More than 70 tornadoes were reported across various states over Mother’s Day weekend. The deadly EF-3 tornado that struck Van, Texas (North Central) was 700 yards wide and traveled on the ground for 9.9 miles.

National Geographic reports that more storms are expected in upcoming days, but precise tornado prediction in advance remains difficult despite recent advancements in weather science. Most tornadoes tend to occur in May and June when conditions are likely more favorable for tornado formation. According to the report, tornadoes kill an average of 60 people per year, and most deaths are caused by flying debris.

Hico, TX Supercell, April 26, 2015

Hico, TX Supercell, April 26, 2015

Most intense tornadoes emerge from supercell thunderstorms:

The most intense tornadoes emerge from what are called supercell thunderstorms. For such a storm to form, you first “need the ingredients for a regular thunderstorm,” says Brooks.

Those ingredients include warm moisture near the surface and relatively cold, dry air above. “The warm air will be buoyant, and like a hot-air balloon it will rise,” says Brooks.

Over the weekend at our residence in the Lake Texoma area we learned (to my horror) that we cannot hear the warning sirens. Our TV and internet was the first thing to go in the storm(s)- which sounded like a bombing raid. We were only able to get our tornado warnings, followed by our flash flood warnings on our cell phones. Of course, everyone has a plan for what to do in a tornado-warned storm. But for some reason, underground shelters do not seem to be as prevalent as they once were. What ever happened to the concept of a storm cellar? Perhaps the answer is that storm cellars no longer serve a storage purpose.

Creative Commons photo courtesy of Kelly DeLay on flickr.




  1. Alice X
    May 13, 2015 at 6:22 am

    Tornadoes and supercell thunderstorms were probably not over so easily. Ouch! I hope there was not loss of life.

  2. Beverly Lawson
    May 13, 2015 at 6:29 am

    Thanks for the information. As a girl, my mother/family were “blown away” not very far from your location. Warnings are very important. My Okla relatives were well-equipped with cellars. Please stay safe up there.

  3. Molly
    May 13, 2015 at 6:49 am

    Good morning, everyone. Very few storms here this spring. They keep being forecast (quoting NWS: “some may be severe”) and then we don’t get them, fortunately. We have had a LOT of rain and the dandelions are loving it. I have an iPhone app called “Tornado” put out by the Red Cross that gives storm warnings. Ya think for the spring/summer I should keep it in the bedroom instead of its normal charging spot in the kitchen?? Last year we had a derecho [] come through that took down lots of trees around town and took weeks to clean up, and I slept through it!!

    Off to Indianapolis today for my granddaughter’s high school choir concert, which will include her show choir that won gold in the state contest.

  4. Canyon2
    May 13, 2015 at 6:52 am

    Good morning everyone.
    Thank you for the very informative post Crane-Station.
    I have always liked to watch thunderstorms in the distance but never up close and personal.

  5. Canyon2
    May 13, 2015 at 6:53 am

    In case you missed my comment yesterday msmolly, have a safe trip.

  6. Boxturtle
    May 13, 2015 at 6:53 am

    Good Morning All!

    I speak tornado very well, coming from the area the Shawnee call “The Land of the Crazy Winds”. First piece of advice: Get a weather radio. You’ll get the alerts earlier, they’ll be more detailed. And it makes more than enough racket to wake someone up…as long as they’re not dead any more than 5 years or so.

    There are very few storm cellars in my area. After the 1974 tornado, it’s tough to sell a house without a basement and all new construction since then has had one.

    When I was a kid, I remember whenever there was a warning I’d run through the house opening windows. The theory at the time was that if you did that, your house wouldn’t blow itself to pieces from air pressure difference when the tornado passed over. They now know the tornado doesn’t care.

    Cheap storm shelter: Get two slightly busted concrete drainage pipes. They’ll likely pay you to take them. Bury one vertically, the other horizontally. Bust a hole from the vertical one to the horizontal one and add a door. Make sure you’ve got a back exit in case the tornado fills the vertical pipe with crap. Can be made with household junk that people will give you.

