Pat Shingleton: "Kites and Checks..."
I enjoyed a couple of days off last week and didn't forward a few columns. Over the weekend, Kite Fest Louisiane' had lower wind and a big episode of showers Saturday. In years past our beach trips included launching the kite. Aerodynamic design innovations have furthered kite flying to new "heights" that include multiple line maneuvering. The kite was first constructed in China, 2800 years ago, using silk and bamboo for a lightweight yet strong framework. In my early years, Nick Sudano's dad would construct our kites using sections of the Ellwood City Ledger glued to strips of balsa wood with a long tail for additional stability. March and April were perfect for kites as strong cold fronts provided northwest winds that kept our kites aloft for hours. In references to "wind," here's another item. On April 11, 1991 a cancelled check was sucked up by tornado in Stockton, Kansas. It was carried 223 miles to Robert Melcher's farm near Winnetoon, Nebraska. John Knox, an associate professor of geography at the University of Georgia, has researched airborne debris, carried by twisters, to better understand the intricacies of this weather phenomenon. Back then, Knox and his students categorized items by weight such as a Hackleburg, Alabama high school cheer leading jacket that flew 66 miles to Elkmont, Alabama, during a tornado outbreak. On April 27, 2011, more than 120 tornadoes caused 300 deaths across the South and retrieved items were compared to the direction of the storms. Regardless of weight, researchers determined that most of the debris fell slightly left of the storm's track. This research assisted in what is now known as a "debris field," now an additional component in tornado analysis. On a personal note, thanks to those that have responded to the many years that my column appeared in The Advocate. I deeply appreciate your feedback and your review of my weather-related items with great news to come, in the future, in that regard.