Tagged: Tornadoes

Tulsa, Oklahoma still cleaning up after the weekend’s tornado

I am currently tuning in the coverage online from Tulsa of the aftermath of a tornado that struck overnight on the weekend in the city. It sounds like a lot of businesses, including food joints like TGI Fridays and Whataburger, got hit hard. It sounds like multiple tornadoes hit, including an F-2. Worse yet, it happened at night when most people were sleeping, so many people didn’t expect this.

It’s really unusual for this sort of thing to happen in the month of August in that part of the world. Usually it is around May when the massive tornadoes happen there and all the storm-chasers are descending, and August is known more for hurricane activity than tornadoes. But I suppose it can happen any time. Of course, my own home province was hit by tornadoes last month, but those steered clear of the major cities. Ones in Oklahoma tend to hit the populated areas — ask the residents of Moore, OK about their experiences in particular.

I can’t imagine life in a place like Oklahoma, which every year is threatened by tornadoes hitting populated areas. Wildfires are far easier to deal with, in my opinion.

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Bad tornado day in New Orleans

I don’t know what it is that is behind all these tornadoes breaking out this early in the year. 

Normally, it is the spring when tornado season begins, as I have said before, but it has obviously started way too early and it is the Deep South that has been in the crosshairs lately. Today, it was east New Orleans that got socked. 250 homes damaged. 

As an aside: it sure seems like there has been a lot of New Orleans news here at the blog lately — particularly news about the late Joe McKnight and that whole road-rage murder case, which is what it is now.

Scary tornado situation this weekend in the Deep South. PDS warnings in Florida.

While some of us are comfortably sitting at home watching the Atlanta Falcons dismantle the Green Bay Packers on TV, others in Georgia and all around the Deep South have been hiding in their basements because of tornadoes. 

A really bad tornado ripped through Mississippi yesterday, with four lives lost. Today, there was major damage in Georgia, and there are three PDS-warned storms in Florida alone as we speak. It’s kind of unheard of for the weather to be this tornadic so early in the calendar year, and also unusual for the Deep South to be in the bullseye, but that is indeed the case. 

Meanwhile, folks up north like to complain about all the snow. Trust me, northerners, you do not want to be in Florida today.

Folks in the South, pay close attention to weather warnings today — that is way more important today than what is going on in these football games.

Tornadoes, oil spill impact highlights a bad several days for Saskatchewan

It has been a generally miserable last few days of bad news for folks here in the province of Saskatchewan. 

Not only did we have the Husky oil spill in the North Saskatchewan River that has sent communities scrambling to replace their water supply, but now we also have tornadoes! Seriously — it’s getting to be as bad as Oklahoma or Kansas. This past weekend, we had F-2 tornadoes hitting near the Yorkton-Melville area, one of them causing lots of damage to a farmhouse, and then just yesterday another one hit near Regina Beach

Just today, our own region as well as central Alberta has also been under a tornado watch. As if we needed any more things to go wrong after this oil spill. 

What’s next for us now, an earthquake? A missile strike by North Korea? Who knows?

Oh, and to top it off, the Saskatchewan Roughriders are a crummy 1-4 in the CFL under Chris Jones, and have just been slapped with fines by the league for violating the import ratio. So yeah, this whole province is in a good mood right now.

Bad last couple of days of Kansas tornadoes; more of them are likely today

It has been a rough few days for people in Kansas dealing with tornadoes hitting the state, and more of them look like they could be on the way tonight. 

Some communities are already dealing with the carnage from the last batch of storms: yesterday in Dickinson County, eight homes were destroyed and up to 20 more damaged. That was an EF-4 tornado. Two days ago, twin tornadoes hit near Dodge City, Kansas! So it’s been a rough go for people there, but great for the storm chaser crowd.

As I said, central Kansas looks like it is in the bullseye today again. I may go online and look for live streams from storm chasers, although they are getting harder to find now that TVNweather has gone belly-up. They were great for storm streaming, but closed down just recently. Oh, well. 

It doesn’t look like Oklahoma is quite in the direct bullseye tonight, which is good because the locals there need the power to stay on so they can watch the Oklahoma City Thunder topple the Golden State Warriors in the Western finals.

In other “news from America”, I notice Donald Trump was in North Dakota today where he officially clinched the number of delegates needed for the GOP nomination.

It’s tornado season!! Big storms in the forecast for Tuesday in Tornado Alley!

Well, we are at that time of year again folks. 

That is right, it’s tornado season. It is the season in which Americans in Kansas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Texas and other states routinely head to their storm shelters to hide from Mother Nature. 

