Pat Shingleton: "The First Prediction and the Easterlies"
On March 25, 1948, two Air Force weathermen, Air Capt. Robert Miller and Maj. Ernest Fawbush proved, with a certain degree of accuracy, that a prediction could be issued determining when a tornado would hit. With reams of atmospheric data and a radarscope designed for a World War II airplane, the two officers issued the first tornado warning. They determined that atmospheric conditions were identical to an earlier tornado that damaged Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma and predicted that the next would be stronger than the first. Miller and Fawbush typed out a warning as people were evacuated, controllers were dismissed and airplanes were tied down. This marked the first time in weather forecasting that a tornado warning was issued and by the time the two officers ended their shift, nothing happened and they were certain they had made a mistake. However, between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m., the storm hit and twisters caused $6 million in damage to the base but no injuries. The scientists proved that predictions on when a tornado could hit were possible. Because of their actions the Air Force extended to them the responsibility for severe weather forecasts for all domestic military bases. March 25, 1948, is recognized as first tornado warning day. For the weekend, the official sunrise services on Easter Sunday will be at 7:02 a.m. Weather journals will occasionally refer to the tugging, twisting, global wind patterns that include the westerlies, the trade winds and appropriately for Sunday, the "easterlies." For your Easter Egg hunts, other outdoor activities and family gatherings, it appears that we'll need to do some shower-dodging. I located references to "weather" in the Scriptures. In Psalms 97:4 we find, "His lightning lights up the world; the Earth sees and trembles." The 147th Psalm says, "He spreads the snow like wool and scatters the frost like ashes." Job 38:3-7, "Who has the wisdom to count the clouds?" "Who can tip over the water jars of heaven?" If you're coloring Easter Eggs today, you may need some supplies from the local pharmacy and a contribution to the St. Vincent de Paul Pharmacy would be appreciated. During the last 40 days and nights we have sought your support for our "Fill a Prescription for the Needy" campaign. Since 1999 more than 1.5 million prescriptions have been filled. "Fill a Prescription for the Needy" is the last resort for the elderly, poor and homeless who are unable to afford prescription medicine. Years ago, Dr. Redfield Bryan and Father Mike Moroney asked me to design the idea. My heartfelt thanks to them, the late Howard Bolton, to Michael Alcaldo, Lisa Hubbell, Kay Keyes and the pharmacists and volunteers at St. Vincent de Paul for their efforts. Most importantly thanks to all of you who dropped your contribution into our canisters. We raised $93,000 in 2015 with hopes of matching that amount this season.