Pat Shingleton: "A Tornado- Ding-Ding..."
Saturday's round of showers and thundershowers found our warnings and alerts confined to storms and not tornadoes. The Severe Storms Prediction Center is currently alerting sections of Texas with the potential of severe weather into Tuesday evening. For our area, Thursday will be scheduled for potential damaging winds and another round of hail. Imagine a tornado warning system consisting of a telegraph line that surround an entire community. The line was then attached to a conventional batteries and housed at a local telegraph office. The battery provided a constant and consistent current through the line. The telegraph line would then be connected to a small bell in every house in the town. An apparatus that replicated an alarm clock encased the bell, preventing it from ringing as the current flowed through the wire. During a tornado episode, the circuit would be manually interrupted by a telegraph operator. This step would engage and ring the connected bells. A similar device, connected to a cannon, would also fire when the circuit was broken. This mechanism and the related process was designed and implemented by Edward Holden in 1884. Aspects of this system are in use today for tornado warnings.