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Tornado Quest Science Week In Review For January 23 – 28, 2017

Greetings and salutations one and all! I hope the weather is being good to you wherever you are. There’s a lot to cover this week…and considering recent current events, there’s more than the usual amount of science and public policy topics to cover. Like it or not, the climate of the country is changing in more than one way. We’ve challenging times ahead.

For your consideration, here are this week’s links…

SCIENCE AND PUBLIC POLICY

Taking into consideration the inevitability that the next four years in the USA will be challenging for science, many scientists are now planning to run for public office.

From any rational viewpoint, a disturbing event that is unfolding daily. Any way you slice it, facts aren’t political. “What We Actually Lose When The USDA and EPA Can’t Talk To The Public.” (Updated)

Is there more than one way for the USA to pull out of the Paris climate agreement? Unfortunately, yes.

Still in its formative stages, the March For Science is slowly gaining momentum…and will likely be the next big march in Washington, D.C. The organizers have a website and Twitter account where you can stay up-to-date on details.

Starting with only a few texts between friends, “500 Women Scientists” has grown to 14,000 strong and counting.

TECHNOLOGY

A very interesting privacy and security read. “Firefox, Chrome start calling HTTP connections insecure.”

ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE/RENEWABLES

Environmental disasters such as the BP Deepwater Horizon Gulf Of Mexico oil spill take a heavy toll on the biosphere…and mental health of people who have to deal with the immediate effects and long-term aftermath.

The USA’s Environmental Protection Agency has an uncertain future. To get an idea of how filthy it was before its formation, take a look back at America’s environmental state before 1970.

Here’s some good news on the renewable/wind energy front. The USA’s largest offshore wind farm is coming to Long Island.

And some more good news…the Irish parliament has voted to take on the task of divesting from fossil fuels.

ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCE

NOAA recently tweeted a page that has been a good source of information on global warming…and it’s probably one of the best FAQ sites on the topic you’ll find online. There’s a plethora of references too…and those are gems for further research.

In recent decades, flooding in the northern countries of Europe has more than doubled.

The latest Drought Monitor shows that for the first time since March, 2011, exceptional drought conditions are not affecting the USA population.

Highlights: Drought conditions have eased a great deal across much of California.

capture-2

Extreme Drought conditions (red shading) have spread rapidly in parts of Arkansas and Oklahoma.

capture-1

If you’ve ever wondered how a well done tornado path survey is written up by a National Weather Service office, the survey of the Albany, GA tornado of 22 January 2017 by the Tallahassee, FL NWS is a good example. The vast majority of path surveys done by the NWS are exceptionally detailed studies.

And that’s a wrap for this post! As always, I’d like to send a warm welcome to my new followers in social media. It’s nice to have you along for the fun. 🙂

Cheers!

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Tornado Quest Science Links And Much More For April 18 – 25, 2016

Greetings to one and all! I hope everyone’s having a great week and, regardless of where you live, the weather’s to your liking. There are plenty of topics to cover this week, especially in the climate change realm, and we’ll touch on those. However, due to impending severe weather in the USA’s central and southern plains this week from 26 April – 28 April, this post will be shorter than usual. Speaking of the severe weather threat, this would be an excellent time to double-check your emergency preparedness kit, your NOAA weather radio, other reliable sources of information, and any other details regarding the safety of your family, friends, coworkers, and you. At the end of this post there are three infographics that will explain the basics of what you need to know for severe weather safety. Having said that, let’s get started on this week’s post.

For your consideration, here are this week’s links…

SCIENCE EDUCATION

Fortunately, reason and the scientific method have triumphed once again. “Court Tosses Kansas Case That Tried To Challenge Science Education Guidelines.”

TECHNOLOGY/SOCIAL MEDIA

Smartphone users are redefining, and diminishing, privacy in public places.

ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE

A very thought-provoking read on the “irony” of Earth Day cleanups.

A nice read on seven things we’ve learned about our fragile and humble home since the first Earth Day back in 1970.

On the flip side, there’s plenty to celebrate on Earth Day…no need for endless pessimism!

