Pat Shingleton: "Sunlight and Tornadoes..."
Cap clouds or foehn walls appear as stationary clouds that hover over the tops of mountain peaks. A row of small, curving clouds that resemble ocean waves also form around mountain ranges and are called Kelvin-Helmholtz. From November through February the village of Rattenberg, Austria is virtually in the dark. There’s plenty of sunshine in this area but a 3,000 foot mountain completely blocks the sunlight to Rattenberg. Markus Peskoller is the director of Lichtlabor, an Austrian company that uses reflector technology to bring sunshine to European villages that are plagued with winter darkness. Years ago, Peskoller and his company installed 30 heliostats to re-direct sunshine. Heliostats are mechanically rotating mirrors that grab the sunshine from reflectors that are positioned at neighboring villages. Once the mirrors capture the light they systematically spill the sunlight around the mountain and bathe Rattenberg with sunshine. From light to twisters and climatological data that indicates one of the largest single tornado outbreaks occurred on April 3rd and 4th, 1974. For sixteen hours, 148 tornadoes damaged 13 states east of the Mississippi River, including the province of Ontario, Canada. The combined path length for the 148 tornadoes was 2,598 miles reflecting a path length of 19 miles for each twister. Deaths from the twisters totaled 315 people with 5,484 injuries. Six of the funnels reached F5 intensity with six cities hit twice in the same day. On May 1, 1933, the deadliest tornado in Louisiana history struck Minden with 28 deaths and 400 injuries. Until the end of tornado season, at least five tornadoes will touchdown somewhere in the United States. Statistically, it would take 1400 years before being struck by a tornado. Professor Theodore Fujita, developer of the Fujita scale for determining tornado intensity, waited more than 30 years before seeing his first live twister.
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