Many people do not realize that there are two “tornado seasons” in the deep south, and those seasons are not far apart. Conditions are conducive around the Christmas season and also (most widely noted) in the spring. The areas affected by the April 27th storms were slammed again only a scant eight months later. Of note, this did not occur in the April 3, 1974 outbreak. By way of comparison, Hurricane Ivan struck Gulf Shores and Orange Beach dead on. Pensacola, Atmore, Evergreen, Greenville… they got rocked hard. Ivan hit on September 16, 2004. If you drive of the “beaten path” today in Gulf Shores, Perdido Key, or Pensacola, the echoes of that monster are still here. Those wounds are healing, that Ivan is now 8 years gone.
Jefferson County got mauled TWICE in under a year. Joplin, Tuscaloosa, and of course Birmingham face a long road to recovery, but they will make it. Pass Christian, New Orleans, Biloxi, Pasagoula, and all other areas devastated by Katrina are making it. Spring is coming, so as always, we need to keep watchful eyes to the skies.
What is frustrating to many atmospheric scientists, meteorologist, storm chasers, and many others, is that most people do not heed the warnings. “It will never happen to me.” is a common denominator. We all seem to lose sight of one simple truth: It is not “if”, it is “when”. I hope that you understand the fact that it is “when”.
If you are reading this blog, then please get an app for your smartphone with weather alerts or better yet, get a NOAA Weather Radio.
This was an EF3, and you can see the damge in this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DJgsm7_nP8A