And while I am tempted to gloat, the fact is I am living in the Saskatchewan version of “Tornado Alley” right now, so we have to worry about these things as well. The difference here is that we really don’t have to worry for at least a few more weeks. Those folks down there have to worry RIGHT NOW. Yikes.

Yesterday, in between hockey games, I tuned in to see some of the tornado activity going on in central Kansas, and potentially even worse weather is in store for this week. The storm chasers are all set for a big chase day tomorrow, Tuesday. The Weather Channel has a grim-looking forecast out for tomorrow and Wednesday, and the folks there seem really worried about what could transpire on the plains. We don’t know exactly where the storms will hit but it’s still a scary forecast, in general.

All the usual chasers are down there right now, and some of them are getting an early start looking for storms. I notice the local Saskatchewan storm chasing team the Tornado Hunters (of CMT Canada fame) are down there this week as well. So this system should be worth watching for the severe weather fans. We shall see what transpires tomorrow; hopefully it won’t be too awful for people.

Rough weather in Texas; blizzards and tornadoes on the same day in the same state

Hopefully for you it was a Merry Christmas. It sounds like it was good weather for a lot of people, as there were record highs throughout the Northeast on Dec. 25. But unfortunately, it was not the case for everyone. 

Texas in particular was very hard hit yesterday with the Dallas area, and Garland in particular, badly hit by tornadoes last night. 

11 people were killed and something like 600 buildings damaged. Tornadoes are almost unheard of at this time of year — usually May is the biggest month for them in Texas, so for this sort of thing to happen in December was really unusual. 

Add to that the fact that the western part of the state was hit by a blizzard the same day — something noticed by viewers to CBS’ hilarious telecast of the Sun Bowl game between Miami and Washington State in usually sunny El Paso. It was hilarious, in part, because they had Allie LaForce interview this shirtless Washington State fan with the snow falling at the Sun Bowl

Unfortunately, what happened in the rest of the state was no laughing matter. The weather this year is crazy.

That huge tornado on the ground in Manitoba proved pretty epic for the storm chasers #mbstorm

I followed on Twitter and on the TVN weather app much of the storm-chasing action from last night, and it proved hugely entertaining for weather fans, though it was far less entertaining for western Manitoba’s farmers and insurance people. 

That huge storm that developed in southeast Saskatchewan not only produced a tornado that touched down in western Manitoba, but it was a huge tornado that stayed on the ground for at least a couple of hours! Maybe even three hours! That is unheard of, folks. Surely, this must have been an F-5, the type of storm you might see in a place like Oklahoma or Kansas.

Chaser Greg Johnson was on it and he called it a “monster” and one of the top four tornadoes he’s ever seen. Fortunately, this storm missed the major cities, and a good thing, too because it could have caused huge problems. This shows you how southern Manitoba, southern Saskatchewan, really is in the bullseye when it comes to these sorts of storms.

Moreover the storm chasers had nailed the location of the tornado almost spot-on and got some amazing shots of it. Columnist and Estevan resident Brian Zinchuk wrote a column about the big storm and marvelled at how the storm chasers were able to correctly pinpoint where this tornado was going to land.  

Update: now they are saying this tornado on the ground is rated as a high-end F-2. F-2?! Really, that low? 

Scary evening of storms/tornadoes brewing for southern Saskatchewan #skstorm

I am spending this evening watching the weather coverage focusing on southern Saskatchewan. The forecast for down there is frightening. There is a tornado watch in the southeast and the storm chasers have all descended on that area looking for the storm action. In many other parts of the province, there are predictions of very heavy rain and some major flooding. 

Yikes! At least where I am, all we are getting is just some rain. We’ll let someone else get the really bad stuff, for a change. I’ll keep you posted.

Tornado storms bearing down on Shreveport and Little Rock areas

Currently watching a hairy evening of tornadoes unfolding in Oklahoma

I have a four-day long weekend off, so I am spending today watching horse racing, auto racing and live streaming tornado coverage from Oklahoma, where a tornado is on the ground! Aaargh!

All in all, I am glad I am up here and not down there, but on the flip side this violent sort of weather could well be our situation here in Saskatchewan in another month.

Tornadoes make a mess in Oklahoma. Again.

I spent this evening watching TV news coverage online from Oklahoma City, the vicinity of which got hit today by tornadoes. 

Apparently there were a few of them. Norman, Oklahoma got hit, and then in the evening metro Oklahoma City got hit by another tornado as well. On the news they were showing live footage of signs that were blown out and a hotel that got smashed. And there was massive flooding down there as well, people were saying it was life-threatening driving on the roads because of all the floods. 

