Tornado Season?

800px-F5_tornado_Elie_Manitoba_2007The 1925 Tri-State tornado accounted for 695 deaths in Missouri, Illinois and Indiana.

The highest recorded tornado wind speed was a 1999 Oklahoma storm that clocked 302 mph.

Oklahoma City has seen over 100 known tornado strikes.

Three out of every four tornadoes on Earth occur in the United States.

Currently in what is normally peak tornado season,  tornadothe United States is experiencing a year with an unusually low number of tornadoes. Greg Carbin, the man in charge at NOAA’s Storm Prediction Center (SPC) says it’s “likely the slowest start to tornado activity in any year in the modern record, and possibly nearly a century!”

The previous two years, 2012 and 2013, were both below average tornado years.


From what I gather, our low number of tornadoes is likely a result of the colder than normal winter some parts of the country is struggling to get out of.

201111072051z-ref-tiptonareaI’m not a meteorologist.  However, I can make a weather related forecast that I’m fairly confident of.

My forecast: If an extensive tornado outbreak occurs or if there are tornadoes that cause widespread significant damage, there will be attempts to connect them to climate change and/or global warming.

That seems  the pattern lately.  If there’s a weather related calamity, blame global warming.

The widest tornado in recorded history, the 2013 El Reno tornado, occurred over rural areas of central Oklahoma on May 31, 2013.  The tornado was measured by radar at 2.6 miles (4.2 km) wide.1452040_755669071126569_2030460835_n It’s size confused observers, its mammoth proportions containing orbiting subvortices larger than average tornadoes.  It was a worst case scenario for storm chaser teams – abrupt changes in direction, rapid forward acceleration from about 20 mph to as high as 55 mph. Several professional and amateur chasers were impacted.  Three died:  Tim Samaras, an autodidact engineer who founded a field research team called Tactical Weather Instrumented Sampling in Tornadoes EXperiment (TWISTEX) which sought to better understand tornadoes, Paul Samaras, Tim’s son (photographer and videographer) and Carl Young (meteorologist).  The three were the first fatalities ever related to storm chaser activities.

Photo attribution:
800px-F5_tornado_Elie_Manitoba_2007 licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license – Attribution: Justin1569 at en.wikipedia

tornado Mesocyclone tornado NOAA

201111072051z-ref-tiptonarea Radar Reflectivity of a tornado-producing supercell south of Tipton, OK November 2011; National Weather Service

1452040_755669071126569_2030460835_n Tim Samaras’ work was funded in large part by the National Geographic Society which awarded him 18 grants for his field work.


Destinations, A Wild Ride and Johnny Reb.

While reviewing blogs posts for Destinations, a collection on Haw Creek of descriptions, reviews and photo or video tours of interesting places, primarily in the United States, I came across a couple of interesting videos.

Jason and Nikki Wynn of Gone with the Wynns are, in their own words, a “quirky couple who traded in everyday life to satisfy their wear-out-your-shoes sense of adventure.”

In Virginia City, Nevada, Nikki took a ride with Gary Teel.

The Wynn’s post on Yuma Territorial Prison triggered a memory of a television show from my childhood.  The Yuma prison was featured or mentioned in many books, movies and TV shows over the years, but the show I remembered was about a person, Johnny Yuma, The Rebel, not the prison.This episode, from 1959, was the series première.

For me, as a seven-year-old, the show was a shoot-em-up western with a twist.  I knew about the civil war, I suppose, but didn’t really appreciate the context in this show .  Now, at sixty-two, with considerable reading on the impact of our civil war, I have a deeper appreciation of the time the show is set in  and the background of the character.

It was interesting to see Dan Blocker in a more sinister role than that of  “Hoss” Cartwright.



Thunder, lightning, howling wind… and the lights went out!

The windows were open.

imageWe had just checked the weather online.  Our county was under a severe thunderstorm warning.  A potent line of thunderstorms ahead of an advancing cold front was moving in our direction.  One warning reported winds as high as 70 miles per hour were possible near thunderstorms.

We started hearing thunder. Lightning flashed.  Wind picked up quickly and began to howl.

To keep the coming rain out, Karen, sitting at her computer, stood up and closed the window in front of her… and the lights went out.

Time to get the flashlights  and LED lantern out.

