Tornadoes transfix me...
. . . with fear, as regular readers will recall.
The one that passed directly over my head one late afternoon many years ago left me unharmed but touched down in Bakersfield, Missouri to tear the roof off its school building, making it an F2 on the Fujita Tornado Scale.
From looking at a map, I discover that Bakersfield lies northwest of the Arkansas farm that my uncle managed and where my brothers and I -- on loan from our grandparents in Salem -- were staying for a couple of weeks in the late summer. This means that my memory of the tornado coming from the west may be inaccurate unless the storm shifted. Assuming that the storm did not change direction, then it perhaps came from the direction of Viola, Arkansas and was moving to the northwest, which is a bit odd since most storms move from the southwest in an northeasterly direction.
Tornadoes, however, can be unpredictable.
I have no desire to see another one up close, but the mystery, power, and unpredicability of tornadoes profoundly attract some people. I was spurred to write this post by a chance encounter with a website maintained by some fellow named Gene Moore who's been chasing tornadoes since the early seventies. Take a good look at this photo and tell me that you'd like to get close to one of these monsters.
Not only do people like Gene Moore and his friends pursue close encounters, some folks have even developed F5 Tornado Safaris! They call these "Extreme Tours," and I'd agree. Indeed, I'd worry that my extreme touring could suddenly become an extreme turning up the funnel of a dark heavenly tour . . . never to return.
But for those of you who like that sort of thing . . .