Monday, March 30, 2009


I am reading a book with Evan right now that was my all time favorite book in elementary school. It's called Night of the Twisters, by Ivy Ruckman. It is a semi-fictionalized account of the 1980 tornadoes that hit Grand Island, Nebraska. 7 tornadoes destroyed the town on June 3, 1980 over a time span of roughly three hours. The storm is qualified as the most unusual tornado outbreak in the United States, as it was an extremely slow moving storm (roughly 8 miles per hour), it spawned a large number of tornadoes which all followed a curved path that often turned back on itself instead of the traditional straight line, and three of the tornadoes were anticyclonic (which means that they turned clockwise). Only 1% of tornadoes in the Northern Hemisphere turn clockwise, and to have three in one storm is incredible.

I originally picked up the book at age 8 because the author Ivy Ruckman came and made a presentation at my school, where she told about her grandchidren who had ridden out the storm in their basement. While reading, my mom told me that my Aunt Denise had been in Grand Island the night of the storm, and for several days they knew nothing of her whereabouts or safety, which added a personal connection for me.

The whole experience began a lifelong fascination for me. I just love to study, read, and hear about tornadoes. I get a bit nervous during an actual storm, especially now that I am a mother. As I head to the basement, I can't help thinking about how exactly I would keep all three of my babies from swirling away from me. But the absolute fascination is still there, just as much as when I was 8.

And so, as we head into another tornado season here in Tornado Alley, I can't help but be excited. There's just something about the sky turning green that gets the blood moving, you know?


Christy M. said...

I'm going to have to check that book out! It sounds wonderful! I'll bet BJ would LOVE it! He's really into history (we're reading alot of the Magic Treehouse books, and some are semi-fictional as well) and we happen to be reading a book about twisters right now!

sectheatre said...

You had the opposite reaction of me. I blame that book for my lifelong fear of tornados! I wish I had never read it as a kid.

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