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Weather Eye: We can be thankful to be safely between extremes

Today marks 37 years since we reached a high temperature of 105 degrees in 1983. On that day it was so hot the southbound lanes of the Interstate 5 Bridge got stuck in the raised position. The steel expanded under the glaring heat, and a fireboat had to be called in to hose the span down and cool it so it would lower. Now, that is hot!

No chance of that this year, that’s for sure. It will be hot by some folks’ standards but warm anyway with temperatures in the 80s. On the other end of extremes for May 28, it was only 53 degrees for a high in 1977. Imagine, 52 degrees cooler than that hot day in 1983.

It is so sad when extreme weather in other parts of the country cause such devastation and interruption to people’s lives. Watching the flooding last week and pictures of massive tornado damages elsewhere, I’m really thankful for our local weather.

In the movie “Twister” there is a scene where the storm chasers are at Aunt Meg’s house taking a break from their adventures. They are sitting around the kitchen table eating a hefty share of home cooking while having a discussion about the strengths of tornadoes. Dr. Melissa Reeves inquires if there is a F5 tornado and if anyone has ever seen one. An F5 classified tornado is the largest tornado possible and is extremely rare.

Scientists then used the Fujita scale (from F0-F5) to measure the size and intensity. One of the storm chasers nods and acknowledges her question.

The doctor then continues, “How would you describe it?” There’s a long pause and a solemn look upon the faces of the storm chasers before the reply: “The Finger of God.”

The new Enhanced Fujita Scale ranges from 65 mph winds to winds greater than 200 mph with an EF5. The Hazel Dell January 2008 tornado was rated an EF1. The Vancouver tornado in April 1972 was rated under the old classifications as a F3.

We’ll chat on Sunday.



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