Snow or Beach?

I woke up this morning and sent my wife some photos of the 6 to 9 inches of snow we’ve received in the St. Louis area since 9:30 p.m. Friday.  In response, she sent me a picture of the environment where she is today.  Snow or beach?  I think she has the better deal.  Agree?

Snow-BeachNuff said.

Bob McCarty is the author of Three Days In August (Oct '11) and THE CLAPPER MEMO (May '13). To learn more about either book or to place an order, click on the graphic above.

Bob McCarty is the author of Three Days In August (Oct ’11) and THE CLAPPER MEMO (May ’13). To learn more about either book or to place an order, click on the graphic above.

News of Deadly Oklahoma Tornado Brings Back Memories

News of the deadly tornado that killed more than 51 at least 24 in Moore, Okla., Monday brought back memories of another painful episode in the book of Oklahoma living.

Before moving to the St. Louis area, my family called Norman, Okla., home.  Having grown up in the Sooner State before traveling the world as an Air Force couple, my wife and I knew — or thought we knew — what to expect.  We did not, however, expect what took place one evening 14 years ago.

Like most of our neighbors in northwest Norman, we lived in a typical three-bedroom home that did not have a basement or a safe room.  It may seem strange, but few homes in the state (a.k.a., “tornado alley”) had such amenities.  Everyone with a television set, however, did have legendary local weatherman Gary England.

On that memorable evening, I paid close attention to England’s reporting on dangerous storms traversing the state from the southwest to the northeast.  When he told television viewers to seek shelter underground immediately or face certain death, I made a critical decision; for the first time since moving to Norman three years earlier, I drove my wife and three young sons to an underground public shelter at a nearby elementary school.

Though the powerful F-5 tornado did not hit our home, it left a mile-wide path of destruction just a few miles north in Moore while packing the strongest surface winds ever recorded on earth — more than 200 miles per hour.

Television news reports during the days that followed featured video footage showing the tornado’s path stretching for miles and resembling what a giant vacuum cleaner might leave behind (i.e., nothing that resembled the homes and businesses that had been in the path of the tornado moments earlier).

All of that took place on May 3, 1999.  I’ll never forget it.  Today, my heart goes out to those impacted by the storms that hit central Oklahoma this week.

Pray for Okla

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Bob McCarty is the author of Three Days In August and THE CLAPPER MEMO. To learn more about either book or to place an order, click on the graphic above.

Pear Tree Erased from Blogger’s Front Yard

Half of the branches of one of my Bradford Pear trees tumbled to the ground today around noon.

At first, I attributed the damage to strong winds that blew through the St. Louis area.  Later, I discovered something else — or, more accurately, someone — was to blame:  my high school-age son, the artist, had erased it.

If you enjoy this blog and want to keep reading stories like the one above, show your support by using the “Support Bob” tool at right. Thanks in advance for your support!

Scores Killed as Storms Pummel South (Update)

Videos from Alabama provide contrasting views of a powerful, mile-wide tornado that was part of a storm system that has killed at least 72 people in four states — including 58 in Alabama — as of late Wednesday night.

The first video, from WALA Fox10TV, shows the twister as it destroyed homes and businesses in and around Tuscaloosa, Ala., after touching down at 5:15 p.m. Wednesday

The second video shows the twister in the area of 15th Street as it approaches Tuscaloosa from the west.

Stay tuned for updates.

UPDATE 4/27/11 at 11:12 p.m. Central: A third video shows CBS42 weatherman warning viewers in the path of the storm to take cover from the dangerous storm.

UPDATE 4/28/11 at 7:25 a.m. Central: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution is reporting 128 dead in Alabama, 32 in Mississippi, 11 in Georgia and five in Tennessee as a result of yesterday’s storms.

UPDATE 4/28/11 at 3:14 p.m. Central: Death toll from storms rises to 269.

FINAL UPDATE 4/29/11 at 8:11 a.m. Central: Dozens of tornadoes kill at least 297 people in South.

If you enjoy this blog and want to keep reading stories like the one above, show your support by using the “Support Bob” tool at right. Thanks in advance for your support!

STORM VIDEO (Update)

Just had a storm, packed with tornadoes, hail and high winds, blow through the St. Louis suburbs. Of course, I filmed it — 30 seconds of thunder and lightning.

UPDATE 4/23/11 at 8:20 a.m. Central: Below is the CNN video showing damage at Lambert St. Louis International Airport.

UPDATE 4/23/11 at 8:58 a.m. Central: Below is the KSDK-TV video showing damage at Lambert St. Louis International Airport.

UPDATE 4/24/11 at 7:15 p.m. Central: While taking my wife to Lambert St. Louis International Airport on Easter Sunday afternoon, I had one of my sons shoot video of the damage done by a Good Friday tornado along interstate 70 West of the airport and at the airport.

If you enjoy this blog and want to keep reading stories like the one above, show your support by using the “Support Bob” tool at right. Thanks in advance for your support!

St. Louis-Area Residents Brace for Winter Storm

Weather experts in the St. Louis area are predicting a winter storm that will begin with two blasts of ice similar to a November 2006 ice storm that cut power to 300,000 residents followed by snowfall reminiscent of the January 1982 blizzard that dumped as many as 25 inches in some parts of the St. Louis area.

In addition to the map above, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration web site dedicated to the “St. Louis Blizzard” described the weather event this way:

On January 30th and 31st 1982, a 1-in-70 year snow event occurred from the eastern Ozarks to central Illinois with the heaviest axis of snow blanketing St. Louis, Missouri. The snow began during the evening of January 30th, a Saturday, and ended during the afternoon of Sunday, January 31st.  The snow paralyzed the area with government offices, many businesses, and schools cancelling work or class for up to a week after the snow ended.  The airport, Amtrak, and bus service were shut down. As many as 4,000 motorists were stranded on highways due to the blizzard-like conditions that were created over the region.

Many people became stranded for days, with hospital and emergency workers working 2 to 3 shifts due to their coworkers inability to make it work. According to the Post Dispatch, one subdivision, Bee Tree Estates in South St. Louis County, was cut off from civilization for five days.  Those who owned four-wheel-drive vehicles became the transportation service for the city, escorting nurses, doctors, and law enforcement to work. They also helped deliver necessary supplies to those in need and assisted ambulances, tow trucks, and other vehicles that became stuck in snow drifts.

Residents across the area helped each other dig out from the worst snowstorm since February 20th, 1912 when 15.5 inches of snow was recorded. Mayor Vincent C. Schoemehl Jr., and then County Executive Gene McNary declared snow emergencies. The Missouri National Guard was eventually brought in to help with the disaster and ease the situation in the City of St. Louis.

In a post Dec. 1, 2006, Gateway Pundit shared news of 500,000 people being without power.  In a post one day later, he included the power-outage graphic depicting the ice storm’s impact.

Stay tuned for updates!  This should be a doozy!

FYI: If you enjoy this blog and want to keep reading stories like the one above, show your support by using the “Support Bob” tool at right. Thanks in advance for your support!