The massive tornado that tore through Moore, Oklahoma today is estimated to have been between 1 to 2 miles wide (!) and stayed on the ground for about 40 minutes. As of this writing it's been designated as an EF4 category storm, but that could change. The damage is hugely extensive and the total loss of life and property won't be determined for a several days to come as workers dig through the rubble and debris. The above time-lapse video shows how the twister started fairly small then quickly grew into a super-destructive force of nature with wind speeds estimated - so far - to have been upwards to 200 miles per hour. The same region around Oklahoma City was ravaged by an EF5 tornado back in May of 1999. A local meteorologist called today's tornado "the worst tornado in the history of the world." The devastation seen in the aftermath of today's monster tornado lends some credence to that statement but time will tell.
Go to Smithsonian.com to put this deadly storm in perspective.
Check out some amazing footage of mud and debris flowing from nearby mountains during a heavy rainfall in the village of Virgen, Austria. What's cool is that the flows come in pulses, which I guess is typical of this kind of thing there.
I've been checking out some of the visual material taken of yesterday's massive flooding in Duluth and thought this one was pretty interesting. The video of the raging Miller Creek in Lincoln Park was taken while it was still raining and you see can visible change in the water level by the end of it.
Watch 300,000 cubic meters of Swiss mountainside collapse before your very eyes.
Courtesy Public domain from USGS via WikipediaIf you have nothing else to do this weekend, why not spend some time monitoring volcanic eruptions? Erik Klemetti at Wired Science has updated his compilation of a whole bunch of links to webcams trained on various volcanoes around the world. Some, like Hawaii's Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa weren't doing much when I looked at them, but others, like Mexico's Popocatépetl and Japan's Aso were showing some activity.
This incredible video shows one of the two tornadoes that swept through Springfield, Massachusetts today sucking up water from the Connecticut River.
Noted hurricane forecaster Dr. William Gray has offered up his 2008 Atlantic hurricane season predictions. (The season begins on June 1 and runs through November 30.)
Gray's team, working out of Colorado State University, is predicting an above-normal season, with 15 named storms, 8 hurricanes, and 4 major hurricanes (category 3 storms or higher). Why? A La Nina pattern creates cool water conditions in the Pacific and warm sea surface temperatures in the eastern Atlantic. Warm sea surface temperatures are critical to the formation of hurricanes.
What's "above average"? An average hurricane season produces about 10 tropical storms and 6 hurricanes. In 2007, 14 tropical storms formed, and 6 of those strengthened into hurricanes. But 2005, of course, was a record-shattering year, with 28 storms, including Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
Buzz thread on Hurricane Katrina, started on 8/29/2005.
Buzz thread on Hurricane Rita, started on 9/22/2005.
Do you know about the 1938 hurricane that crashed into New England?
And, lastly, here are the hurricane names for 2008: