Friday, June 10, 2011

recently relevant

(As I get around to writing down some things about my trip to Gabon in the next few days, this is going to temporarily turn into a yet another boring old personal travel blog... but hey I don't go exciting foreign places very often so live with it :P In the meantime, I already had this ready to post when I lost my connection the last time I had a connection ten days ago.)

The recent tornadoes near my home in Oklahoma remind me of this great interactive graphic from the NYTimes. In particular, the map of tornado risk:



And if you look at the overall natural disaster risk map, it's pretty obvious that tornadoes dominate everything else. I find that a little surprising but if NYT says so it must be true. Under some unknown metric.

My parents have been really lucky actually; I think the only storm damage they've had was roof damage from hail, which my dad repaired on his own so he could use the insurance check to buy a computer. I think he would probably take that deal any day.* But I saw several of them as a kid coming towards us and hid in the closet or storm shelters who knows how many times. The worst storm, on May 3 1999, which saw 61 tornadoes touch down in the state on a single day, beating the previous record of 60 in a month, took place when I was living in Germany and the worst thing that happened to us was a lot of stress waiting to hear from people that everything in Stillwater was ok.

But recently my cousins' condo was hit by a tornado, and a dozen houses or so were damaged in Stillwater, and when that happens, the numbness towards tornado risk that you build up over dozens of eventless sirens takes a hit.

And then, apparently, you blog about it.

*Yeah this is probably where I get my tendency to refuse to call a tow truck after totaling my car and spend a couple hundred hours repairing it myself with salvage yard parts and Wal-mart spray paint for under $300...

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