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The word of the week:  Tornado & BeRedCrossReady Disaster Preparedness Program

One can’t help but be amazed by the power of nature when there is a disaster such as the tornadoes that devastated areas of Massachusetts this week.  One TV weatherman said Massachusetts may expect two or three minor tornadoes a year.  So, this week’s multiple and extremely violent storms are quite a rarity.  Are you curious about tornadoes now like we are?  Here are some interesting excerpts from The Encyclopedia of Atmospheric Sciences’ essay on tornadoes:

“Tornadoes (from the Spanish words for turning and/or thunder) are rapidly rotating columns of air in contact with the ground; they are either connected to or are situated underneath a cumuliform cloud above.  They are sometimes visualized as a funnel cloud.  The funnel cloud can assume many shapes – from wide cylinders to narrow, ropelike, contorted tubes.  It may appear as dark when silhouetted against a bright, backlit background, or as a white mass when illuminated from the front. “

“Tornadoes vary from 100m to 3km in width and can last from just a few seconds to, in rare instances, an hour or more; many have a lifetime of tens of minutes.  They range in depth from only hundreds of meters to 10km.”

“Tornadoes have been observed all over the world, but they occur most frequently in the central US, where the conditions for the formation of their parent storms are most common.  Most tornadoes occur during the late spring, in the late afternoon and early evening.  However, tornadoes can occur during all seasons, at all times of the day.  Most tornadoes are associated with thunderstorms, which are often isolated, but are sometimes arranged in lines.”

“Many long-lived tornadoes appear to have similar life cycles.  Such tornadoes first appear as a rotating column of dust on the ground.  A funnel cloud then appears to build downward from the cloud base.  When the funnel cloud is nearly vertically oriented, widest, and in contact with the ground, the tornado is most intense.  Later in its life the tornado condensation funnel narrows and becomes more tilted; however, it is not necessarily much less intense at this stage.”

If you would like to read the entire essay, or any of the other books we have about natural disasters, please come in to the reference room and see our display.  Have a seat in a comfy chair by a window overlooking the lawn and read up tornadoes, hurricanes and other natural disasters. 

Then, you can attend the Red Cross Emergency Preparedness Program here at the library called BeRedCrossReady to learn what you can do to protect your family and property from a disaster.  This event is FREE and open to the public.  All information will be specific to Cape Cod and will cover both natural and man-made disasters.  Brochures will be available to take home.  Reservations are not required.  The BeRedCrossReady program will take place at the Falmouth Public Library at 300 Main Street on Thursday, June 9, 2011 at 10am in the Hermann meeting room on the lower level. Prepare now – hurricane season is here!

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