So following the coverage of the tornado outbreak was what I was up to tonight. Apparently other parts of the USA including Kansas got hit as well, and the severe weather threat continues on down there tomorrow. Again I am glad I am up here and not down there — though I have to remind myself we are getting closer and closer to severe weather season up here as well.

Tornado threat in US; concern about Kansas, Oklahoma at the moment

I am currently following the live severe weather coverage from the USA. There are a ton of storm chasers on the ground right now in Oklahoma and Kansas looking for tornadoes, and there’s concern about Missouri being a possible target as well with Weather Channel listing the TorCon around Joplin, Missouri at 6. 

But so far today, nothing has hit Joplin yet. It seems the storm around Medicine Lodge, Kansas (what an epic name) is attracting the most interest right at the moment, but that could change. Tomorrow has potential to be a big day as well, with a wide area targeted for possible activity.

So you tornado-chaser fans will want to follow all your favorite chasers about now. That’s all from me, now back to watching live feeds of storms.

Stories of disaster all over the world dominate the Bad News Roundup

This will be a relatively brief Bad News Roundup tonight as I continue to watch live coverage on the Web this evening of the tornadoes that hit Oklahoma today.

I find it very odd that we are still in March and already talking about tornadoes hitting the USA; usually they hold off for another month. It was a pretty extensive system that hit today — one of the twisters hit the Tulsa area while another hit Moore, Oklahoma, which has been hit by tornadoes so many times that it’s insane. As well, the Oklahoma City area was getting baseball-size hail. 

One of the TV stations there is saying the storm was so bad that it brought down the powerful KOMA and KOKC radio transmitter! Their signal is so strong you can hear it easily up here on the Canadian prairies. I guess I won’t be able to tune in to the right-wing American talk show hosts on 1520 AM at night from Oklahoma City for a while.

Folks here in frozen Canada shouldn’t complain about all the snow we’ve been hit with. What would you rather get — snow, or tornadoes?! 

In other news the world is in shock over the Germanwings plane crash in the French Alps that killed so many people. Saw reports that German chancellor Angela Merkel and French president Francois Hollande were there surveying the damage. This story keeps on getting stranger and more disturbing. Some of the latest reports are now saying the pilot may have been locked out of the cockpit! Stay tuned.

The Robert Durst stories keep on coming. Now there’s stories about how he may be linked to the disappearance of a woman in Vermont.

And finally, Jeremy Clarkson was not renewed by the BBC today in light of that punch-up incident involving him and that TV producer. I’m sure fans of Top Gear consider this to also be a “disaster” and “bad news,” but on the flip side, this could mean some new viewers for ITV when they pick Clarkson up. 

That’s it for the moment.

Wild day of tornadoes in Saskatchewan yesterday

If you were wondering what I was up to Saturday, I was being chased by a big storm all the way on the highway to Saskatoon. As it turned out this storm produced some scary tornadoes south of the city. 

That was interesting. Hopefully, the weather here will improve and people here can maybe actually enjoy summer for a change.

Nebraska’s scary day of the twin tornadoes

Wow, this has been a frightening year for storms in Nebraska. Today, the state took yet another hit with two powerful tornadoes hitting the small town of Pilger, Nebraska.

It was really scary because two twin tornadoes were on the ground and spinning at the same time, within sight of each other. I happened to see some videos of it posted on YouTube and elsewhere, and it was a scary sight.

It sounds like half of Pilger was flattened, with several injuries and at least one person killed. Sad times.

Also, another tornado developed later in the evening in Nebraska near Burwell, and I watched that one develop live on TVN’s livestream.

I sure hope these tornadoes don’t develop up here where I am later this summer, but I’m quite concerned about all this severe weather striking as far north as it is doing right now. Another month from now, this could be the same situation Saskatchewan faces. Stories of Nebraska already getting hit by tornadoes, and North Dakota getting hit not too long ago, are worrisome indeed.

Keep your eye on the weather updates in SW Sask, tornado watches are in effect #skstorm

There have been some weather forecasts in the last 24 hours predicting possible supercell storms in southwest and south-central SK today. Apparently, the forecast is so bad that it has apparently even attracted famous storm chaser Reed Timmer here to SK again to chase tornadoes.

Whether this threat comes true is another story, entirely, as chasers have been wrong before.