Natural disasters around the globe have resulted in economic losses of roughly $7 trillion (equivalent to about £5tn or €6tn) since 1900, according to a new calculation from scientists.

The relentless drought plaguing the western parts of the USA has had far-reaching effects of many facets.

As many as half of all USA citizens breathe air that is literally a public health hazard.

ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCE

There’s no doubt about it that April is, statistically, the top month for long-track tornadoes in the USA.

An excellent climate read from Climate Central. “Flirting With The 1.5°C Threshold.

March, 2016 continues a global streak of staggering global warmth due to climate change.

With the Paris climate agreement now signed by more than half of the world’s countries, the hard work begins.

“By mid-century, pockets of southern Europe will face at least one severe climate hazard every year of the scale now occurring only once a century, according to a new study.”

Sad but true quote from Upton Sinclair. “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.” No better way of displaying climate change denial at its best than with “Bill Nye the Science Guy Takes On Climate Denialist Joe Bastardi the ‘Goebbels’ Guy.”

Last, but not least, here’s some valuable information to have on hand with regards to the pending severe weather for this week…or any time of the year for that matter.

IMG_0805This graphic from the Storm Prediction Center explains what you need to know about the different levels of severe weather risks that are issued in outlooks.

Watch and Warning Info GraphicIf a watch or warning is issued for your area, here’s the basics of what you need to know…most importantly, the difference between a watch and a warning.

IMG_0807If a warning is issued for your area, any of the thunderstorms can contain at least one (if not all) of the above hazards.

Cg45hP8WgAAyK2h.jpg largeMany people are still confused as to the difference between a tornado warning vs. a tornado watch. Here are the basics of what you need to know.

And that’s a wrap for this post! I’d like to extend a warm welcome to my new followers in social media…glad you’re along for the fun!

Cheers!

________________________________________________________________________________________________

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Tornado Quest Science Links And Much More For March 14 – 21, 2016

Greetings everyone! Whether you’re in the Northern Hemisphere welcoming spring or the Southern Hemisphere watching the transition to autumn, I hope everyone’s had a good week. A quick reminder that National Weather Service offices across the USA are having Skywarn spotter training courses. Check with your local NWS office for details. In climate news, sea level rise has become a topic of a great deal of discussion as of late. For people living around the world in coastal or low-lying areas, this is a serious concern. On that note, let’s get started on this week’s post.

For your consideration, here are this week’s links…

TECHNOLOGY/SOCIAL MEDIA

Instagram, in their infinite wisdom, has decided to try what others have failed at or wisely backed out of…arranging posts in order of “relevance.”

ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE

A major league public health hazard is taking place in Mexico where, “Some 1.1 million vehicles were banned from the metropolis, children & elderly were encouraged to stay indoors, bus & subway services were offered for free amid the first high ozone alert in 14 years.”

An excellent primer on sustainable living in your home.

A very thought-provoking environmental read. “Nature, All Or Nothing.”

Take a look at these spectacular views of some amazing sea landscapes.

A fire and ice challenge for drought plagued California. Preparing for a flood while dealing with a drought.

Could climate change and/or environmental impact warnings on gasoline/petrol pumps actually work? It’s worth a try.

Time to step up to the plate Oklahoma. You should be next in line for this. “Colorado Considers Bill To Make It Easier To Sue Big Oil Over Fracking Earthquakes.”

ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCE

The public’s common mantra of “We didn’t know it was coming.” doesn’t hold up when meteorologists from both the National Weather Service and media have been talking about impending severe weather for up to four days in advance. The fact that said severe weather event occurred in December is irrelevant. When is severe weather season in the USA? From January 1 – December 31. Where does severe weather and/or tornadoes occur? Wherever they’ve occurred in the past…which is in all 50 states.

A very fun read on the twenty funniest and most fitting names in weather, specifically broadcast meteorology.

Why does the sky look bigger in some parts of the world? It’s simply a matter of subjective perspective.

The latest US Drought Monitor for 15 March 2016 shows dry conditions spreading across the central and northern plains while the relentless CA drought continues.

From NOAA: “February Global Temperature Anomaly Sets New Record For The Globe.”