    Boxturtle (I can tell bad weather is coming by the way my skin feels)

  7. Boxturtle
    May 13, 2015 at 6:57 am

    Having seen tornadoes close up, it amazes me how little loss of life they cause. And a lot of the deaths are simply bad luck.

    Perhaps it’s just the reporting, but it sure seems to me like tornadoes aim at trailer parks. I think they know there are no basements there.

    Boxturtle (Or perhaps tornadoes just like the taste of Airstream’s)

  8. Molly
    May 13, 2015 at 6:59 am

    Thanks! I will. Nice to “see” you! Is school out for the year or do you still have a couple more weeks of subbing?

  9. Boxturtle
    May 13, 2015 at 7:00 am

    Our local news stations will take any opportunity to hype up the weather to drive viewership. I tend to read NWS before watching, so I can see what someone without advertisers says.

    Boxturtle (And thank’s for teaching me of derechos. Never heard of them before)

  10. Molly
    May 13, 2015 at 7:03 am

    I hadn’t heard of them either until we had one here last year. The damage (fortunately not in my immediate neighborhood) was scary. Huge trees twisted and yanked out of the ground with their roots exposed. On my bike rides I saw lots of areas of storm damage that was incredible. A local park had about a dozen huge trees uprooted and flung around like matchsticks.

  11. Boxturtle
    May 13, 2015 at 7:08 am

    On a completely unrelated subject, it seems that Obama has pissed off my local Senator to the point where he’s willing to say something in public about it. Brown tries to avoid criticizing other Dems publicly, but it looks like Obama’s comments about Sen Warren pushed him over the edge.

    Boxturtle (First attempt at posting a link in comments. Wonder if it will work)

  12. Canyon2
    May 13, 2015 at 7:08 am

    I finished working for the young lady who had the baby on Monday.
    Because my wife had a Dr. appt. yesterday they had to find a sub for a sub.
    I am leaving shortly to go over to the school to check in with Kristen to see if there are any questions about the way I handled things for the past 6 weeks. Her maternity leave is up and she had to come back before she wanted to come back.
    Bonus. I get to be with my friends on FDL/OE more often now.

  13. Molly
    May 13, 2015 at 7:09 am

    Forgive me for this little test comment. Disqus does not provide format and link tools so you have to hand-code everything. This is how Derecho should appear in a comment if it is hyperlinked (and if this works).


    It works but it doesn’t format the word so you know it is a link. Hmmm. So you have to also insert format codes.

  14. Canyon2
    May 13, 2015 at 7:11 am

    I too was angry about his comments on Senator Warren.
    He should just show all the paperwork on TPP and let us decide if it is going to be to our benefit instead of being secretive about it.

  15. Boxturtle
    May 13, 2015 at 7:11 am

    The link works for me, but it doesn’t appear that the word derecho is highlighted at all, so I wouldn’t know there was a link behind it.

    Boxturtle (There’s certainly going to be a learning curve)

  16. Molly
    May 13, 2015 at 7:13 am

    It works. I am experimenting with posting a link so the word(s) appear but not the hypertext. See below.

    And the consensus seems to be that Obama shot himself in both feet over this TPP stuff. Makes me happy. He was derisive and condescending about Senator Professor Warren (h/t Charlie Pierce) and it backfired. I’m chuckling.

  17. Boxturtle
    May 13, 2015 at 7:15 am

    I really think he went too far in his attacks on Sen Warren. But in fairness, everything he said about her on the subject of TPP I’VE said about him. Clueless. Pandering. Flat out wrong.

    I sincerely hope his breakfast this morning is mainly Tums.

    Boxturtle (And I hope he has to add Maalox to his coffee)

  18. Molly
    May 13, 2015 at 7:18 am

    He flat out lied about the TPP. Yves Smith has been deadly on the subject over at Naked Capitalism <–that's a hot link I hope

  19. Molly
    May 13, 2015 at 7:23 am

    I am trying to figure out how to put the tag for underline (the letter u in brackets) or for italics or bold INTO the code for the hyperlink so it is distinguishable as a link. More testing than I have time for this morning, but I will try to figure it out and let everyone know.

