Saturday, April 26, 2008

Tornado Warnings in the Quad Cities

The tornado sirens were wailing in the Quad Cities yesterday afternoon. The National Weather Service issued a tornado warning for an area including the Quad Cities around 3:30 pm and then extended it at 4:30 pm. Stores in Northpark and Southpark shopping malls, presumably following some establish tornado warning policy, were shuttering their stores and moving people to "safe" locations. My daughter, who was terrified of thunderstorm as a child and now although all grown up at 18 still feels uneasy about them, phoned me from her job at Southpark to ask me if she should be worried. With the same certainty in my voice as that of a physicist dismissing reports of a perpetual motion machine I assured her there were not going to be any tornados anywhere near us. True to my word, by the time the thunderstorms reached the Quad Cities the storm cells had weakened and become less organized, as has happened so many times before and there were no tornados.

Although I would never claim that no tornado could ever possibly hit the Quad Cities, except when reassuring my daughter, I think a gambler could make a lot of money always betting against a tornado actually touching down in the Quad Cities, at least the older parts of the cities below the hill near the Mississippi and in the Illinois Quad Cities between the Mississippi and the Rock rivers. When you watch the storms on the television radar you can see the storm cells weaken as they reach the Quad Cities. It probably has something to do with the way the Mississippi flows due west here, the geography of the Rock River valley meeting the Mississippi River valley or something.

I guess since these storms did produce a little bit of tornado damage at a couple of spots before they reached the Quad Cities the Weather Service was right to issue the warnings. And I guess in public places it is prudent to evacuate people when there is a tornado warning. I just wish I could figure out a way to make money off of all these warnings. If I could find someone willing to bet there would be a tornado I think I could make some money.

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