Keep your eye on the storm chasers on Twitter at #skstorm and the live streaming action at TVNWeather and on Greg Johnson’s Tornado Hunter site later this afternoon. Also be sure to watch The Weather Network and stay tuned to Environment Canada.

Tornado Watches have now been issued for a good portion of the southwest including Swift Current and Moose Jaw, extending right to the US border. We’ll see if any of these become Warnings if storms develop. Keep in mind Watford City, ND got hit by a big tornado a couple of days ago, so be sure to take any weather threat today seriously.

Stay alert and stay alive today, folks.

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Update: Well, we didn’t get tornadoes but there were big storms across Saskatchewan, and I notice Greg Johnson had to call for help to get his vehicle out of the mud. Hairy stuff.

Now a recap of yesterday’s big tornado day in Watford City

I hope you Americans spent a happy Memorial Day Monday dodging all the tornadoes going on.

I noticed the storm chasers were mainly running around Texas on the live streams yesterday. But maybe they should have been in North Dakota instead, where a big spectacular tornado touched down near Watford City in the heart of oil country there.

This has me a little concerned because North Dakota is a bit too close to home for my liking. This is the state where Sask. people do their cross-border shopping! In fact, I remember only a few years ago that a Saskatchewan resident was actually killed by a tornado in North Dakota.

If this tornado activity is happening in North Dakota already, I don’t imagine it will take long for tornadoes and big storms to start hitting Saskatchewan.

In fact, storms hit our province just the other day, too. We do not need any more of this weather mayhem.

Apparently the forecast is calling for more stormy conditions in North Dakota later today. They can have their tornadoes as far as I am concerned.

Another evening of tornadoes anticipated in the Deep South

I am tuning in to the Weather Channel live stream covering the latest tornadoes in the South. Right now a tornado is on the ground in North Carolina! Last Friday, of course, a major tornado hit North Carolina and kicked off these several days of mayhem, with Arkansas particularly badly hit on Sunday and communities in Mississippi and Alabama bearing the brunt Monday. One TV station in Tupelo, Mississippi actually evacuated everyone to the basement live on the air. Check out that footage here:

Late last evening, I came back from a long city council meeting to find the tornadoes still in progress. A tornado threatened to flatten Birmingham, Alabama, but lifted just before it hit the city. I heard Al Roker was there, hiding in a hotel ballroom.

Now, today, the tornado mayhem continues, but it seems like it’s not quite as bad as what went on the other day, at least so far. Also, a lot of the storm chasers seem a little tornadoed-out today — fewer of them are on the air chasing and streaming. I think a few of them have seen enough carnage for one week.

Hopefully, this will be the last day of multiple-tornadoes for a while. There has been a lot of damage and too many people killed. In the meantime, though, I’m going to keep on listening to Dr. Greg Forbes and the rest of these tornado experts, with their live coverage.

All tornado mayhem has broken loose today in Mississippi and Alabama

Tornadoes and other stormy weather expected into Arkansas and Missouri

This is shaping up to be a bad weather day in the USA. The storm chasers are on the road right now looking for tornadoes, and the Ozarks region looks like a particular target. I was watching the Little Rock news online last night and those people there seemed particularly worried. Today, we have weather warnings from Iowa all the way down through Missouri and Arkansas. Nebraska has a tornado watch as we speak. So it looks like an active weather day down there, to say the least, the type of day that would make the locals nostalgic for blizzard season.

I plan to check out the live streams of the storm chasers, as well as the regular Weather Channel updates on the situation. This is also a good day to check out Twitter for updates and breaking weather news.

This weather down there should make folks up here who are complaining about the rain we are getting take a second look and say “this is not so bad”. Hopefully, today doesn’t turn out to be too terrible for people in the USA.

UPDATE: Well, it was predicted to be bad, and it was. A big tornado hit and stayed on the ground in Arkansas northwest of Little Rock, with the Mayflower and Vilonia areas badly hit.

The whole system hit several states, with fatalities reported in Quapaw, Oklahoma. Sad times.

Guess what folks, it’s tornado season! And guess who’s chasing them again? That’s right, Mike Bettes

It is Tornado season!! Starting next Monday the Weather Channel will have Tornado Week, where they will be showing special programming and attempting to chase tornadoes all over the US Plains. Should be a nice change from their blizzard coverage that lasted all winter.

Guess who is chasing tornadoes again this season for the Weather Channel?

You guessed it: Mike Bettes.

That’s right, the same guy whose crew was almost killed in the now-infamous El Reno tornado, a storm that totalled his Weather Channel vehicle last year, is planning to be back on the road again. Why, I don’t know. You would think he would have learned his lesson by now, but I guess he can’t help it.

