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Pat Shingleton: "Twister Debris and the Roller..."

6 months 1 week 5 days ago April 11, 2016 Apr 11, 2016 Monday, April 11 2016 April 11, 2016 5:46 PM in Pat Shingleton Column
By: Pat Shingleton:

On April 11, 1991 a canceled check was sucked up by tornado in Stockton, Kansas.  It was carried 223 miles to Robert Melcher’s farm near Winnetoon, Nebraska. Years ago, John Knox, an associate professor of geography at the University of Georgia, conducted research on how debris is carried by twisters to better understand the intricacies of this weather phenomenon. 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. April continues to be a month of potential damaging storms. Another item, our Mom, Grandma Shirley, will be 95 this Sunday. Until last August, she resided in the house where she was born that rests on an acre of land in Ellwood City, PA.  That property is maintained with a Spring and Fall leaf clean-up and regular cutting through the spring and summer. Most lawns in that section of the country incur damage from the winter weather and her property can be damaged due to access to her back door. Last year, she commented, "Patrick, there's lots of 'ruts' in the yard but we can get out the 'roller' to mend those." Imagine a 3-foot-long cement tube, 2 feet in diameter. Stick a pipe in it, fill it with concrete, attach a metal brace  to the pipe placed in the cement. Finish the construction by attaching a 5 foot 2 by 4 to the brace with a horizontal handle to push and pull the roller. This was constructed in the 1920s and was always propped against our garage and used by our father, grandfather, and us.... to "roll the yard." That roller still works and has caused numerous hernias.


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