Thursday, August 2, 2012

Winds of Change

The caption below accompanied a photo of the crew from ABC's Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. I'm assuming Joplin, Missouri, has weathered its share of hurricanes, but I'm also assuming the caption writer meant to refer to the deadly tornado that touched down in Joplin on May 22, 2011.

Granted, for many, hurricanes and tornados are difficult to differentiate. They both have high winds and often leave devastating trails of damage in their wakes, but differences do exist. A hurricane is a large storm with heavy rains and winds that blow in a large spiral around a calm center (the "eye"); it tends to last for several hours or more — sometimes days. A tornado is a windstorm characterized by a funnel-shaped cloud and usually lasts less than 10 minutes.

Tornados usually have a smaller swath than hurricanes but can do much greater damage, in part because they form much quicker (often within minutes) and generally generate much stronger winds.

It's difficult, given the small window of opportunity once a tornado has been detected, to warn residents and take the necessary precautions. Given the opportunity to choose between tornado and hurricane in a caption, however, a writer typically has the luxury of time to make the correct choice. Weather proofing, anyone?

On an unrelated note, I want to take a moment to wish a very happy birthday to my mom. If I'm compassionate, it came from you, Mom. If I'm passionate, it came from you. If I'm dependable, it came from you. If I'm an animal lover, it came from you. If I'm an excellent speller... Well, that didn't come from you. I'm not sure about the source of that one. I am sure, however, that I love you more than yesterday, less than tomorrow. When I cried, at age 7, while watching The Champ, you were there for me. You've always been there for me. You mean the world to me, Mom. HAPPY BIRTHDAY! Love, Your First Born

I love you deerly, Mom. I really doe.

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