STORM TRACK: March 31, 1986 (Volume 9 Issue 3)

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Washington Post, January 12, 1986: The first "tornadoes" of the season struck Bermuda, "damaging roofs and causing a rough landing for a commercial jet that was caught in a wind shear". Police spokesman Roger Sherritt said "at least three tornadoes struck ... between 9:30 and 11:20 a.m. yesterday."

Robert Welch of Virginia Beach reports a quiet January-February for southeast Virginia. However, January 3rd, a thunderstorm developed -- which was the earliest he could recall. Bob also saw clear, circular rotation in a lowered cloud base on March 7, as a "strong 'arctic cold front went through, bringing snow showers as the front passed about 10:40AM." Michael J. Roberts on Guam reports that "Barbara White is now doing the weather on our Cable TV. Doing a great Job."

Another writer, whose letter escapes me, reminds the Editor (and you) of the 1985 photo- graphy contest by Weatherwise advertised on the inside back cover of the December, 1985 issue. Space does not permit a complete repeat of the particulars, but first prize in either of two categories is $50 and a year's subscription to the magazine.

Unfortunately, it was no contest in the Vavrek home. Jiw Vavrek, a Chicago teacher, wrote: "Late one afternoon, last spring, a tornado watch was issued for my area ... a strong squall line was approaching from the northwest. After heavy rains and moderate wind, 1/4" hail began to fall and an apparent wall cloud appeared to the west southwest. I immediately ran into the house for the video camera and a fresh tape. I then ran into the family room for the recorder, where I was informed by my children, ages six and three, that this was simply not possible in the middle of Bugs Bunny! How dare I even request such a thing. Antici pating a rare photographic opportunity and deciding that 'I was the adult here,' I proceeded with the original mission and disconnected the recorder to thunderous cries. Then my wife appeared. 'What are you doing and why?' I very calmly stated what I was doing, but at this point the thunderous cries got louder and definite debris clouds formed near the sofa of the family room. She proceeded to give me a lecture on priorities ('I should have asked permission.'). I declared my rights on the grounds of being ~a parent, adult and of sound mind.' However, realizing that I had lost and, if I continued, the storm inside would be worse than the one out, I retreated outside -with no video or even a camera- to watch the wall cloud. Turns out, it never did anything anyway."


Pete Nisbet from New Mexico, a very talented artist, writes that his "first national article on painting clouds/storms will appear in the May issue of 'The Artists Magazine.' Paintings of storms are not popular, but people are beginning to see the beauty in them, also." The Editor has a color reproduction of one of the artist's paintings, in which that "beauty" is profoundly expressed in a massive mushroom thunderhead over southwestern plateau country (oil; 40X72"). You can spend 20 minutes just counting the sage brush. This is a very precise and realistic painter, and I strongly recommend your review of his work in the May magazine. Pots also says he is interested in painting tornadoes and hopes to chase some in Oklahoma and Texas this spring. So if he happens to contact you, now you'll know a little more about him.

Finally, Mike Watts from Florida sent a one page promotional flier from an ambitious and ingenious California software firm on how to forecast tornadoes -only $15.00! All you need are NWS Facsimile Charts and a Hewlett-Packard HP-41C hand held calculator with Magnetic Memory Card Reader ..."unveiling to you areas where TORNADOES are generated. A formula is applied which produces positive results. You will be able to verify these results with awesome regularity! ... It just takes a few minutes of your time..." Says Mike, "Snake oil is still available, even in the '80's." (Copies available on request-Ed.)

(Editor: Corrections to the last issue of ST - Mark L. Paran's address should read "84 Gainsborough Street," not "24." Also, the closing hurricane commentary was submitted by Rick Schwartz, not Robert Welch. Sorry for these lapses, probably a little late night overload.) [ Changes made for CD-ROM edition ]