Apparently a few changes are in the works. One is the Weather Channel plans not to chase storms in metropolitan areas. Clearly, that proved a big issue last year because all the storm chasers were continually running into traffic on the roads in the Oklahoma City area, roads being clogged up by panicked people fleeing for their lives. As a result, people couldn’t get out of there.

Kansas seems better for chasing tornadoes, in my view, because there is basically nothing but countryside in most places there. Oklahoma, though, has far too many people and too much traffic. Texas is even worse, especially around Dallas-Fort Worth.

Another group planning to start storm chasing soon is Greg Johnson and his crew from Saskatchewan. That’s another group who got caught up in the same F-5 El Reno twister last year. No doubt, they will probably be taking similar precautions.

I plan to follow their activities, as well as the activities of all the other storm chasers on TVNWeather and other similar sites. Tomorrow is apparently supposed to be a big severe weather day in Oklahoma. From the sounds of it on Twitter, “Tornado Hunter” Johnson and his team are headed down there right now to be in position for some chasing.

We’ll see if something happens — hopefully it’s nothing too serious, but you never know.

SASK. STORM RECAP

TORNADO WATCHES FOR SASKATCHEWAN

A scary weather day is unfolding in Saskatchewan. Much of the southern portion of the province including Saskatoon and Regina are under Tornado Watches. There were already Severe Thunderstorm warnings out for a few places but those are now lifted, for the time being anyway.

Here’s what the Weather Network had to say about the situation. Chris Scott of the Weather Network already tweeted there were going to be “‘Oklahoma-style’ t-storms for Saskatchewan today.”

Whenever any forecasting higher-up invokes the word ‘Oklahoma’ to describe the weather situation, folks had better take notice. That’s exactly the type of word used to get peoples’ attention.

I have a few links to share on where Saskatchewan folks can get weather information today. Obviously, there’s Environment Canada Weather (including their radar page) and the Weather Network, but Twitter is a good resource by using the hashtag #skstorm.

As well, Tornado Hunter Greg Johnson plans to be live streaming today, and I expect the same activity over at TVN Weather. Also good in these weather situations is CKOM and CJME who usually cut in for live coverage in storm situations.

That’s all I have for now. Hopefully these storms today won’t be too terrible.

FRIDAY’S DEADLY OKLAHOMA TORNADO WAS EF-5

Some more news about last week’s horrible El Reno tornado. The death toll is now up to 18 people. As well, the National Weather Service now rates it as EF-5 and not EF-3 as before.

Well, that’s more like it! That rating is more in line with the freaked-out reactions from storm chasers when they saw this tornado develop on Friday. That’s more in line with what I was seeing on the live streams! It sure looked like the worst tornado I had ever seen. It turns out now that’s exactly was it was. According to the weather people, this tornado was 2.6 miles wide, a record width.

Thank heavens this tornado fizzled out before it was able to ransack Oklahoma City! Who knows how much carnage would have been inflicted.

I should also note that the local TV weather people there continue to take a beating on social media for suggesting to panicked viewers they should drive south to get out of the way of the storm. The criticism is that so many of those folks wound up in traffic jams and couldn’t get out of the way.

Here’s my suggestion. Instead of going south, why not go west and move to California, like so many Oklahomans have done before? Then you won’t need to worry about any more tornadoes!

Hey, it was at least a shot at humor.

Of course, by moving to flat-broke California, you are only trading in EF-5 tornadoes for EF-5 earthquakes. Personally, though, after seeing what’s gone on the last two weeks in metro OKC, I’d rather take my chances with the earthquakes.

ROB FORD, MIKE DUFFY, AND OF COURSE TORNADOES LEAD THIS EDITION OF THE ‘BAD NEWS ROUNDUP’

Welcome to the Bad News Roundup, a new feature here at the blog where we run down all the latest bad news going on in the world. Whether it be weather disasters in Oklahoma, terrorist attacks in London, or deaths of famous people (Jean Stapleton), we’ve got you covered.

Actually, I was  thinking of doing something like this around the same time that Angelina Jolie was having that double mastectomy. But then I thought, this is bound to depress the readers. Who needs bad news? Then I realized every item on CNN was bad news so I might as well keep up with CNN. So here we go.

Well, the death toll is in from the Oklahoma City tornado. Nine people killed, and apparently many of the deaths happened on the highway with people fleeing for their lives. A lot of the deaths happened on I-40 west of the city.

