Dis-GUST-ing Disasters


Sarah Eades, Photo Editor

As Missourians, we have to deal with intense weather in the spring. One day, it’ll be snowing, the next 80+ degrees. One of the most unpredictable dangers we have to deal with is a tornado. However, a lot of us do not respond to the tornado warnings and sirens like we should.

KMOV (Channel 4) chief meteorologist Steve Templeton discussed spring weather, such as tornadoes and hail, with Ms. White’s meteorology and varied chemical systems classes in the Little Theatre on March 21st. Most importantly, Templeton taught about tornado safety.

“I wanted the kids to know that meteorology is actually a science, not just something you look at on a screen,” said Ms. White. “It can affect your life.”

Templeton taught students about tornado activity. He spent most of the hour explaining Joplin and the Good Friday tornado that hit St. Louis in 2011. He showed the intensive damage through photographs.

“It was very devastating,” said senior Bryan Westmoreland, commenting on the Joplin damage. “I used to run there for track. It was so weird, everything was gone.”

The tornadoes that cause the most damage are called multiple vortex tornados. These actually have mini tornadoes inside of a larger tornado. Experts believe that the smaller tornadoes cause most of the damage within seconds.

Templeton believes that Joplin and St Louis’ damage was caused by multiple vortex tornadoes.

“[Joplin] is probably the most amazing tornado damage I’ve ever seen,” he said.

Joplin was the deadliest tornado to hit the Midwest in a long time. On the Enhanced Fujita (EF) scale, Joplin was an EF 5. Templeton said that the tornado acted like a chainsaw and cut off anything above 15 feet. If you stood in the middle of the city and spun around in a circle, all you would see is rubble for miles.

Templeton stressed how important it is to take each tornado seriously. The Joplin meteorologists told their viewers that a tornado was coming, but most likely people did not realize how strong of a storm it was supposed to be. Joplin, like St. Louis, gets numerous tornado warnings a year. Assuming the tornado wasn’t serious led to many people getting injured or dying.

“You have to take all the tornadoes seriously,” said Templeton. “What’s the worst that could happen? You go down to the basement for 20 minutes and come back up. Whether or not something actually happened, you’ll be safe anyway.”