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Hurricane Irene and Owensboro Tornado Seem More Frightening From Afar

Hurricane Irene (Courtesy of NASA)

Now that the east coast has, thankfully, said, “Good night, Irene,” I’d like to toss in my two cents regarding a comparison between the hurricane and our very own beloved 2000 tornado. First, I can’t speak for any of those who were affected by Hurricane Irene, nor would I make that attempt. But after seeing a photo of Irene from space, I thought, “That’s what I would have liked to have seen eleven years ago when the tornado ripped through.” I know that sounds a little morbid, but bear with me. On the ground, I’m guessing a coastal hurricane, while being terrifying, does just look like a really, insanely powerful thunderstorm—rain moving horizontally, treetops touching the ground, that sort of thing. And, again, I’m not making light. But when you get a gander at what these things look like from space, you can see just how absolutely devastating and horrifying they really are—not that you need any further convincing. But, look at this way: we’re human beings and can only see so much with our naked eyes. We can’t see that what is on top of us is a 400 mile wide white behemoth marching up the eastern seaboard like it’s Godzilla. And that’s what I meant with regards to the Owensboro tornado in 2000. I was in it. In fact, I was in this building. The storm made my “Worst Ever Top Five” not too long ago. But all I saw—with my own naked eye—rain moving horizontally, treetops touching the ground, that sort of thing. (Although, seeing one of our account executives get out of his car while it was lifting off the ground was pretty humbling.) I didn’t see what I heard some folks in Utica did see—the actual tornado tearing across Daviess County. Weather phenomena fascinate me, and, no, I don’t need to actually see the things I’ve mentioned to know how dangerous they are. But it certainly could signify to anyone who did not heed evacuation warnings that they’re not dealing with anything that should be taken as lightly as some people likely did.

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