A very nice introduction to a frequently asked question. “Global Warming Basics: What Has Changed?”

Spot on. “There’s good news and there’s bad news: More Americans are concerned about climate change now than at any time in the past eight years. But that’s because the consequences are getting harder to ignore.”

A fascinating read on a new study that looks back on the Earth’s climate, and climate change, up to five million years ago.

An interesting primer on why Nor’ Easters can be more intense than the typical snow-belt snowstorm.

A new series of papers coming from the University of Manchester will be the first extensive study of European tornadoes in ninety-nine years.

This week marks the anniversary of the Tri-State tornado…the deadliest tornado to date in the history of the USA.

Here’s a fun read on rainbows…one of the Earth’s most quixotic atmospheric phenomenon.

 JUST ONE MORE THING…

Get up, and get out. Spending time outdoors in nature is good for your health.

That’s a wrap for this post! I’d like to extend a warm “Welcome” to my new followers here on WordPress as well as on Twitter, Instagram, & Tumblr. I’m glad you’re along for the fun!

Cheers!

___________________________________________________

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Tornado Quest Science Links And More For Jan. 25 – Feb. 1, 2016

Happy February everyone! The first month of 2016 has come and gone in a flash. Before we know it, summer heat will be settling in over the Northern Hemisphere. In the meantime, January has been very active weather-wise for parts of North America and the UK. Both regions have experienced significant storms with hurricane force winds, blinding rains, devastating floods, and potentially deadly blizzard conditions. Let’s hope that February will be better behaved but, as is always the case, nature has the better hand and the money is always on the house. On that note, let’s get started.

For your consideration, here are this week’s links…

SCIENCE EDUCATION

Critical thinking and the scientific method are the key ingredients of sorting through the rubbish of conspiracy mindsets from proven facts.

So sad that in the 21st Century, this kind of retrograde mentality is not only being taken seriously, but flourishing with disturbing frequency.

TECHNOLOGY

Understandably so, Americans from across the political spectrum have become increasingly outraged and outspoken as they have learned more about growing surveillance by governments and corporations.

PALEONTOLOGY/EVOLUTIONARY BIOLOGY

Could you outrun a hungry Tyrannosaurus Rex? Even if you could, I would advice against it. 😉

ASTRONOMICAL SCIENCE

NASA’s Opportunity rover has gone above and beyond the call of duty by now purring smoothly into it’s 12th year of exploration.

This week marked the 30th anniversary of the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster. NASA marks the anniversary with a pledge to travel to Mars.

Can’t wait to see this finally in action! “Mirror on the Cosmos: NASA’s Next Big Telescope Takes Shape.”

ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE/RENEWABLE ENERGY

Wind and sunshine could power most of the United States by 2030 without raising electricity prices.

I’m really hoping that this comes to fruition. “By 2030, Renewables Will Be The World’s Primary Power Source.”

Huge hurricane resistant wind power turbines? Sounds like a sound idea to me!

A very sound idea! Denmark is preparing for climate change by building parks that can transform into ponds during heavy rainfall events.

Speaking of Denmark, the beautiful city of Copenhagen is set to divest from fossil fuels.

A sobering read on the increasing amounts of mercury found in rain water over the central and western parts of the USA.

It should come as no surprise that most of the earth’s pollution is created by only a small percentage of polluters.

ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCE

Many of us, including yours truly, love snow…but is it safe to eat?

An interesting read on the recent USA snowstorm and it’s connection to climate change.

A good climate read. “Study Finds Slim Odds Of Record Heat, But Not As Slim As Reported.”

Using data going back centuries, climate scientists have found that modern-day European summers are the warmest since the height of the Roman empire. For all practical purposed, this will mean a new way of life.

In spite of recent rains and modest improvements, drought conditions persist in parts of California and Oregon where some reservoirs remain well below half of their capacity.

Capture 1

This one day view of our Earth from a satellite is spectacular and a “must see.”