  20. Alice X
    May 13, 2015 at 7:25 am

    I have formatting forms written out in a text file which I can copy.

    I also have a macro program Quickeys for the Mac which can type text with a single keystroke. I haven’t gotten around to joining the the two.

  21. Boxturtle
    May 13, 2015 at 7:26 am

    I’ll see your chuckle and raise you a guffaw. Obama might perhaps have looked at the polls before opening his mouth and realized that matching his credibility against Sen Warren’s was a guaranteed loss. And he’s now pissed off a bunch of people whose support he needs to do anything.

    Sen Carper (D? – Delaware) was the only dem to support Obama. Sen Carper can be reached at:

    United States Senate
    513 Hart Senate Office Building
    Washington, DC 20510
    Phone: (202) 224-2441
    Fax: (202) 228-2190

    Let’s melt his phone.

    Boxturtle (Wonder what Obama promised him)

  22. Marion in Savannah
    May 13, 2015 at 7:30 am

    Good morning, pups. Today we have Friedman and Bruni. The Moustache of Wisdom, in “Moore’s Law Turns 50,” says at 86, the man himself looks back at some of the predictions he made and how they have held up. Mr. Bruni, in “The Bitter Backdrop to 2016,” says we’re blue in ways that have nothing to do with party. He then has a question: can any candidate color us confident?

    Here they are: Prof. Krugman didn’t post to his blog yesterday. (The poor bastard is cleaning out his office…)

    The coffee and tea are ready, and I’ve got a variety of bagels this morning. We have storm sirens, and they test them once a month. We can barely hear them where we are, and if there were a storm of any magnitude going on, where they might be needed, I’m sure we couldn’t hear them at all.

    In other news, RIP William Zinsser. “On Writing Well” is a treasure, and I much prefer it to Strunk and White. Time for me to get started on the day. Have a great day.

  23. Marion in Savannah
    May 13, 2015 at 7:32 am

    Puts me in mind of a joke down here:

    What’s the same about a redneck divorce and a hurricane?

    Somebody’s fixin’ to lose a trailer.

  24. Alice X
    May 13, 2015 at 7:33 am

    Elizabeth Warren, whatever progressive shortcomings in other matters, has called Crony Capitalists out by name. She uses that word. That wins her a lot of points which will stick when someone goes all smarmy on her.

    Like Zero is doing now.

    Is he playing eleven dimension chess and underneath knows the TPP is a Corporate Coup d’Etat by his making and actually wants it to fail. Does he know that if he rams it through ensuring his future billionaire status that his future bronze statues will be slung with cow manure.

    I’ll stay tuned.

  25. Boxturtle
    May 13, 2015 at 7:36 am

    Yves has been eating meat again. 🙂

    The link worked fine, but is not highlighted in any way.

    Practicing what I preach, I just tried to call Carpers office. Busy. And I dropped a line to an intern I know in Sen Browns office asking her to convey my thinks and suggesting that Brown should speak out on the subject of Obama more often.

    Boxturtle (Can you make Peking Duck with a Lame Duck?)

  26. Alice X
    May 13, 2015 at 7:36 am

    Put the italic, bold or underline (you can do strike too) around the link text.

  27. Alice X
    May 13, 2015 at 7:38 am

    An excellent series at TRNN – Ha-Joon Chang – I just ordered his latest at the Library.

    I am taking out the link, Brandon J has it covered at the Roundup.

    Meanwhile a concise read from David Dayen:

    The 10 biggest lies you’ve been told about the Trans-Pacific Partnership

  28. karenjj2
    May 13, 2015 at 7:41 am

    Good morning, firepups; and thanks for the very interesting post, C-S.

    Continuing my field testing for reading/posting comments on mobile: as i posted recently, opera will not load https: sites. I was never able to access theintercept for example. When i installed updated version of opera, i read in the “terms of service” that https sites will be inaccessible. Somebody might give the fdl techs a heads up on this. I.e. read opera’s “tos.”