It was 9:45 PM or so and very dark.  The worst of the storm passed by very quickly, though it rained heavily for a while.  We decided not to run the generator as it was almost bedtime, assuming that power would be back by the time we got up in the morning.

It wasn’t.

The generator was on and supplying power for about 4 hours this morning before power restoration, a little over 12 hours after we lost it.

We were luckier than some.  I took a short drive this morning to see if I could spot why our power was still out.  I saw a number of trees toppled and snapped, including a big pine that landed on the corner of a house.


Red Sox on burros… really?


So I’m in the process of going through Google image search finding interesting Arkansas related photos to pin on my Arkansas Pinterest page and I come across this one titled Red Sox players on hunting expedition….


The full title on Flickr is Red Sox players on hunting expedition, Spring Training, Hot Springs, Arkansas. 

I had just been reminded recently that some major league baseball teams had held spring training in Hot Springs in the early part of the 20th century and, sure enough, this photo is from 1907.

Shared on Flickr by Boston Public Library, the photo description says: “Tommy Madden dressed as a Native American, Bill Carrigan (center) and an unidentified player dressed as cowboys, pose on burros during rabbit hunt.”

Funny, I don’t think the term Native American was in use in 1907.  I wonder what the original title was.

I’m not a big fan of baseball or any other sport.  However, I do like interesting photos with a history… as well as those with a twist.

The Flickr image is here.  It is also in the Massachusetts Collections online here.


Editing Wikipedia

Wikipedia-logo-v2-enI don’t make changes to Wikipedia very often.  However, when adding links to my new and revised Lake Fort Smith State Park page, I saw that the Wikipedia page for the park was rather weak, with no information at all about the new park.

Lake Fort Smith State Park was closed in 2002 to make way for a larger dam and spillway. The addition flooded the site of the old park, and new facilities were built around the new lake.

After I edited it, that part said:

Lake Fort Smith State Park was closed in 2002 to make way for a larger dam and spillway. The addition flooded the site of the old park, and the new 259 acre Lake Fort Smith State Park reopened in the late Spring of 2008 four miles north of its original location with 30 camp sites, 10 cabins, a group lodging facility, picnic sites, a pavilion, marina with rental boats, a double lane boat ramp, a swimming pool, playground, and an 8,000 square foot visitor center with exhibit gallery, gift shop, a meeting/class room, a patio with an outdoor wood burning fireplace, and an expansive view of the lake and mountains.

Wikipedia is a wonderful tool.  I think it’s greatest strength is that is built and maintained by the public.  For the most part, I’ve found it to be one of the very best overall sources online, having more information that just about any other source for most general topics.  Wikipedia isn’t without it’s problems. It’s not a primary source.  However, it will often provide links or references to better sources.

We camped at Lake Fort Smith State Park in October, not long after it opened in its new location in 2008.

The following slideshow has a few photos from that visit.  A more extensive slide show and information about the park is available at my improved page, Lake Fort Smith State Park, over at Haw Creek.


Unlikely Story

FBI agents conducted a “search and seizure” at the Southwood Psychiatric Hospital in San Diego, which was under investigation for medical insurance fraud. After hours of poring over many rooms of financial records, some sixty FBI agents worked up quite an appetite. The case agent in charge of the investigation called a local pizza parlor with delivery service to order a quick dinner for his colleagues.

The following telephone conversation took place:

Agent: Hello. I would like to order nineteen large pizzas and sixty-seven cans of soda.

Pizza man: And where would you like them delivered?

Agent: To the Southwood Psychiatric Hospital.

Pizza man: To the psychiatric hospital?

Agent: That’s right. I’m an FBI agent.

Pizza man: You’re an FBI agent?

Agent: That’s correct. Just about everybody here is.

Pizza man: And you’re at the psychiatric hospital?

Agent: That’s correct. And make sure you don’t go through the front doors. We have them locked. You’ll have to go around to the back to the service entrance to deliver the pizzas.

Pizza man: And you say you’re all FBI agents?

Agent: That’s right. How soon can you have them here?

Pizza man: And you’re over at Southwood?

Agent: That’s right. How soon can you have them here?

Pizza man: And everyone at Southwood is an FBI agent?

Agent: That’s right. We’ve been here all day and we’re starving.

