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The Lonely One
12-16-2008, 06:21 AM
Would a huge storm with tornadoes all over the place be strange for MA in the winter time? (specifically, Weston in Middlesex Co.). I'm trying to formulate a character reaction; the tornadoes are plentiful (several sightings of touchdowns, an F5 that plows these people's neighborhood).

THanks.

*sorry the title should read "Tornadoes IN MA"

technical blunder...

Cyia
12-16-2008, 07:31 AM
Tornadoes in Massachusettes? That's weird anytime.

Palmfrond
12-16-2008, 07:33 AM
From city-data.com:
Weston-area historical tornado activity is near Massachusetts state average. It is 28% smaller than the overall U.S. average.
On 6/9/1953, a category 4 (max. wind speeds 207-260 mph) tornado 16.4 miles away from the Weston town center killed 90 people and injured 1228 people and caused between $50,000,000 and $500,000,000 in damages.

On 9/29/1974, a category 3 (max. wind speeds 158-206 mph) tornado 17.2 miles away from the town center injured one person and caused between $50,000 and $500,000 in damages.

jclarkdawe
12-16-2008, 07:37 AM
Next to impossible in the winter and not much more likely in the summer.

In winter we get blizzards, nor'easters, and the present problem, ice storms. This ice storm created 400 power line problems in my town alone and at one point, the entire town had no electricity. The power companies could have started from scratch easier than the repairs they had to do. Fitchburg, MA has over 100 telephone poles destroyed. My town still is over half without electricity and we still have roads that are impassable.

What do you want to do with the weather?

Best of luck,

Jim Clark-Dawe

The Lonely One
12-16-2008, 07:40 AM
Thanks for the responses. I was looking for the tornado activity to be out of the ordinary; it's mirroring a house full of people unbottling all their resentments during the storm.

Tornadoboy
12-16-2008, 07:49 AM
Ahhhh, this gets the storm chaser in me excited! :D

Rare, yes. But certainly not unprecidented.

For example on June 9th 1953 Worcester county had a HUGE F-5 tornado that killed 94 people, it was one of the most powerful tornadoes on record. There's a terrific book on that tornado called "Tornado! 84 Minutes, 94 Lives" by John M. O'Toole which I highly recommend, especially if you want to read some truly incredible real-life tornado survival stories. I live in Massachusetts and have heard of few stories from people too.

There was also another monster F-4 that hit Great Barrington (far western MA) like fifteen years ago and killed three when it picked up a car and threw it a couple hundred feet into the woods, and personally I almost caught a small one on tape that went through Otis like 10 years ago but never caught up with it (probably lucky for me).

Also it depends on what you mean by "tornadoes all over the place", are you talking 2 to 4? Because that has happened, at least with small tornadoes.

Or are you talking about a "super outbreak" as they're called where there can be dozens over a multi-state region in a matter of hours? To the best of my knowledge that hasn't happened in the New England area, at least not yet.

So your scenario... either way it would be a very rare event, but definately possible, in fact we're probably due for something major. You could say any scenario is possible as recorded weather history (storms anyway) does not go that far back, it could be that freak storm systems of incredible destructive potential happen on timescales of like once every thousand years, and we simply haven't seen one yet.


Would a huge storm with tornadoes all over the place be strange for MA in the winter time? (specifically, Weston in Middlesex Co.). I'm trying to formulate a character reaction; the tornadoes are plentiful (several sightings of touchdowns, an F5 that plows these people's neighborhood).

THanks.

*sorry the title should read "Tornadoes IN MA"

technical blunder...

The Lonely One
12-16-2008, 08:26 AM
I love AW. Only here would I get an answer about tornadoes by someone named "tornadoboy."

Resident experts rock! THanks :)

Tornadoboy
12-16-2008, 08:29 AM
Thank you <gracious bow> :thankyou:


I love AW. Only here would I get an answer about tornadoes by someone named "tornadoboy."

Resident experts rock! THanks :)

frimble3
12-16-2008, 08:56 AM
Yes, but aren't tornados a hot-weather phenomenon? Like thunderstorms? Some cold air/hot air conflict thing that causes the spiraling? Just askin' cause we don't get them where I am. Waterspouts out on the ocean, maybe, but not tornados.

Unique
12-16-2008, 01:26 PM
Yes, but aren't tornados a hot-weather phenomenon? Like thunderstorms? Some cold air/hot air conflict thing that causes the spiraling? Just askin' cause we don't get them where I am. Waterspouts out on the ocean, maybe, but not tornados.