THE QUIXOTIC

Well said! “I hope that by showing how eye-wateringly unlikely some alleged conspiracies are, some people will reconsider their anti-science beliefs.”
Burying one’s head in the sand may feel good for the moment, but it’s not a courageous way to face scientific facts for which there is indisputable evidence.
And that’s a wrap for this post!
I’d like to extend a warm welcome and “Hello” to all my new followers in social media. I’m glad you’re along for the fun!
Cheers!
Media inquiries: tornadoquest@protonmail.ch
Tornado Quest on Twitter: https://twitter.com/tornadoquest
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Tornado Quest Science Links And Much More For Nov. 22 – 29, 2015

Greetings to all! I hope you had a great week. If you celebrated Thanksgiving this past Thursday, I hope you had a great holiday. As the end of the 2015 Atlantic tropical cyclone draws to an official close, we can take note that it’s been another year without a significant landfall on the contiguous US states. Save for Sandra, an intense late season hurricane, the Eastern Pacific has fallen silent as well. Our attention, for those who care about the future of our planet, will turn to the United Nations Conference On Climate Change (COP21) in Paris, France in the coming week. Lots of news to keep on on…and plentiful links of good info within this post…so let’s get started.

For your consideration, here are this week’s links…

TECHNOLOGY

Finding a secure mobile messaging app can be a daunting task. This article should help you easily narrow down your choices.

CITIZEN SCIENCE

You only have to step out of your back door to take part in this citizen science project. “Collecting Meteorites In Your Own Back Yard.”

ASTRONOMICAL SCIENCE

Check out this amazing 46 billion pixel map of a small part of our Milky Way galaxy.

This nice retrospective puts NASA’s Apollo program in a new light.

ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE/RENEWABLES

“The Great Pacific garbage patch is one of the world’s least talked about environmental disasters.” It’s plastic in paradise.

A new satellite program called FireSat, has the potential to be invaluable in a world where, due to climate change, large fires have become more common.

A slight rise in US carbon emissions was noted in 2014. Thought it was less than 1%, it’s still far too much and in the wrong direction.

This amazing animation from NASA gives us an idea of our planet’s yearly plant cycle.

A very interesting question! “Why Are Autumn Leaves Mostly Yellow In Europe And Red In North America?”

This very nice interactive map unveils the mystery of wind turbines.

What can the world learn from Europe’s self-styled greenest city? A lot!

Once again, Sweden is leading the way by challenging the world to go fossil fuel-free.

ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCE

Here’s a very nice overview of the 2015 Atlantic tropical cyclone season. Joaquin was the most intense hurricane this year…reaching Category 4 status.

Recent discussions of a climate change “hiatus” have proven to be as unsound as the use of the word itself.

A good read from the World Meteorological Organization. “2015 Likely To Be Warmest On Record, 2011-2015 Warmest Five Year Period.”

One of the most sparsely populated states in the USA is also one of the leaders in the per capita CO2 production.

Do you think you’re up to taking the “hardest climate change quiz ever?”

The most unusual weather story I’ve seen in some time. “D.C. Weather Balloon Falls On Car In Philadelphia And Is Mistaken For A Bomb.”

Will be interesting to see how well this works out. “New National Weather Service Outlook Will Tell You About The Next Snowmageddon Up To A Week In Advance.”

A very informative read by Dr. Marshall Shepherd. “Four Odd Facts About Rain.”

A nice paleoclimatology read. “Scientists discover 308-million-year-old tropical forest in the Arctic.”

THE QUIXOTIC

Sadly, a vast majority of our elected public servants in Washington, DC are out of step with sound scientific evidence and the American public.

That’s a wrap for this post! I’d like to extend a sincere welcome to my new social media followers! Glad you’re along for the fun!

Cheers!

Media inquiries: tornadoquest@gmail.com

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Tornado Quest Science Links And Much More For Nov. 1 – Nov. 8, 2015

Overall, it’s been a relatively quiet weather week across most of North America. A taste of autumn severe weather activity on Thursday, November 5 was one of the few highlights. Much of the southern states received beneficial rainfall. Unfortunately for the western states, the ongoing drought has stayed the course.  Due to several ongoing projects, this week’s post will be brief.

For your consideration, here are this week’s links…

TECHNOLOGY/PRIVACY

Clicking that “Do Not Track” box may do you no good after all.