Pizza man: How are you going to pay for this?

Agent: I have my check book right here.

Pizza man: And you are all FBI agents?

Agent: That’s right, everyone here is an FBI agent. Can you remember to bring the pizzas and sodas to the service entrance in the rear? We have the front doors locked.

Pizza man: I don’t think so.



Big Dam…

Opened about 8 years ago, the pedestrian and bicycle bridge built over Murray Lock and Dam is known as the Big Dam Bridge.  We’ve been over it three times, I believe, but I could only find photo evidence of two.

I have a new page on Haw Creek for the Big Dam Bridge.  It’s an improved version of what was on the old site, updated, bad links flushed, new links added, new on-page photo gallery, etc., etc..

Take a look over there, if you desire.  I’m including the photo gallery below, for your viewing pleasure.

I have several other pages related to places that I’ll be moving over, then I’ll get back to more development work.

With the photo gallery plugin, I’ll be sharing a lot more of my images.


A bookstore, a bridge and a library.


(It’s warm tonight and I’m wearing shorts for the first time in 2014. Possibility of severe weather looms.)

Monday, we were in Little Rock for a regular appointment for Karen with her rheumatologist.

After that, since we were in Little Rock, we decided we should do something.  Years ago, we would have gone to one of the malls or somewhere to do some shopping (looking).  Now, though, going through stores just for the sake of going through stores has very little appeal.

We actually did stop in Barnes and Noble.  It was the first time we had been in a bookstore since stopping in one in Duluth, Minnesota in September.  That time we had stopped to use their free wifi since we had no Verizon reception at the campground and, thus, our mobile hot spot wasn’t of much use.  Karen found a tea there that she really liked – and that was the reason we were in Barnes and Noble this time in Little Rock… so she could pick up a new supply of the tea.

Barnes and Noble was once a favorite store.  Then we got our Kindles.

After Barnes and Noble, what to do? Head on home… or… what?

We decided to check out the “new” pedestrian bridge by the Clinton Library – an old railroad bridge over the Arkansas River converted for pedestrian and bicycle use.  After we walked across to North Little Rock and back, we decided to go though the museum at the Clinton Presidential Center.  It had been 9 years since I visited and a bit more than that for Karen.

The glass sculpture shown above is “The Millennium Tree” by glass artist Dale Chihuly, made for use in the White House for the holiday season of 1999.  There is to be an exhibit of Chihuly’s work at the Clinton Presidential Center from May 17 to January 5.

Iclinton-library-o put together a new page – Clinton Presidential Center and Park – over on Haw Creek.  It includes a new video, mainly from photos and video on the bridge and in the library that I took with my iPhone.  Check it out.


Coming soon…


This photo was taken yesterday, the last day of March.  I’m working on new material that will share more.

Update: See A bookstore, a bridge and a library where the glass object in the image is identified.


Frankly, my dear – the answer is…

2013-07-19 002ed2A few days ago, I posted Identify the movie this is related to.

Alan G, of course, knew the answer, because he lives in the city where this old attraction resides.

Grannymar apparently knew the answer, saying she was “whistling down the wind in the wrong direction” imageand “I’m back again, but I’m ‘gone’ I don’t give a damn,” the last, I’m sure, in reference to Rhett Butler’s closing line, “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.”

The Old Mill appeared for just a few seconds in the opening credits of the civil war era  Gone with the Wind. The mill appears at 1:31 in the video below.

The Old Mill at T.R. Pugh Memorial Park – An authentic reproduction of an old water-powered grist mill, this striking structure appears in the opening scene of the classic 1939 film Gone with the Wind and is believed to be the only building remaining from the film. Built in 1933; designed to look old so it would appear as if it was built the 1800s. The park is decorated with sculptures of toadstools, tree stumps, and a tree branch-entwined bridge that connects the mill to the rest of the park. Senor Dionico Rodriguez, a sculptor and artist of Mexico City, was responsible for all the details of each piece of concrete work made to represent wood, iron or stone, as well as the designing of the foot bridges and rustic seats. The Old Mill is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The Old Mill vicinity was probably quite rural when it was built.  Now, though, it is in a very urban area – in a nice, quiet residential neighborhood.

A tour from the air via a drone:

The Old Mill from Tim Donar on Vimeo.