Not necessarily. We had tornados the week before Thanksgiving here in NC. Followed by brutally cold weather a week later. And it wasn't all that warm to start with. I heard them pass overhead and they touched down two towns away. It sounded like a squadron of F4s flying over my house. Low level. Sounds like a train, my ass.

Tornadoboy
12-16-2008, 03:30 PM
Yes, but aren't tornados a hot-weather phenomenon? Like thunderstorms? Some cold air/hot air conflict thing that causes the spiraling? Just askin' cause we don't get them where I am. Waterspouts out on the ocean, maybe, but not tornados.

You're right that they're a product of conflicts between cold and warm air, however those can happen any time of year depending upon what is happening, some of the worst have come from cold fronts that had caused blizzards colliding with unseasonal warm fronts.

Sometimes tornadoes over water have been called waterspouts, but true waterspouts are quite different in that they don't need a severe thunderstorm to spawn from.

RJK
12-16-2008, 06:48 PM
I'd sooner believe in dragons showing up in MA before tornadoes in the winter.

The Lonely One
12-16-2008, 09:16 PM
I'd sooner believe in dragons showing up in MA before tornadoes in the winter.

I haven't decided if that's a good or bad thing for my story.

Weather announcer calls the it a "record-breaking storm cell this late in the year."

Should I add, "additionally, police report they've spotted a dragon swooping over local neighborhoods, but are telling residents not to panic as Gawain has, repeat has been called on-scene" ? :)

jclarkdawe
12-16-2008, 09:38 PM
Weather announcer calls the it a "record-breaking storm cell this late in the year."

Should I add, "additionally, police report they've spotted a dragon swooping over local neighborhoods, but are telling residents not to panic as Gawain has, repeat has been called on-scene" ? :)

Last summer we had a tornado in New Hampshire. It only took them a week to decide that was what it was. More normally we have wind shears, which are nearly as destructive. But because tornadoes are so rare in New England, it takes about a week of research by the weather service to confirm that a tornado actually happened.

And New Englanders are not especially impressed by tornadoes. We're just not used to them, so we don't see them as a problem. We're used to things that last for a day or so of destruction.

As RJK says, I'd believe in a dragon coming to New England before a tornado in winter, but I'd go even further and say the dragon would have to come on the same day I won PowerBall and my book hit the best seller list for the 180th consectutive week.

Best of luck,

Jim Clark-Dawe

mscelina
12-16-2008, 09:44 PM
It would be unusual, but not impossible. We had tornadoes here in Ohio last February, and there have been tornado outbreaks in january (one destroyed the downtown area of my hometown in Tennessee In January of '98.) The huge Xenia tornado in '74 was in march; my MIL has pictures her helping her mom pick through the rubble of their house in snow the next day; she was pregnant with my husband.

it's possible, but unlikely considering MA's geographical position. But it is possible.

The Lonely One
12-16-2008, 09:46 PM
It would be unusual, but not impossible. We had tornadoes here in Ohio last February, and there have been tornado outbreaks in january (one destroyed the downtown area of my hometown in Tennessee In January of '98.) The huge Xenia tornado in '74 was in march; my MIL has pictures her helping her mom pick through the rubble of their house in snow the next day; she was pregnant with my husband.

it's possible, but unlikely considering MA's geographical position. But it is possible.

What? Sorry I didn't hear you, I was busy looking at THE CUTEST AVATAR I'VE EVER SEEN!

The Lonely One
12-16-2008, 10:01 PM
No, seriously, I was listening. Thanks for the advice ;)

shakeysix
12-16-2008, 10:10 PM
my great grandparents lost their house in a november tornado in 1917. another set of great grandparents were killed in an april tornado. even small out- of- season tornadoes are dangerous because they are unexpected. ---s6

johnnysannie
12-16-2008, 11:16 PM
I don't live in Mass. but where I live (SW Missouri) tornadoes can happen any time of the year. April is the start of "official" tornado season here; we lost our home when I was a teen in an April tornado.

I have heard on weather related programs that tornadoes happen in all 50 states.

