Tuscaloosa Tornado Damage from April 2011

Tuscaloosa Pre-Tornado Damage

The aerial shot above shows a 1/3 mile stretch along 15th St E in Tuscaloosa from before the tornado went through in April 2011. Carly and I walked along this street on our way to the University of Alabama on New Years Eve. Here’s what things looked like 8 months after the tornado:

Tuscaloosa Tornado Damage

This is facing east along 15th from the lower left portion of the aerial shot. The area along the road used to be home to fast food locations for blocks.

Tuscaloosa Tornado Damage

This is looking north from the same spot, zoomed in across a barren wasteland to one the remaining homes.

CVS Pharmacy Temporary RX

Over on the NE corner of 15th & McFarland is a CVS pharmacy that continues to fill prescriptions out of a trailer pharmacy.

This is just a small segment of the tornado’s damage path. PBS has a before/after slider that shows the extent of the damage. The above photos show the 2 blocks to the NW of the mall in the middle of PBS’ slider.

The tornado wasn’t done after Tuscaloosa. It went through Birmingham as well as this TripLine animation shows.

Weathering Talk About the Weather

John Moe moved to St. Paul 10 months ago, and is catching onto the fact that talking about the weather never grows old for Minnesotans. In fact, John talks about people talking about the weather for the first three of 26 points he makes about adjusting to his new environment:

1. Weather is a huge topic of conversation.
2. People will talk about the weather wherever you go. Especially about extreme cold. The novelty has not worn off for them even if they’re 90 and have never left Minnesota. Weather = fascinating!
3. The fact that people constantly talk about the weather means they constantly talk. It’s a social place.

And check out point #10:

10. Humans are adaptable, it turns out. We had a few days there of minus 11 degrees or worse. We went out in it anyway, kids went to school, life continued. Then it heated up to 4 degrees and I couldn’t believe how warm it was. Humans are adaptable.

Did John just talk about the weather? And what about this:

17. I have developed a snow shoveling technique that works for me.
18. I have bought sidewalk salt.
19. I used to go entire winters without wearing a hat or gloves. Now, I have many pairs of gloves and many hats. I have a hat that makes me look like a ninja.

It sounds like Mr. Moe is becoming Minnesotan faster than he may realize.

Minnesota’s Biggest Weather Junkies

Where do Minnesota’s biggest weather junkies live?

One way to find out is to look at which zip codes are getting the most weather searches on Google. Google’s Suggest feature helps guide us toward which zips are popular among weather checking addicts:

Weather 55---

Drilling down, here is what the 554– zips around Minneapolis look like:

Weather 554--

And the 551– zips near St Paul:

Weather 551--

Personally, I open the door to find out what the weather is like. Old school.

What is Your Favorite Weather Map?

While I write this, it’s super windy outside. Windy enough that I figured, “Hey, why not check the weather?” I bounced over to weather.com to see what’s happening.

I searched by zip, clicked the map, then selected my favorite map from the options. That map: Doppler Radar 600-Mile in Motion.

That’s what I’m looking for. How severe is it and is the peak of the storm here yet? Curiosity had been fed. Back to normal Internet programming.

So, what about you? If you could only view one weather map, which would you choose?

Paul Douglas and other local weather gurus: We’d love to hear your take on this topic where you must have an opinion.

Technology and Weather Don't Mix

One of the nice things about having a technology filled home is that you can
always find something to entertain yourself when the weather outside isn’t
cooperating. Or, can you?

Two teenagers in Connecticut found out that escaping an electrical storm by
staying inside to play Guitar Hero doesn’t guarantee their safety:

Lightning
Strikes Guitar Heroes – Gaming Today

Two teens were knocked
back Thursday night as their guitar controllers became electrified. Ben and
Chris Bergen of Wilton, Connecticut were were rocking to “Message in a Bottle”
on Guitar Hero 2 when a lightning strike near the house channeled through the
electric wiring to their PS2 and shocked them.

People who’ve
dumped their land line telephones for cell phones can run into issues during
power outages that outlast their phone’s battery life. After a day or two
they’re cut off from the communications grid.

For me, the thing that always surprises me when the power goes out is how quiet
my home becomes. Other than the radio, the number one source of background noise
in my home is fans. Fans in computers, the refrigerator, central A/C, bathroom,
dehumidifier, dryer, and stove-top all come to a stop when the power goes out.
It’s not until the sounds of fans are gone that I realize how much noise they’re
creating all the time.

What challenges does the weather place on your tech lifestyle?