May 20, 2013

"A huge tornado, perhaps a mile wide, tore through towns near Oklahoma City on Monday, flattening homes and businesses..."

"... starting fires and sending residents scrambling to find friends and neighbors possibly buried in rubble. There were no immediate reports of injuries...."

36 comments:

edutcher said...

I've heard being in the middle of tornado is similar to being nuked in terms of the energy expended.

bagoh20 said...

The video and photos are amazing. Such devastation. It looks like a giant walked through just stomping down on everything that stood upright for blocks.

Methadras said...

This is one of the primary reasons I will never live in the midwest. I'll take my chances with the ground moving instead.

rhhardin said...

Building sides and roofs are wings.

A little pressure but over a huge area sets it flying in respective directions.

It's not like an explosion, just relentless lift.

Of course something can then fall on you.

Tim said...

The Sandy relief bill was stuffed with non-Sandy pork. It was, and is, a disgusting pig trough. No one begrudges real, honest relief. The constant graft is ruining the country.

Ambrose said...

The climate change crowd won't let this tragedy go to waste. How long do you think they will wait?

Big Mike said...

This is because of global cooling. We need to drive the long way to work in gas guzzlers and run our air conditioners down to 68 degrees!

Do it for the children!

Big Mike said...

@Ambrose, I beat 'em to it!

AJ Lynch said...

First of all, why don't we all consider saying a prayer that the loss of life is only a few people?

And don't let jerks turn this into a political issue.

bpm4532 said...

A tornado is NOTHING like a nuclear bomb. Blast winds exceed the speed of sound. Then there's radiation and heat.

A nuclear bomb would vaporize a tornado.

AllenS said...

The original barn on my place was flattened by high winds in 1924. The current barn was built in 1925. Since I've lived out here, we've had some terrible damaging storms and a tornado cut through a wooded area about 1 mile from my place. I've often wondered when it will be my turn.

Yesterday afternoon, the siren went off a couple of times. I turned on the local (Twin Cities) tv station and they said there were tornados forming about 20, 30 miles south of here, but they never touched down.

I'm always ready to head for the basement when that situation occurs.

Wally Kalbacken said...


bpm4532 said...

A nuclear bomb would vaporize a tornado.


Yeah, but what if...Chuck Norris was on scene? Huh, smartboy, whaddaya say now?

rhhardin said...

I like it when the distant sirens go off and the sky turns green. It's time for a bike ride.

ken in sc said...

When I was a child in Alabama, I had nightmares about tornadoes. I have seen them, been near them, and almost in them several times. They are terrifying.

BTW, a hurricane usually contains several tornadoes.

AllenS said...

Maybe some day you'll end up in my back yard, rh.

Michael said...

An idiot Democrat representative from Rhode Island took the occasion of the tornado to castigate the anti-science GOP on the topic of global warming, climate change. See? Today weather is climate.

Crimso said...

The death toll is considerably worse than Sandy Hook. Let's not allow the political exploitation to be proportional. Please.

Pete said...

I think I may be the only Okie Althouse commenter out here. We're fine - the killer tornado passed about a mile from our home - but many, many people aren't and could use your prayers. It sounds like the news will only get worse before it gets better.

rhhardin said...

Drudge reporting 24 elementary school children killed.

That means ratings gold.

Elle said...

I think I've lost my sense of humor with the news of 24 3rd graders dead. Usually, I find you charming Titus. Not so much tonight, here in Texas, under a tornado watch.

Usual lurker - Elle

Pete said...

Elle, Titus' act grew stale and unfunny a long time ago.

rhhardin said...

This is great news for Obama!

Because look squirrel.

Women will obsess over 24 kids, and the networks will have to carry it until their interest wanes in about three weeks.

Obama will have something to say for them.

AllenS said...

At least 51 killed.

AllenS said...

What? Should his comments be on another thread? The food thread?

Titus said...

Fuck you Meade. I can post wherever I want.

And you don't even work or have like a job.

Now get to the teabagger rally which condems federal monies being given to taker states and pork.

Craig Landon said...

It's not Titus, whoever that may be. It'a a cretin.

caseym54 said...

What is really upsetting is that anyone who lives in these areas KNOWS they need a plan to get to the nearest shelter when the warning comes. Few would build a home with such a shelter.

Yet, these elementary schools best plan was to tell kids to hug the walls. There was at least 10 minutes warning, why weren't all the kids in the school shelter? (And if there wasn't one, someone should hang.) Criminal negligence not to be able to protect kids in a place where tornadoes are commonplace.