The next time a new “flavor-of-the-month” app rears its head and the developer describes it as a “game changer,” think twice about installing it. Chances are they’re playing a “game” with your private data.

ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE/RENEWABLES

An under-reported story. Indonesia’s devastating (and deadly) forest fires are man-made.

Here’s some very encouraging renewables news. Sweden is aiming to be the world’s first country free of fossil fuels by 2050!

ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCE

Tornadoes in North America aren’t limited to the spring months. In fact, the autumn is historically noted as a very active severe weather season.

Explaining Extreme Events of 2014 from a Climate Perspective” is a fascinating read published by the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society.

The lasting legacy of climate change will be heat.” Indeed, a true statement as the long-term affects of climate change become more clearly defined with increasing research.

An interesting read on paleoclimatology research. Tree rings are being used to get a retrospective of Europe’s climate going back 2,000 years.

Quite often, the process is as important as the content when conveying knowledge. “How To Explain Climate Change To Teens.”

A mixed bag of results, many disconcerting yet some encouraging, in this Pew Research Center overview of global concern about climate change.

That’s a wrap for this post! I’d like to extend a sincere “welcome” to my new social media followers! I’m glad you’re along for the fun!

Cheers!

 

Media inquiries: tornadoquest@gmail.com

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Tornado Quest Science Links And More For August 19 – 26, 2015

Perhaps the biggest news this week is the tropical cyclone activity in both the Pacific and Atlantic. We’re coming into the statistical “peak” of activity, so expect to hear quite a bit about one, and possibly more, storms in progress. Most eyes in North America are on Erika which, as of this post, is at tropical storm strength and expected to not intensify until sometime during the coming weekend. There are too many “cons” in the mix at the current time. While Erika bears watching, there’s no need for panic, falling victim to hyperbole, or taking anything seriously that’s spread by fear mongers…especially in the social media arena. Perhaps the best message behind the formation of Erika, and other tropical cyclones round the world, is the importance of having an emergency preparedness kit at the ready. Ready.gov has a great place to start with the basics. From there, you can move on to tailor your kit for your specific needs. The time to prepare is now…not when the National Hurricane Center is telling everyone in dire straits that any emergency preparedness actions should be rushed to completion. That’s a nice way of saying, “You’re out of time…and luck.”

With the tenth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina upon us, much of this week’s post will mostly focus on that event.

For your consideration, here are this week’s links…

SCIENCE EDUCATION

In order to get girls more interested in computer science (or any science field for that matter), the classrooms need to be less “geeky” i.e. more gender neutral.

CITIZEN SCIENCE

A very nice Citizen Science Essay on the power of the crowd.

ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE

Of the many long-term dimensions of climate change, the increasing risk of wildfires is one of the most daunting.

When firefighters speak out on climate change, it would behoove us to listen up very carefully.

ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCE/HURRICANE KATRINA

If you thought July, 2015 was hot, you were right. Based on NOAA data, it was the warmest month ever for our humble home.

Among many fields of science, it’s time for the health care industry to raise its voice on climate change.

A very telling read on climate change “skepticism” if you will…”Here’s What Happens When You Try To Replicate Climate Contrarian Papers.”

California isn’t the only state plagued by an ongoing drought. Much of Europe has been plagued by drought and heat waves as of late.

It’s been ten years since Hurricane Katrina devastated much of the central USA Gulf Coast. Here’s just one of many essays that ask an essential question. “What have we learned?”

An excellent overview from NASA on the scientific advancements in the last ten years and their relation to Hurricane Katrina.

From a public policy perspective, what has changed since Hurricane Katrina?

A retrospective on Hurricane Katrina from the National Weather Service offices in New Orleans, LA & Mobile, AL.

Here’s a very comprehensive Tropical Cyclone Report from the National Hurricane Center on Katrina. (43 page PDF file)

Is the coastline of the USA becoming more vulnerable to land-falling hurricanes? Absolutely…and it’s getting worse year by year.