    I’m currently using firefox on android and it obviously works well tho i have no clue as to how to get to settings, etc.

    Fyi, all posts are shown in their entirety on front page in easy to read format in opera –just can’t see comments which, of course, is 3/4’s of my reading pleasure. Did find that i could open comment rss and discern some of the comments by scanning thru the html.

    Going to exit android and see ’bout skyfire or other browser for my win phone.


  29. oldhippiejan
    May 13, 2015 at 7:44 am

    oldhippiejan here. None of the nooz I listened to told who the traitor was. Now that I know, guess I’ll have to throw in my tow cents worth.Thanks for the phone number. We must do whatever necessary to keep this disaster from happening.
    Still hate this damn disqus.

  30. karenjj2
    May 13, 2015 at 7:46 am

    P.s. saw new commenter asking what’s MOTU? Hope someone was able to reply and that some are keeping an eye on threads for new readers.

  31. oldhippiejan
    May 13, 2015 at 7:46 am

    oldhippiejan here. I’m positively giddy that this failed, at least for now. Have a nice trip, proud grandma, and be safe.

  32. Molly
    May 13, 2015 at 7:46 am

    I am trying to figure out where to put a format tag in the coding for the hyperlink to make it bold or italic or underlined.

  33. oldhippiejan
    May 13, 2015 at 7:50 am

    I couldn’t get it to work either, figured I’d just pissed them off with my unrelenting attempts to be oldhippiejan again. They have been just as unrelenting in refusing me to do so.

  34. Boxturtle
    May 13, 2015 at 7:51 am

    I got a reply from my friend. To summarize:

    1) *giggle*

    2) He will be speaking up more often on Obama and trade. Obama won’t like it. Brown doesn’t care.

    3) *giggle*

    4) THIS IS NOT OVER. Some of those 8 votes would have switched if it would have made a difference. 8 Dem votes are available, if Obama wants to deal.

    5) Carper has no coattails. His vote will not bring others. But If Wyden votes yes, that might be enough to pass it.

    6) Melt Wydens office phone. (202) 224-5244

    Boxturtle (P.S. *giggle*)

  35. oldhippiejan
    May 13, 2015 at 7:53 am

    oldhippiejan again. Thus far, not loving me any disqus. Any chance of changing to something else? Or even back to the old one. That frustration was about a one Xanax issue, this is becoming two.

  36. Boxturtle
    May 13, 2015 at 7:54 am

    Where? I’ll post a reply, if someone hasn’t already answered.

    Boxturtle (MOTU wannabe)

  37. oldhippiejan
    May 13, 2015 at 7:57 am

    oldhippiejan. For that to happen, he would need a conscience. I’ve seen no evidence of one thus far. Being something of an expert on Tums, the don’t work for lying, two-faced, crooked politicians. Sometimes they don’t work for people with truly legitimate worries.

  38. oldhippiejan
    May 13, 2015 at 8:04 am

    oldhippiejan here. I completely agree. Why all the secrecy? Those privileged enough to even see have been under strict guidlines, so just what the hell is in this thing that the American people can’t know about? My guess is, he sold out American workers in a completely unconscienable way. All these trade deals have been nothing but bad news for the American worker.
    It’s nice to have you back. I’m sure the lady you subbed for will be quite happy with your work.

  39. Boxturtle
    May 13, 2015 at 8:11 am

    Interesting that there is nothing on the front page of NBC, CNN or Fox about this. You’d think Fox would have enough front page space to gloat about an Obama defeat at least.

    ABC and CBS both have short blurbs a bit more than halfway down. Nothing to see here, Citizens.

    Boxturtle (Interesting that the Guardian thinks it’s bigger news than CNN does)

  40. Chris Maukonen
    May 13, 2015 at 8:11 am

    Great topic CS. As an ex Floridian and Central Florida at that, I am well experienced with thunderstorms though tornadoes not as much.

    From July through November we would get what is know as Sea Breeze Fronts. Where the moist air from East coast Atlantic sea breeze and West coast Gulf sea breeze would meet over land, rise and form large thunderstorms and drop voluminous amounts of rain and generate high winds and a large number of close lightning strikes.