And I did find this snippet in a search from NOAA page that landed me here:

Tornadoes are no strangers to Massachusetts, where we experience a few small tornadoes annually. People of this area have experienced the destruction of the infamous Worcester Tornado, which swept through Central Massachusetts in June of 1953. It was ‘on the ground’ for 1 hour and 24 minutes, traversing 46 miles and measured almost one mile wide at times. Ninety-four people were killed and over 1,200 were seriously injured. The total cost of damage was estimated at $53,000,000, as 640 homes were destroyed, with an additional 3,700 damaged


http://www.mass.gov/?pageID=eopsmodulechunk&L=3&L0=Home&L1=Public+Safety+Agencies&L2=Massachusetts+Emergency+Management+Agency&sid=Eeops&b=terminalcontent&f=mema_tornadoes&csid=Eeops

Teleute
12-17-2008, 08:18 AM
The most common scenario for a major tornado in MA would be, IMO, around late July to early October, right after a MAJOR hurricane hit the North Carolina coast (so that it's still a category 2 when 200 miles inland - this happened here during Katrina) or even New England, which occasionally (once in a century or less) happens. Tornadoes always follow a hurricane's wake, usually a day or two after dissipation, and they occur from the hurricane landfall site to, literally, 500 miles away. A hurricane hit the Texas coast this summer and we had 4 tornadoes make landfall in my tiny town in northern Mississippi. Arkansas and Missouri also had tornadoes, IIRC.

So tornado season, like hurricane season, is around April/May - October/November. The same atmospheric conditions created by hurricanes (low pressure, warm fronts colliding with cool fronts) cause tornadoes to develop. You don't HAVE to have a hurricane to cause that condition, but hurricanes create them quickly and mercilessly.

Tornadoboy
12-17-2008, 06:45 PM
A neighbor of mine was in the Worcester tornado, he was driving a truck loaded with large, empty milk containers when all of a sudden he found himself assaulted by debris and wind.

Next thing he knew it was over, he looked back and the all the containers were gone. (no joke)

A less destructive tornado spawned by the same storm struck maybe 10 miles from my house, it picked up a large metal garage-type structure and moved it intact about 50 yards, to where it still sits today.

Denton
12-17-2008, 06:54 PM
Should I add, "additionally, police report they've spotted a dragon swooping over local neighborhoods, but are telling residents not to panic as Gawain has, repeat has been called on-scene" ? :)

Perhaps is was a swarm of flying cows, mistakenly taken for a dragon, as they passed. :D

Tornadoboy
12-17-2008, 06:57 PM
I'd sooner believe in dragons showing up in MA before tornadoes in the winter.

Again perhaps during a NORMAL winter, but it is not unheard of to have quick two-day stretches of abnormal temperatures in the upper 50's or even 60's in the dead of winter, so combine one of those with an extremely cold and dry air mass pushing against it, and there's going to be problems.

Again to beat a dead horse, or perhaps dragon: Extremely unlikely? Yes. Impossible? No. Especially if we're talking fiction where plausibility is all that's needed, and with a little explanation and history this scenario could be, especially if it's presented as a freak event.

Oh and while we don't have any dragons here in MA we do have confirmed sightings of dinosaurs, they're all in elected office and trying to make our bank accounts and 401k's extinct.

Mike Martyn
12-17-2008, 09:57 PM
As an aside, is there any scientific explanation as to why tornados are drawn to trailer parks? :)

Chase
12-17-2008, 10:15 PM
I'm sorry to inform you, T-boy, that tornados operate solely on popular opinions, not documented facts and expert experience.

Anyone who has seen The Wizard of Oz and Twister knows tornados are strictly limited to Kansas and Oklahoma.

So get real, get off that dead horse, and drag it to the pet semetary somewhere near Derry, Maine.

MattW
12-17-2008, 10:19 PM
We had a tornado in my part of NJ this summer, and we get a report of one or an actual warning just about every year.

shakeysix
12-17-2008, 10:25 PM
if you are going to do a story on tornadoes hope you make the stormchasers the fools they are to us natives. nothing like watching a friend and neighbor's house scattered in pieces across the highway and then see a carload of assholes with video cameras and out of state tags pull up and saw "WOW! This is SO cool." and start filming--s6

The Lonely One
12-18-2008, 12:21 AM
I'm sorry to inform you, T-boy, that tornados operate solely on popular opinions, not documented facts and expert experience.

Anyone who has seen The Wizard of Oz and Twister knows tornados are strictly limited to Kansas and Oklahoma.

So get real, get off that dead horse, and drag it to the pet semetary somewhere near Derry, Maine.

:ROFL:

Here's a link to the story in SYW. I've already drafted it beyond this point, but some crits, maybe even specifically on the issue of this thread, would be nice :).

http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=124816