Last, but not least, a very good read for anyone, especially storm chasers and/or “social mediarologists” seeking fame & followers by giving your storm images away for free. “Why Giving Permission Is Costing You A Small Fortune…” I see this happening online countless times during the year, with an alarming uptick in frequency during the height of the storm chasing frenzy. The very basis for this essay is also the reason why I stopped posting any images from my storm chasing expeditions back in 1998…and have no plans on sharing any in the future.

And on that note, that’s a wrap for this week! Here’s a hearty “welcome” to any and all new followers! Glad you’re along!

Cheers!

Tornado Quest Science Links And More For Aug. 5 – 12, 2015

Greetings to all. I hope your summer (for my Northern Hemisphere followers) is going well and you’re handling the heat as well as possible. It may be the middle of August, but with the amount of daylight decreasing daily along with lowering “average” high temperatures, there are hints that autumn is just around the corner. In fact, for the N. Hemisphere, the meteorological autumn starts on September 1st. Nothing magical happens at the stroke of midnight on September 1st, it’s simply an easier way to “compartmentalize” the months of the year for statistical climatological purposes. The peak of the Atlantic hurricane season is literally on the doorstep. From this week until late September, the probabilities of Atlantic tropical cyclone formation increase dramatically. For the time being, a combination of dry air over the Atlantic along with wind shear (strong winds increasing in speed and direction with height) are not allowing any storms to organize. This will only be a temporary setup and the current calm scenario can and will change. For those who live in areas vulnerable to Atlantic tropical cyclones, this is an excellent time to make sure your emergency preparedness kits and plans are in place. Are you ready?

For your consideration, here are this week’s links…

TECHNOLOGY/SOCIAL MEDIA

A very nice essay on a phenomenon that is one of the biggest irritants of my online experience (aka…adverts & pop-ups). “The Ethics Of Modern Web Ad-Blocking.”

GEOLOGICAL SCIENCE

How many American’s are vulnerable to earthquakes? The numbers are surprisingly high.

ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE/RENEWABLES

How about some awesome renewables news. “The US Wind Energy Boom Couldn’t Come At A Better Time.”

This has to be seen to be believed. “Millions Of ‘Shade Balls” Protect LA’s Water During Drought.” Naturally my first question is, “Are these plastic spheres recyclable and/or reusable?”

This article’s focus is on the UK, but it applies to countless large metro areas around the world.

Why is the USA turning to renewable energy? When it comes to even strictly economics, the answer is obvious.

A desert is a desert is a desert, right? Truth be known, there are several kinds of deserts with vastly different ecosystems.

ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCE

An excellent read that puts to the trash bin a common misconception. “Corrected Sunspot History Suggests Climate Change Not Due to Natural Solar Trends.”

You’ve probably seen this before, but there’s no time like the present to add this to your bookmarks. NWS Heat Safety Tips.

NOAA is quite confident that this year will be a relatively quiet hurricane season for the tropical Atlantic. But, the caveat is the fact that it only takes one land-falling hurricane to make it seem otherwise.

I can think of far worse places to live than Minneapolis, but by some accounts, the Twin Cities is rated as least desirable in climate ranking. When climate change is added to the equation, cities all across North America will be vastly different from they are now.

If climate change wasn’t bad enough, four of the worst insect pests known to the human species will thrive…unfortunately.

Central and eastern Europe has been roasting in a recent heat wave that can hold its own to anything seen in the USA’s southern plains.

Check out this amazing new series of maps from NOAA. This is the kind of site you can spend far too much time looking at…even if you’re not a weather geek.

This dashcam video from Taiwan is a perfect example of how ANY vehicle can be swept away by even the most modest tornadoes. IMHO, judging by the speed of water vapor in the vortex, the type of debris lofted, and behavior of buildings and vegetation, I’d rate this tornado no stronger than a robust EF-1 or a very weak EF-2…ergo…NO vehicle is safe in ANY tornado.

A bit of weather and engineering…ever wonder how a skyscraper stays intact during a typhoon/hurricane…or any high wind storm for that matter? Me too.

And that’s a wrap for this post! Here’s a hearty “welcome”  to my new followers. I’m glad you’re along for the fun. 🙂

Cheers!

Tornado Quest on Twitter.

Media inquiries: tornadoquest@gmail.com

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