    During the summer months this could occur daily and sometimes more than once a day.
    Rarely though they would spin up small local tornadic activity. Usually these cells would move west to east or sometimes east to west according the the prevailing winds. However often the upper level winds would be light and the storms would not move but rain themselves out where they generated, causing intense local flooding.

    This happened one year right over the university I worked at one evening and the water from the intense rain backed up in the storm drains and even lifted a 5 story classroom building out of the ground a couple of inches, flooding the bottom floor !

  41. Molly
    May 13, 2015 at 8:39 am

    Thanks, OHJ. I am going back down on Saturday when other granddaughters are dancing in Cinderella. I would just stay, but I have stuff to do here and everyone there is working or in school so I’d have to bat around on my own for a couple of days. Seems pointless. At least I don’t have to worry about snow and bad roads.

  42. Molly
    May 13, 2015 at 9:15 am

    But does it go around the link or around the word you want to format (in this case, Derecho)? Or maybe it doesn’t matter? Will experiment later.

  43. oldhippiejan
    May 13, 2015 at 9:15 am

    You’re a far better traveler than I. Two trips to Indy would leave me exhausted and unable to leave the house for a month. I’d just rattle around Indy by myself, trying to find something to do. Congratulations on your very talented granddaughters. As a grandmother of a high honors granddaughter, I know how proud you are.

  44. Molly
    May 13, 2015 at 9:22 am

    The trip has gotten better with the opening of the new sections of US 31. The Kokomo nightmare ended in 2013, and this past winter they finished most of the northern section (just below South Bend). I can get door-to-door in about 2 hrs. 15 min., so even down and back the same day is doable. And I like to drive, so…

    Used to make a Costco run when I went to Indy, but now there’s one here. I do still swing by Trader Joe’s and Penzey’s Spices sometimes, but it’s not enough to fill up a couple of idle days. I’ll come home and get in a couple of good bike rides.

  45. May 13, 2015 at 10:01 am

    Good morning.

    Anybody here any more? I would like to know how to code at least a link here. Haven’t studied the problem at all.

    I also have some news about my cardio visit yesterday. But I get tired of seeing my comments here dangling like a bad participle. (I wanted to say particle but strike thru not invented here yet ).

  46. dick_c
    May 13, 2015 at 10:22 am

    The easiest thing to do might be to send Brian Sonenstein an email and have him take care of it in the CSS. Disqus has a page on appearance tweaks.

  47. Boxturtle
    May 13, 2015 at 10:23 am

    I’m still around, off an on. I’ve found that including the link in clear text is enough to make it clickable. MsMolly says you have to hardcode the HTML, but it will work if you do.

    How’d the cardio visit go?

    Boxturtle (Just becasue you’ve got bum ticker doesn’t mean we can’t sell your other organs)

  48. Molly
    May 13, 2015 at 10:25 am

    I’m here. Tags are easy. Can’t put them in a comment because then they’re interpreted instead of shown. Not sure if putting them in quotes helps.

    Just to insert a link, you copy the URL and simply paste it into the comment, but it won’t be embedded. For that you have to hand code. I can send you an email.

  49. Molly
    May 13, 2015 at 10:26 am

    And tell us about the cardio visit. I am off to my Docent shift, but will be back on once I’ve arrived.

  50. Molly
    May 13, 2015 at 10:28 am

    Thanks, that is a good suggestion. I do hate to bother Brian with this, when he’s still working on just getting the site functional again.

  51. May 13, 2015 at 10:49 am

    Thanks for the feedback to both of you. I’ll look at the e-mails about the links.

    Cardio. Wow! First of all, the cardio is a lady, she is a long-haired redhead, and I love reds! (My mom was one) Second, She obviously was /is a hippie, looks to be about my kids age. Third, her name is ….Jean! Can you top this? Yes. She treated me more like a colleague than a patient, explained the overall background involving the reticence from the former cardio doc, updated me on what meds can do to further stability, changed some, understood my concerns, then signed off on EECP. So I am good to go.

