Twister Tales Make Scary Stories

 The Governor of Indiana proclaimed March 13-19 to be Tornado Preparedness Week.  He used to call it Tornado Awareness Week, but a conspiracy theory emerged that without awareness we might not have noticed tornadoes in the first place, and so the governor actually caused the problem. Typical government.

The Governor’s Office has denied this. However, they changed the name anyway.

I photographed this funnel cloud in Dekalb County. If it seems like I was far away, it’s because I was–and that’s the way to do it.


The biggest problem with hazardous weather is that it’s hazardous. Otherwise we’d call it Non-Hazardous Weather, and then who cares? But since it is (hazardous), there are certain preparations you should make. Oh, they won’t make the weather less hazardous, but there’s something to be said for survival.

First, develop a plan. Your plan could be to prearrange your funeral and buy a plot, which does have the advantage of being good for any natural disaster, except a zombie outbreak. Or you could assemble a disaster supply kit, with such things as food and water, medicine, booze, a little cash in case you forget the booze, and so on. A first aid kit is a good idea, along with a crescent wrench to shut off the gas after a tornado. Your home’s gas, I mean. Also, have something to keep the kids busy, otherwise you might need the first aid kit after using the crescent wrench on them.

You should also have fresh batteries for your NOAA All Hazards radio, which surely you have. Or, you could just have fresh batteries, and nothing to put them into. This is poor pre-planning. At least you changed the batteries on your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.

Didn’t you?

These twin tornadoes in Elkhart County were part of the Palm Sunday, 1965 Outbreak. Twin kids are cute; twin disasters are not.


Indiana averages around two dozen tornadoes a year, but in 2011 we saw 72. Since the peak season begins in April, it’s possible for a tornado to plow through a partially melted snow drift, then into a brush fire, producing the feared Snow/Fire Twister. Soon to be an original movie on the SyFy Channel.

All the more reason to be prepared, and that means being alert during a watch (which means severe weather may develop), or a warning (which means scream a little, pee down your leg, but get to shelter).

 Shelter is the basement, or at least an interior room on the lowest floor, or you could pretend you’re in the army and dig a foxhole really fast. Wrap up in blankets or heavy coats, or possibly pile your children and pets on top of you. Stay away from windows! In addition to broken glass, your neighbors could see you piling up your children and pets.

In cars or mobile homes, oh, boy–you picked the wrong place to be. Go find a better place, or lie flat in your car under your kids and pets, and pretend it’s a new amusement park ride. Or, if all else fails, lay down in the nearest ditch, cover your head, and … oh, who am I kidding? You’re doomed. Lay on your back and check out the view, it should be amazing.


In all seriousness, tornadoes are amazingly bad, especially at night. Take it from an expert, which means someone other than me. There’s the National Weather Service:

Which is the national service that deals with weather, and that’s good enough for me.

Then there’s the State of Indiana, which has been dealing with weather since 1816:

Go check it out, and do what you can to be prepared. Not being ready for a disaster can be disastrous.

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4 thoughts on “Twister Tales Make Scary Stories”

  1. Mark, I was not prepared for this humor piece. I do, however, like stories with a lot of twists.

    1. Well, this one has that!

      If there’s one thing I’ve learned in the emergency services, it’s that anything can be turned into a humor piece … which doesn’t mean others would necessarily find it funny.

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