A lot of know-it-all-type media people, most of them not from Oklahoma, are now taking Oklahomans to task for being on the road running for their lives, and criticizing the media for encouraging this behavior.

To which my response is: if these folks didn’t have a storm shelter, fleeing for your life is the best possible option in the face of a possible EF-5. Really, your only hope was to flee, because staying in some interior room was going to be no help if your entire house got blown to pieces. After what had happened in Moore two weeks earlier, I also think there were also a lot of panicked people, too. Anyway, all this highlights the need for people to be able to have storm shelters or somewhere underground to hide in the event of an EF-5 tornado.

As for people trashing the storm chasers for their “reckless” behavior, I say give them a break. They were providing a lot of good information to a lot of news organizations and telling people exactly what was happening. It wasn’t all reckless thrill-seeking by a lot of them. Still, I think there will have to be a lot of individual soul-searching by people about how they chase tornadoes after the experience a lot of them had Friday.

We all know that the storm chasers took a direct hit when the tornado in El Reno took a sudden turn in their direction. And we all know the close call the Weather Channel crew had when the storm totalled one of their vehicles, sending them to hospital.

Now we have learned there were actually some storm-chasing fatalities with this system. Among those killed was Tim Samaras, a veteran storm-chaser who had appeared in the popular Storm Chasers show on Discovery Channel. Also killed was his son Paul Samaras and another chaser Carl Young.

Sad times indeed.

In the end, this tornado was rated an EF-3 and did most of its work in the rural areas before petering out.  Oklahoma City was very lucky not to have suffered another total disaster — although now the real issue is flooding from all that softball-sized hail they got hit with.

On to other news. I now feel compelled to discuss the situation with Mayor Rob Ford and that gong show of his in Toronto over that alleged video that Ford had used crack cocaine. I call this “alleged” because this video has not actually been made public as of yet, so it could be doctored for all anyone knows. Two reporters from the Toronto Star also claim to have seen the video.

Gawker has managed to raise $200,000 to purchase the video  so all the world can see it, but so far, nothing has seen the light of day.  As for the rest of the media, the piling on has been going non-stop. Lately, there has been non-stop continuing coverage of the long list of staffers quitting or being fired from the mayor’s office.

I intend to say more about this entire situation at some point when I finally get around to writing a column on the subject for the paper. Overall, I consider the coverage to be a new low for journalism in Canada generally, but suffice it to say that Ford has not helped his own cause here. He could have, and should have, gone public far earlier than he did on the issue, instead of taking his vow of silence that he did. He should have either denied the allegations immediately if they were not true , or taken responsibility for his problems if they were true.

Honestly, if he really does have a drug problem, he should show leadership and get treatment for it, and be done with it. Heck, former Alberta Premier Ralph Klein went and admitted he had a drinking problem, and he survived politically.

The problem, though, is that Ford has so many political enemies right now that admitting any sort of drug problem will be enough for the lynch mob to come after him. Just the other day there was some sort of protest with people calling on Ford to resign. No matter what he does, Ford cannot win. So as a result, we are getting this continuous three-ring circus atmosphere at Toronto City Hall instead. (Also, he shouldn’t have referred to reporters as “maggots,” either. That didn’t look too classy.)

Meanwhile in Ottawa we have the whole situation of Sen. Mike Duffy’s expenses and his pledge to repay it, and this $90,000 gift payment from chief of staff Nigel Wright to him, which ended up costing Wright his job,  and Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s assertions that he would never have agreed to the payment if he had known about it.

This entire situation is killing Harper in the polls, as all his MPs are coming back to Parliament Hill reporting how angry the constituents are over this mess. And this mess continues to fester on with reports of Duffy reportedly lobbying for a Cabinet post and claims he wanted to speak with Harper about his expenses.  In all, this does not make the Senate look good and just creates more problems for the government, and counts as more bad news. 

That is really all the bad news I’m going to talk about for now.

OVERALL SCARY NIGHT NOT ONLY IN OKC BUT IN ST. LOUIS, TOO

I am currently watching the Weather Channel’s coverage of the tornadoes right now and they were talking about how Mike Bettes’ vehicle ended up totalled by the tornado.

Storm chaser Emily Sutton’s vehicle for News 4 in Oklahoma City apparently was in the vicinity and the windows got blown out of their car.

Also, Greg Johnson is saying on his feeds that his vehicle got a direct hit by a farm yard. Not a farm house — an entire farm yard, including the building. Yikes. Apparently his car is driveable but will need to head straight back into the shop after all this. (Also, I understand a lot of viewers of his live stream may have actually witnessed what happened live. Good heavens.)

