Xenia tornado destruction of house

House demolished by Xenia tornado, April 3, 1974

That one killed 33 people and injured more than 1,300. Creating a path more than half a mile wide, it damaged more than $100 million of property in Greene County. (For more information and pictures, check out our Dayton Daily News blog post from 2011.)

Scary stuff, tornadoes are. What’s the closest weather disaster you’ve encountered?

[Note: This post is #24 of 26 of the April A-to-Z Challenge. Please see the button at the right of the page for more information.]

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Spring Fever

road sign

It’s spring fever. That is what the name of it is. And when you’ve got it, you want – oh, you don’t quite know what it is you do want, but it just fairly makes your heart ache, you want it so! ~ Mark Twain

Don’t you just love that sign? My husband took that picture at an intersection not too far from where we live. Some days, as I wake up and look at my calendar, I envision the things littered across it as points on that sign, leading me in varied and mostly opposite directions.

Spring fever, indeed.

Such has been life the past two weeks, hence my absence here. It was the end of the quarter at school, so I was finishing up teaching my graduate class, with all the rush of students valiantly trying to finish their projects at the last minute. This week, thankfully, is Spring Break for us, and I get a moment to catch my breath. Oh yes, of course, and put the finishing touches on the two courses I teach during spring quarter, which starts next Monday! But I love it, the plotting and preparing of adventures for students.

And what’s with this weather? I can only hope that it has been as nice where you are at as it has been here in Ohio. We’re on the brink of setting a multitude of records, including record high temperatures, record high low temperatures, and consecutive March days above 70 degrees. It definitely feels more like summer than winter or early spring here. But the plus side is that the world around me bloomed nearly overnight with early spring trees and flowers everywhere! They pour their perfume across the spring breezes, through open windows, and on rays of sunshine. How can we not celebrate such glorious weather? We’ve been outside in the evenings enjoying the chance to sit outside when it’s not cold, not hot, and with few bugs!

Sullivan rolling on the patio

Sullivan enjoying the first day of spring.

My fur-faced child, Sullivan, loves being a “spring kitten” even as he passed his 11th birthday on St. Patrick’s Day. He goes outside on our patio and rolls around and around, basking in the heat of the sunshine.

Spring fever is definitely in the air — as legs and arms bare to the sunshine, as birds chirp and people chatter outside the windows, as trees look fuzzy green as the leaves prepare to emerge, and flowers of all kinds explode in a riot of color and smell. A welcome return of outside activities, warmth, and the promise of good things ahead.

How’s your spring fever?

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Monday Moments: F(r)og

A wind has blown the rain away and blown the sky away and all the leaves away, and the trees stand. I think, I too, have known autumn too long. ~ e.e. cummings

Holiday festivities begin this weekend, as local malls herald the arrival of Santa. Two local radio stations began playing holiday music on November 1.

24/7.

This week is (in theory) a quiet break in the action before the full force gales of the holiday season are upon us. It’s finals week at the university where I work, so there is a strong scent of panic (and coffee) in the air as students crunch to study and force 10 weeks of learning into their brains in 1 or 2 days (or nights). It is also our last fall “quarter” as we transition to semesters beginning in Fall 2012. No more long holiday breaks after this year for the students.

But it’s also that break in the weather. Fall is trying to twist into winter, and the winds were wild all weekend long. Rainstorms hit early this morning, and there is a chance of storms with thunder and the potential for a tornado as well, according to my favorite weatherperson. A tornado in November? You bet. On Veterans Day weekend 2002, Van Wert, Ohio, (just north of where I live) was hit by an F4 tornado, one of many which swept across the midwest that day. The video captured by a patrol car still amazes me.

Weather can be crazy in November, but it can also be beautiful.

The crazy combination I love the most, though, is frost/fog, or f(r)og in my world. There’s something magical about fog anyway. As dangerous as it is to drive in, there is always that niggling feeling that something other-worldly, something different perhaps waits on the other side of the divide. I always catch my breath, wondering if what is lurking there beyond the fog is something good (like Brigadoon) or something bad (like a serial killer from Criminal Minds). When it is combined with that little crunch of frost, that frosty fog crispness gets an extra dose of magic (and can help chase those serial killers away, too).

I’m not so fond of snow, especially lots of it. And I hate to see autumn disappear for another year. But the beautiful possibility of f(r)og on the morning drive or weekend walk make the transition to winter slightly more palatable.

Plus it’s just fun to say.
“How’s the weather today?”
“F(r)oggy.”

As we gear up for the beginning of the end of the year, I hope to get a chance to catch my breath and fill up my energy well before all the zaniness kicks in.

Any suggestions or ideas? How do you wind down and fill your well before the crazy-busy holidays?

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