How did they manage this video and survive to tell about it? The TIV, which Casey created, was specifically designed to withstand a tornado's wrath. It's essentially a Dodge truck that has turned into an armored tank that can dig itself into the ground and transform into essentially an upside-down bowl so the tornado's winds can push over and around it without taking it away.
It's not often entertainment on board a cruise ship can be upstaged but on this particular night, Mother Nature gave it a shot.
Make that, several shots...
I took this video as the Disney Fantasy sailed into the Gulf of Mexico on May 1 just hours after it left a very hot and muggy Cozumel, Mexico.
(How hot? I went back and checked when I got home and it was 86 degrees with a 73 degree dew point that evening. Or as this Seattleite said: About 3 degrees cooler than molten lava. Though I'm sure many of the Florida residents on the ship probably thought it was a bit chilly.)
Does it feel a bit like January out there Wednesday? Your skin did not deceive you.
A cold system from the Gulf of Alaska had settled into the Pacific Northwest, bringing not only a steady winter-like rain but has kept temperatures stuck in the 40s(!) through much of the day.
In fact, at 1 p.m., Portland was hovering at 46 degrees -- about the average high for mid-January.
The Rose City would finish the day with a high of 50 degrees --- the second coldest May day on record -- for any date! It shattered the daily record for coldest high temperature on May 22 which had been a "balmy" 55.
It was so chilly in the Northwest that Portland was given the "honor" as the coldest major city in the United States! (Even colder than Seattle (52) and Anchorage (54), although if you add in smaller cities, tied with Spokane, Washington, also at 50.)
That might not seem very long -- roughly about the time it takes to wade through your hourly drama if you blaze through commercials. But compared to a few decades ago, 36 minutes of time might have saved countless lives during the devastating tornado that struck Moore, Oklahoma on Monday.
Years ago, the residents of Moore would have likely had no idea the tornado was coming until the twister was sighted, giving people barely a few minutes' notice. But thanks to advancements in technology, tornadoes rarely sneak up on anyone anymore.
In fact, forecasters as early as Wednesday began sounding the alarm for a potential severe weather breakout on Sunday and Monday. And, on Friday, the forecasts became more specific. On Monday, a Tornado Watch, which indicates conditions are right for tornadic development, was issued at 1:10 p.m. for much of Oklahoma, including the greater Oklahoma City area.
With tornadoes in the news lately I figured it'd be a good time to post answers to some frequently asked questions about the powerful storms:
What does "EF-4" mean?
WIth the devastating tornado in Moore, Oklahoma, you'll be hearing a lot of about "EF" ratings -- that's from the Enhanced Fujita Scale that rates tornadoes on a scale of 0 to 5, 5 being the strongest.
The Moore tornado was given a preliminary rating of EF-4 ("Devastating") with estimated tornadic wind speeds of up to 200 mph, although many are thinking that rating could be increased to an EF-5 ("Incredible") once more damage assessment is done.
It had, as its opening salvo while starting to face the Earth, unleashed a moderately strong solar flare that reached us late Friday, triggering a display of the Northern Lights that reached as far south as Colorado.
The sun has been getting quite active lately, with one sun spot in particular giving off several explosive flares this week, and it could eventually bring some brilliant displays of the Northern Lights to the Pacific Northwest.
May is probably better known around here as getting ready for the upcoming Rose Festival but did you also know it's when we kick off the fire rainbow season?
Fire rainbows, or more officially (and more boringly) known as "circumhorizonal arcs" are caused by ice crystals in the thin, distant clouds being at just the correct angle to refract the sunlight into the colors of the prism.
Ron Glowen, now of Arlington, Wash., just sent me these photos that were taken in June of 2006 while visiting his hometown of Spokane.