    All in 20 min or so! She seemed to get that, I being an EE person, she could talk freely of the tech side and be quick and accurate to answer my questions.

    So there we are.

    BT in connection with the Fuku reporting, I’m going to send you links about a reactor at Hanford, a Fuku design GE reactor, that is subject to major problems and the efforts to push officials to act responsibly, in the next day or two so that you might include some of this in your Monday science blog. I would normally just chime in but I get up too late to catch the morning crowd.

  52. oldhippiejan
    May 13, 2015 at 11:14 am

    On the bright side Dick Cheney won’t get it.


  53. oldhippiejan
    May 13, 2015 at 11:16 am

    nothin’ wrong with being a young or old hippie.


  54. oldhippiejan
    May 13, 2015 at 11:19 am

    Was your news good or bad? I hope good. Some of us tend to come and go. Right now I’m off to mow the damn yard so won’t be back til tomorrow morning. Best of luck to you and your ticker.


  55. Boxturtle
    May 13, 2015 at 11:25 am

    Excellent. Every reactor I’ve looked at since Fuku has had glossed over flaws to allow it to continue operating. Did you know that almost NO evac plans have been updated since initially submitted? In some cases, the population of the area impacted has more than doubled but the roadways leading out of the area have stayed the same.

    Boxturtle (But since “it” can’t happen, we’re fine)

  56. May 13, 2015 at 11:26 am


  57. Molly
    May 13, 2015 at 11:27 am

    I had to look it up, so taking the opportunity to try out embedding a link. Hoping this comment doesn’t get eated because of all the links.

    Here is the bare-nekkid link:

    Here it is embedded: What is EECP? <–live link

    Here it is (I hope) embedded and underlined (*crosses fingers, hits post):
    What is EECP?

    EDIT: Whoopeee! It worked!

  58. Molly
    May 13, 2015 at 11:30 am

    That is excellent, Lawrence! Does this mean that SS will cover EECP (or maybe it already did)? Does this lovely redheaded Jean have to order the session(s) for you. I assume a specially trained doctor or nurse administers it?

    And what is special about the name “Jean”?

  59. May 13, 2015 at 12:48 pm

    “oldhippiejean” here is who I thought of! Uncanny!

    Yes, a cardiologist administers or at least, monitors the process. What is ridiculous is that basically he is qualified to sign off as well, but prevented from doing so so as not to be seen as “conflict of (business) interest! So, a surgeon can sign off on his/hers procedure to insurance, but the cardio, no!

  60. May 13, 2015 at 12:51 pm

    The bare link worked, the embedded, no, neither one.

  61. mulp
    May 13, 2015 at 1:32 pm

    “He should just show all the paperwork on TPP and let us decide if it is going to be to our benefit instead of being secretive about it.”

    That is what the debate is about:

    Will the deal be published and Congress votes up or down?

    Warren wants the deal to be published and agreed to by Japan et al, so that Warren can dictate to Japan NEW terms to the deal that she expects them to accept because after all, we have nukes and we will use them to force Japan to agree to US terms written by Warren.

    Warren is unwilling to compromise with gooks on equal terms.

  62. Ruth
    May 13, 2015 at 1:33 pm

    glad you were okay, C-S, and I imagine the spillway at Denison Dam is ‘way under water, with all the flooding from OK thrown into the storm waters there. Stay Safe!

  63. Ruth
    May 13, 2015 at 1:35 pm

    good news about the cardio, Starbuck, and the doctor. Having been friends with my own doctor, I know how good a feeling that it.

  64. May 13, 2015 at 1:42 pm

    Hi Ruth. It’s a great feeling, and she is only one of 2 physicians for which this has been a possibility. The other abandoned medical practice….

  65. Alice X
    May 13, 2015 at 2:02 pm

    Warren is unwilling to compromise with {racial epithet deleted} on equal terms.

    We’ve got your number pal!

  66. Alice X
    May 13, 2015 at 2:20 pm

    Around the word.