Cyclone Road


Monday, May 23, 2011

From MSNBC, a comprehensive list of how to help the victims in Joplin:

Several organizations and individuals are helping victims of the Joplin tornado. Here's how you can get involved and help those affected by the deadliest single U.S. tornado since 1953:
  • The American Red Cross has set up a page for Missouri tornado and flood relief.
  • The Joplin Red Cross could use some donations. You can contact it at (417) 624-4411 or in order to find out what supplies are most necessary.
  • The Missouri SEMA has set up a donation page.
  • A list of major non-profits that operate regularly in Missouri can be found on the National Donations Management Network website. You can also call (800) 427-4626 for further information.
  • The Missouri Interfaith Disaster Response Organization istaking donations for longterm recovery efforts.
  • The Community Blood Center of the Ozarks is in need of blood — particularly type O. A list of donation sites can be found here.
  • 211 Missouri is helping organize volunteers in the affected areas. More information can be found by calling (800) 427-462.
  • Nurses or doctors looking to help can call (417) 832-9500 for the Greater Ozarks chapter of the Red Cross.
  • Health professionals can register to volunteer through the Show-Me Response website.  
Animal rescue
  • For those in the Joplin area: Emergency Pet Center of the Four States at 7th & Illinois near the Sonic is OPEN and accepting found/injured animals. Its phones are down at this time.
  • The "Animals Lost & Found from the Joplin, Mo tornado" Facebook page is tracking lost and found pets.
Safety Information
  • The National Americorp Volunteers are setting up a national hotline for residents to call to check on loved ones. The number is (417) 659-5464 and should be active later today.
  • The American Red Cross has set up a site on which you can check in, report on the safety of others, or look for information on loved ones.
  • The "Joplin people accounted for after the storm" Facebook page is helping people track loved ones who fell out of touch during the storm.
  • The St. John's Health System has been updating its Facebook page regularly with information relevant to the aftermath of the storm.
Other efforts
Some words of caution
While giving is good and your intentions are great, be aware that there are individuals who might attempt to take advantage of your kindness. Read up on the charities or organizations to which you are donating funds or supplies. You can use sites such as Charity Navigator — a service run by a non-profit organization that has information on more than 5,000 charities and evaluates the groups' financial health — to confirm that everything's on the up and up.

Just a place-marker update so I don't forget these chases, which as you might guess means they were fairly forgettable.

May 11, 2011: A big, over-hyped Wednesday chase led me all the way into northeastern CO for two storms near Burlington. Cannot believe I drove that far when I hadn't intended to go much north of I-40. Met up with Scott Currens along the way and we checked out the weird, northwestward moving storms as one of them produced a modest wall cloud directly over the city of Burlington.

May 18, 2011: A bust near Norman, Oklahoma. Shouldn't have left the house at all, between the intense CIN and more intense pain in my sprained knee, which I didn't begin treating until a few days earlier.

May 19, 2011: I was convinced this was the last day I'd see a tornado in 2011, because I'd planned all spring to chase with a research project from the 19th to the 24th, and the project's goal was other than documenting tornadoes. So I planned to poke my head up around Interstate 40 and turn back. I wound up near Woodward, Oklahoma but never saw a storm worth shooting. Scott Currens zipped past me on the road out of Camp Houston, headed west for the storm. He was in the process of hooking up with the aforementioned project, too, but had some equipment issues and chased solo.

May 22, 2011: I'm fairly confined to local chases now and spending less than seven hours at a time in the car. I targeted Jacksboro and chased two supercells, one a small LP that morphed into an interesting structural presentation and produced a rapidly rotating wall cloud. The second supercell, again firing near Jacksboro, was a HP/Classic hybrid with two distinct and fairly interesting mesocylconic cycles, the second of which produced an organized and rotating funnel near the town of Bridgeport. Took several shots of both storms on Sunday and I hope to process those later in the week.

No tornadoes observed on any of the above chases. Between my teaching schedule and the knee issue, Chase Season 2011 is almost certainly going to be my worst. I'd say it's second behind 2000, but despite not seeing anything much of interest that year, 2000 was much more fun. This chase season has been, thus far, a real drag with the exception of a few great days. Anyway, enough whining. Two good/great days in a row coming up for chasers between today and tomorrow and wish them all happy hunting and the best of luck.

Sunday, May 01, 2011

The first thing I heard this May was thunder.

Seriously, last night I woke up about 3:00 am to the sounds of an elevated supercell rolling over Denton. We were north of the front so I imagined the tornado potential to be nearly zero and drifted back to sleep, but it was quite a satisfying debut for the chaser's favorite calendar page.

Two quick chase reports to log before they're lost forever:

25 APRIL 2011: A frontal zone was draped over North Texas and I drove east to McKinney, observed rain, turned back for Denton and on through to Decatur, where a supercell produced a marginal wallcloud. This feature rotated slowly as it rolled eastward and through Denton. I followed it until the wallcloud dissipated east of town. Then it was time to head home to prepare for the work week, wasn't able to drop south and catch the nice storms and tornadoes near Glen Rose and Itasca.

30 APRIL 2011: With friends Scott Currens and Bob Fritchie, I chased a supercell east southeast of Dallas, which produced an ominous lowering and broadly rotating wallcloud as it exited the metro area. Weak surface winds and poor low level shear really mitigated what might have been a fairly interesting storm, given the anvil level flow and ambient instability. We ate oysters at S&D Oyster Bar on McKinney Street downtown, and a good time was had by all.

My novel REMEDY WHEEL is a semifinalist in Amazon's Breakthrough Novel Contest! Pretty exciting. The big surprise for me was a review by Publishers Weekly, who called the book, "a highly literary tale... a grand old story." You can see the full review on the full editorial review page.

The Amazon page I've linked includes a free excerpt of the book for the Kindle and Kindle-based apps, such as for iPhone. Please download (and write a review!) if the spirit moves you. I believe the excerpt they've posted is the first 50 pages of the book.

In a month, three finalists will be chosen and then, in June, a winner selected by Amazon customers. I'm still learning how all that works, but the final result is a book deal with Penguin, an outstanding house.

Well, since I have plenty of room here on my own blog (how does one post without character limits??), I'll post the full review from Publishers Weekly:

"It’s the spring of 1934 in Southside Chicago, a mostly black area hit hard by the Depression, a little before the opening of the World’s Fair. Haley Mitchell, 19, and white, is running numbers for the Kings, a gang too ornery and peculiar for the Capone operation to trouble with. Haley, like every character in this sprawling, highly literary tale, needs a remedy—in Haley’s case, for her possibly brain-dead father. Black store owner Thomas Harris, a strong family man, wants to get out of his neighborhood and away from the Southern blacks, or “migrants,” and move to an all-white enclave near the university, but the most moving scene in the novel portrays the death of his sweet young son, after Thomas has made the move. Sorrow, and muted triumphs take over the novel therafter. Young Oscar Candelero, new to the city, naive and shrewd at once, saves the day. Impressed by the healing ministry of Elder Lucy and seeking the love of Haley, he invents a brand-new game, bringing together both ministry and numbers on the neutral ground—outside Chicago’s jurisdiction—of the Fair. From a souvenir of the 1893 Fair he fashions the remedy wheel, and remedies result, sort of, for everyone. A carefully researched, slow-moving, old-fashioned, and grand old story."

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