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Hide, don't seek!

June 7, 2013 - Jennifer Brookens
Those who know me know what a storm fanatic I am. I've had a few people ask about my reaction to the Oklahoma tornadoes, and the deaths of three professional storm chasers last week. I'm saddened, obviously, but those in the Web-o-sphere have taken sides: has storm chasing gone too far? The three that were killed were scientists, trying to learn more. They weren't the thrill-seekers you see trying to see just how close you can get and brag about it. These men weren't foolish.

So if these "smart" storm chasers can get caught and killed in a tornado, what does that say for those who call themselves chasers, but only themselves with a smartphone? Well, that particular storm took out at least one of those storm chasers, too.

But this tornado was no ordinary tornado. Experts are calling it the widest tornado on record, at one point stretching more than two miles wide. This map, thanks to the app MAPfrappe, shows what that tornado path would be like on any other spot in the U.S. and this example: shows how it could have affected most of Fairmont by encompassing a path that covers Walmart to the soccer fields and taking out more than 3/4s of the town. It's sobering enough that I'm no longer joking about my house being so cluttered, it'd take a tornado to tear down my house to the foundation to start fresh.

With storms like these, you never know just what Mother Nature has in store. So when you hear the warnings and the sirens, do what you've been taught to do and take cover, instead of taking to the road with your phone to go see it. I know that is what I intend to do from now on...


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