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Twister TV

2008 May 28

About the author: Jeffery Robichaud is a second generation scientist with EPA, and serves as Chief of the Environmental Assessment and Monitoring Branch in Kansas City.

EPA has a broad and powerful mission to protect human health and the environment. We often think of this in the context of human impacts on the environment, but sometimes it is the other way around.

In Kansas City, a threat to our well-being rears its head every spring. I could tell it arrived the other night when I flipped on the TV to watch LOST and the screen lit up with red and green splotches over a map. It was storm season again and meteorologists had pre-empted Must-see TV for Twister TV with the fervor of election-night coverage or the latest celebrity car chase.

photo of a home demolished by a twisterIt was our first warning of the season, and my wife and I scooped up the kids and raced down into the basement. The all clear came, but another siren sounded an hour or so later. We repeated the drill (this time with sleeping children) and trudged to bed after another all clear. Not until the morning did we learn that two twisters touched down next to our local drug store. Five years prior a tornado ripped through Kansas City just a mile south of our house (my wife ever the wiser of the pair dragged me inside reminding me that I was now a dad). Sadly this was reinforced two years ago when our good friends lost their home in Springfield, Missouri to a twister. They had a newborn, which, as my friend told me, was the only reason they got off the couch and ran to the closet that saved their life.

Last year was a rough one for natural disasters in our Region. Everyone remembers the devastation that occurred in Greensburg, Kansas. At EPA, we get called in to assist with public health and environmental problems in the aftermath of events like the tornado in Greensburg or the flooding that struck Coffeyville, Kansas. It is heartbreaking to hear the stories of our neighbors, especially the occasional ones who ignored warnings.

Yes, newscasters tend towards exaggeration and embellishment to ensure rapt audiences, but don’t let that overwhelm the importance of heeding the underlying message. Next time you are faced with a flood, fire, hurricane, or tornado warning make sure you get yourself and family to a safe place instead of watching TV. And if anybody in Kansas City needs to know what happened on LOST let me know… I DVR’d the re-broadcast.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed in Greenversations are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

12 Responses leave one →
  1. Karen permalink
    May 28, 2008

    I remember what it was like as a kid, taking shelter in the basement whenever there was a tornado warning. My father usually preferred to tough it out upstairs; good for you for taking those warnings seriously. It was really scary.

    Also in those days, the detailed weather reporting came from the big metro area to our west, and once the storms crossed into our state, they’d stop tracking or reporting on them. It was as if the tornadoes magically evaporated at the state line. Made us feel like any damage that might occur to us wasn’t really important to them. Thankfully that’s all changed now, and we all get very good storm tracking.

  2. Dreamcatcher permalink
    February 13, 2009

    I hate tornado and i’m affraid.

  3. shane permalink
    February 28, 2009

    agreed he storms crossed into our state, they’d stop tracking or reporting on them. It was as if the tornadoes magically evaporated at the state line. Made us feel like any damage that might occur to us wasn’t really important to them. Thankfully that’s all changed now, and we all get very good storm tracking. grants

  4. tv izle permalink
    May 1, 2009

    I hate tornado..

  5. Free Grants permalink
    May 30, 2009

    Tornados are cool.

  6. Alan permalink
    November 1, 2009

    Agreed, I hate tornado. Thankfully that’s all changed now, and we all get very good storm tracking.

    Thanks, Alan

  7. shane permalink
    November 9, 2010

    crossed into our state, they’d stop tracking or reporting on them. It was as if the tornadoes magically evaporated at the state

  8. How to Check Computer Jones permalink
    May 19, 2011

    When I was younger in Kansas we took shelter in the basement. My aunt said they twister went right over the house. My uncle was watching out the tiny basement window. Probably not the smartest thing to do now that I think about it.

  9. Tabletka-Info.ru permalink
    September 26, 2011

    Tornados are cool.

  10. Grant permalink
    February 8, 2012

    I hate tornado also.. :)

  11. April 17, 2012

    I am not sure where you’re getting your information, but great topic. I needs to spend some time learning much more or understanding more. Thanks for magnificent info I was looking for this information for my mission.

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