Hearing a lot of stories of flipped-over semis and early reports of fatalities. Live updates from Oklahoma City continue on NewsOK.com. Also, we are starting to get a lot of damage reports out of St. Louis, Mo.  tonight as well. What a chaotic day.

VIOLENT TORNADO ON THE GROUND NEAR EL RENO WEST OF OKC

PDS TORNADO WATCH ISSUED IN METRO OKLAHOMA CITY. OH NO, NOT AGAIN!

Read on stormchaser Greg Johnson’s site that the weather people were about to be issuing a “Particularly Dangerous Situation” alert — a “PDS” — and he’s saying on Facebook populated areas like the Oklahoma City metro area are in the risk zone.

Good grief, that area can’t catch a break!! The live coverage is already on from News 4. Among others, one of the storm chasers reporting in to their coverage is storm-chasing legend Reed Timmer of Dominator fame. All the major-leaguers in storm-chasing seem to be down there today. That tells you a lot.

Stay tuned — the people on TV already look worried down there.

UPDATE: “PDS Tornado Watch” until midnight OKC time in Oklahoma City.

MORE LOCAL STORM COVERAGE: News 9. KOCO 5.

CAN YOU BELIEVE TORNADO ALLEY IS GETTING HIT AGAIN?

This time it was eastern Oklahoma and Arkansas that got hit by tornadoes today. I was watching Tulsa TV news who reported a place called Broken Arrow got hit.

The last two days, there were storms in Kansas and tornadoes touching down over there. Tomorrow is supposed to be another bad day, too. Aren’t you fed up yet with all these tornadoes? For the longest time this tornado season, things were awfully quiet on the plains as far as storms were concerned. But for whatever reason, all of a sudden the tornadoes have fired up just in the last two weeks.

I sure hope this isn’t a bad omen for what we could be in store for on the Canadian prairies later this year. Our Saskatchewan storm chaser Greg Johnson  was in our community here in March during a howling blizzard, and he was predicting good tornado conditions for Saskatchewan. Yikes! Well, I sure hope our storms aren’t as bad as what Oklahoma is getting now.

SOME MORE THOUGHTS ON THE MOORE, OKLAHOMA TORNADO


People are still having a hard time getting their heads around this massive Moore, Oklahoma tornado that killed 24 people Monday.

In retrospect, it is amazing the death toll isn’t higher than it is considering the scale of the carnage there, with entire neighbourhoods completely flattened. It’s confirmed now that the tornado was an EF-5, the highest possible ranking.

A lot of people are comparing the damage to what happened to Joplin, Missouri two years ago. The place looks like an atomic bomb hit it when you are watching on TV, and yet the death toll is as low as it is.

I think that goes to show you how aware people are in Oklahoma about tornadoes and about how well the information got out to residents about the storm. When I tuned into the storm coverage from the Oklahoma City TV stations on the Internet on Monday, they were telling people exactly which streets the funnel cloud was moving toward and telling people exactly what they had to do. One weather guy on the air was telling people they were going to die if they stayed anywhere above ground in the path of this monster storm. So people made sure they were out of the way. Information went a long way towards saving lives down there.

On the other hand — apparently there still are homes there that do not even have storm shelters. Good grief, man, this ought to be a basic requirement everywhere in Oklahoma and in Kansas, too! This is the heartland of Tornado Alley, the place that’s always targeted and hit by them! It’s harrowing enough to live somewhere that is always hit by EF-5 tornadoes, but it’s crazy and stupid if you don’t build storm shelters to save peoples’ lives. I’m with the mayor of Moore who says every new home built there should require a storm shelter by law. It just makes for basic common sense.  

That is enough writing from me about tornadoes. I’m sick of them, and I hope this is the end of them for a few days, at least.

TODAY’S EVENTS IN TORNADO ALLEY SUMMED UP BY THREE WORDS: WHAT A MESS

Here’s the link to the CNN story on today’s tornadoes that hit not just the Oklahoma City and Wichita areas, but also Iowa (ending 359 days without a tornado) and apparently even Illinois.

The area around OKC, though, seem to have gotten the worst of it, with lots of levelled homes and flipped semis, and at least one person killed. Those tornadoes down there in Oklahoma were MASSIVE.

I find it hard to imagine tomorrow being worse of a day than today was, but the predictions are for more storms tomorrow in Tornado Alley, including in — oh no, not again! — Oklahoma and Kansas.

