Sunday, April 24, 2011

Do Numerologists Celebrate Easter?

I updated my profile page not too long ago to explain how I edged into this whole bloggin' thing sideways.  I haven't been very stealthy about keeping the kids' names hidden in Christmas cards and kindergarten art, but I also don't use them in google-able text.  It was clear we lived in the mid-west but not till I mentioned Albert Pujols would anyone have been able to put us in a particular state.  (No, "Flyover Country" is not a legally recognized entity). 

It's also fairly clear that Matt works for an airline, since our recent travel travails were due, in part, to our status as "non-revenue generating passengers".

So although the evidence is there, it is still with some resignation I pull all the strings together...  And yet, I cannot not tell this story. 

Guess where Matt was Friday night?  Terminal 1, C concourse.... when the tornado struck.  He's fine.  Everyone at the airport was fine - sounds like there were some lacerations, maybe some stitches, but nothing life threatening.  City wide, there were swaths of homes wiped out but I haven't heard of any fatalities, nor even of any serious injuries.

Matt said it really did sound like a train.  The weather was nasty and the tornado sirens had been going on and off all day.  Not unusual but he was still keeping an eye on the window when he realized some of the lightening strikes were actually transformers blowing.  Then he heard the roar, and saw paper flying thru the air - clearly a building had been struck.  He and his people starting moving - and then it was all over in less than a minute.  Nature at its most fearsome, over in a flash.

Here's a video of the tornado hitting on youtube:

Here's another - it's longer, but catches some of the actual tornado, gets some immediate behind the scenes damage shots, AND is set to some rockin' music.  Matt knows a couple of the guys caught on camera. 

Also, some of the best still photos of the damage were, oddly, in the Kanas City paper

Anyone reading along may have also noted my fascination with random statistics and the whims of fate.  I like funny coincidences and to track improbabilities, but as our native son may or may not have said, there are "lies, damn lies, and statistics".  Despite scoring the long odds a few times, I haven't (yet) developed a full blown paranoid persecution complex - they are just numbers.  At best they add some color to my stories.  At worst I'm guilty of special snowflake syndromeWe've been incredibly lucky in many ways too - heck, we're still married almost 12 years in, despite all The Drama.  Just like hitting the lottery, right?  (wait...  can I choose?  No, no... I jest).

But still...  A TORNADO?!?!?

I googled the odds of being struck by a tornado but could only find the odds of dying in one, which were, if you're curious, anywhere from 1 in 60,000 to 1 in 4.5 million, depending on which website you check.  See Mr. Twain's statement, above.  According to the National Weather Service, Friday's tornado was an EF4 immediately before it struck the airport.  According to Wiki, there are about 1,200 tornadoes a year in the US; less than 1% of them are an EF4.  Funny stuff. 

Side note:  I find it odd that the severity of the tornado is only ranked in terms of damage caused - sort of like being graded just for showing up.  If they hit an airport, and drive shrapnel thru multi-million dollar jets, they get a higher ranking than if they were twice as strong but only hit a meadow.  Hurricanes are rated by wind speeds - Probably not too many folks volunteering to measure a tornado's wind speed though.

I don't have a profound summation, and since we have to leave for Easter dinner, not even a closing haiku.  Just that my goodness, this is a magical marvelous life, this life of ours.  Happy Easter.


  1. oh man. I was wondering....I'm glad you're all okay.

    but yeah. maybe buy some lottery tickets? because, really.

  2. So glad you guys are safe! My sister & fam were driving down to STL during all the madness and she said that drive cured her of ever wanting to be a storm chaser. It's a miracle that no one was seriously hurt in that!

    P.S. I hope you found many chocolate easter bunnies to relax your nerves after that!

  3. And you think earthquakes are dangerous?! The damage is remarkable!