Kelly said...

Titus is just upset because there were some really cute guys killed, he'll never have a chance at them. Let him mourn.

Cedarford said...

rhhardin said...
Drudge reporting 24 elementary school children killed.

That means ratings gold.

=======================
Unfortunately, you are right. This tornado long since crossed the threshold that means 3 days of saturation news coverage for ratings, and guarantees a slew of human interest and Heroic Heroes! stories as well as the personal visit of the Grief Counselor in Chief. And scumbag pols coming out of the woodwork to push agendas from Global Warming to the need for more hero dogs and more mmoney for this or that group.

Hard to say what the magic number is for natural disasters. Of dead, with kids obviously of higher value to ratings - a bunch of dead in a school beats a bunch of dead in a flattened nursing home any day.

For mass killings it seems that 7 is the lucky number.
For terrorism, anything with an airplane or if more than two people are killed.
Natural disasters seem to vary with the newsworthiness of the force of nature (novelty is better...Hurricans happen all the time, tsunami do not) the proximity to NYC or Washington DC, how many children, pets, or wild animals that melt women's hearts are involved.

Freeman Hunt said...

Generally school hallways are very safe. If you're in the hall, you have two cinder block walls on either side of you to shield you from the outside. I grew up in Oklahoma and Arkansas, and going to the hall is how every school does it. Tornadoes this strong are rare.

Freeman Hunt said...

Additionally, only in the most extreme tornadoes are cinder block or brick walls taken out.

Quaestor said...

edutcher wrote:
I've heard being in the middle of tornado is similar to being nuked in terms of the energy expended.

Nuclear weapons are often classified having the equivalent explosive power of so many thousands of tons of TNT, i.e. the so-called kiloton. On the other hand scientists prefer to speak in terms of more clearly defined and comparable units. Consequently the famous Little Boy U235 weapon used against Hiroshima had a yield of 67 TeraJoules (or 67 x 10^12 Joules. A Joule is the energy needed to move a mass of 1 newton a distance of 1 meter, or in more familiar terms a cup of coffee moved about 1 yard.) Comparing this figure to the oft-quoted 16 kiloton estimate for the Hiroshima bomb give 4.2 Joules per kiloton, give or take. A Force Three tornado is estimated to expend about 3 x 10^12 Joules during it life, which is 3/4 of a kiloton, give or take, a bit less than the W33 8-inch nuclear artillery shell of the 1950's.

However, a weapon is always more powerful than a tornado (power is energy factored with time) A bomb expends its energy over a few milliseconds, while a tornado may live 5 minutes to as much as an hour.

Paddy O said...

I've been through devastating fires, earthquakes, all very destructive.

I simply can't imagine a tornado.

For those who are safe, it is good to hear.

For those who lost so much, my prayers are with you.

JAL said...

It's late. It's dark. And they are still searching with more than 90 dead.

Looking at the pictures I am struck by the devastation (the hospital uppers walls are ripped off)-- the smashed cars and houses. It seems like many more should have died.

I am sad for those people and pray that comfort finds them.

rhhardin said...

Disaster is entertainment.

That interest has survival value if it's a few blocks over and you can chip in and help.

That interest at a distance is dysfunctinal self-entertainment at somebody else's expense.

Politicans hook into it immediately and women think they're good people.

You don't want women voting, or at least they need to upgrade their voting patterns if they want to be considered adults.

The women's instinct is dysfunctional in politics, whatever value it has elsewhere in life.

Peter said...

'Quaestor' said, ..."A Joule is the energy needed to move a mass of 1 newton a distance of 1 meter, or in more familiar terms a cup of coffee moved about 1 yard ..."

Not to be picky, but a Newton is a unit of force, not a unit of mass!

And a Joule is perhaps better understood as one Watt-second. Which is not very much energy, as there are 3,600 * 1000 = 3,600,000 of them in one kilowatt-hour (kwh). (Your electric utility charges about thirteen cents for one kwh of (electric) energy.)

Other than that, 'Quaestor's analysis is absolutely correct: explosions release a tremendous amount of power because all their energy is released over a very short time. And it's that extremely high power that can make them very lethal indeed.


(For the science challenged, power is the rate at which energy is produced or consumed. That is, the relationship between energy and power is like the relationship between miles and miles per hour.)

________

(And, BTW, if you can get the units to come out right on a physics exam then chances are you've got the right answer. Even if you have no idea how you got that answer, or what it means.)