METRO OKLAHOMA CITY NOW UNDER TORNADO WARNING

IT’S SUNDAY, AND TORNADO ALLEY IS IN THE BULLSEYE TODAY AGAIN

Yesterday was an interesting one in western Kansas as some tornadoes were spotted landing on the ground. Apparently, that is the warmup act to today’s expected big event.

The predictions are for a high possibility of tornadoes over a wide area that includes central Oklahoma and eastern Kansas.

The forecasters also are openly speculating whether Iowa’s almost year-long tornado-free streak will come to an end this weekend. These weather people sound like baseball announcers — with all this talk about “streaks” and “records’! Methinks they could be in the wrong line of work.

Anyway, while Iowa is not out of the woods by any means, most of the tornado chasers have targeted our favorite Tornado Alley states Oklahoma and Kansas today. Tomorrow is supposed to be a bad day, too, with the threat moving east.

You can find all the storm chasers’ live stream efforts at TVN Weather, at Chaser TV, and at Greg Johnson’s site.

As for TV, you can find the Weather Channel live stream page here. I notice they had some live video from their own storm chasers up there yesterday.

Also, here are links to live streams of local TV news in Tornado AlleyChannel 4 KFOR and FOX 25 in Oklahoma City, NBC Channel 2 in Tulsa, and FOX 4 in Kansas City. Be ready just in case, folks.

UPDATE: TORNADO WARNING to the SW of Wichita, KS. Live stream from CBS Wichita can be found here.  

POSSIBLY BIG TORNADO WEEKEND PREDICTED: STORM CHASERS CONVERGING ON KANSAS RIGHT NOW

I am watching the live streams right now of the storm chasers on what is being widely predicted as the biggest potential weekend for tornadoes so far this year, fresh on the heels of that outbreak near Dallas-Fort Worth in which six people were killed this past week.

Right now the storm-chasers seem to be running around an area in west Kansas, in between Dodge City and Hays, Kansas.  The storms look like they are firing up as we speak. If you want to see some live streams from the storm chasers, here’s TVN Weather here. Also, Saskatchewan tornado-chaser Greg Johnson is down there, too, in his new storm-chasing vehicle, and you can find his live stream here.

I HEREBY DECLARE WINTER TO BE OVER, FINALLY

At least, where I am, where we have finally had temperatures over 20 degrees Celsius (though this is actually not considered to be such good news, according to the “News.) 

Winter also appears to be finally over south of the border, to be replaced by — TORNADO SEASON. Again, not such good news, according to the “News.”

According to the Weather Channel reports I’ve been reading, it appears Kansas, Oklahoma and north Texas could be in line for severe weather by Thursday, with an elevated tornado threat — though it looks like the main threat is going to be hail. So be ready for plenty of storm-chasers to go online to stream their video online on that day.

Even though we no longer are suffering through winter weather and instead are suffering spring weather, I still refuse to let these groundhogs off the hook for their lousy predictions for 2013. Groundhog Day was February 2, yet spring didn’t arrive here until May.

These prognosticating rodents were only off by three full months. This really calls for the abolition of Groundhog Day, folks, because this is incompetence of the highest order. Phil, Willie, all of you: “you’re fired!!”  

That is my final word on these sorry groundhogs, and that is it for my weather report for today. Good-day!! 

LOTS OF TORNADO WATCHES AND WARNINGS TODAY IN USA

It has been a hairy afternoon of tornado watches and warnings in the USA.  The storm chasers seem to be converging on Mississippi at the moment, but the watch area apparently stretches for 900 miles, up to Tennessee and elsewhere. Here is a look at the Weather Channel’s storm forecast for today. And that is all for now.

FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO HATE THE SNOW YOU ARE GETTING, BE GLAD YOU’RE NOT IN ST. LOUIS

SO FAR THIS “TORNADO TUESDAY” HAS BEEN A COLOSSAL WASTE OF TIME

I’m currently watching the live streams of all these storm chasers running around, but nothing is happening, and it’s getting boring, so I think I’m going to tune in to baseball instead. 

As for here we’re expecting, yes, more snow this week. This really is getting comical.

BIG TORNADO FORECAST FOR THE US CENTRAL PLAINS TUESDAY

Just a reminder to myself to tune in the coverage from the tornado chasers in the USA on Tuesday afternoon somewhere around Kansas, Oklahoma and vicinity. There’s supposed to be a decent chance of tornadoes breaking out Tuesday. 

Meanwhile, a lot of places around Utah, Colorado, Wyoming et. al. are in for winter storms and BLIZZARDS. So be ready for an interesting day tomorrow. As far as I am concerned, the USA can have this weather and keep it.