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Severe weather still offers new things to learn

BY BRYAN PAINTER Modified: December 1, 2009 at 4:18 am •  Published: December 1, 2009
Gaining new knowledge on familiar subjects is something I really enjoy.

Born and raised in Oklahoma, I’ve been around severe weather throughout my life.

But this year I gained new knowledge regarding weather. A lot of it has come from knowledgable, patient individuals at the National Weather Service and the Oklahoma Climatological Survey.

Take for example the EF-4 tornado that hit Lone Grove and the Majestic Hills area near Ardmore on Feb. 10.

Mike Foster, meteorologist in charge with the National Weather Service’s Norman Forecast Office, and Rick Smith, warning coordination meteorologist with the National Weather Service, noticed the roofs were missing on four houses in Lone Grove. That’s not unusual with such a strong tornado.

However, Foster and Smith walked several hundred yards away from the houses and found no pieces of the roofs.

But Foster received a call from a resident at Sulphur who said debris from roofs had fallen there. What I learned from Foster was this: "It gets lofted up to very high levels and then it gets continuously sort of centrifuged out and thrown out off of the left side of the storm. When it gets up into the mid-parts of the storm it’s getting into winds that are far faster than what the speed of the storm is.”

Again, I knew that there would be debris nearby and I knew that things such as letters and documents get picked up and carried long distances.