Pat Shingleton: "Twisters and Grapes..."
Tornadic activity in Europe isn't as extensive as what we experience in the United States. The reason seems to be the dynamics that create twisters. There isn't an elevated source of rising hot, dry air to seal-off the instability in the atmosphere. The mountain ranges and uplands create a smaller patchwork of enhanced tornado frequency. This scenario limits the sections of tornadic activity to eastern France and western Germany. In 1845 a rare, violent supercell tornado killed 70 in Montville, Normandy while a series of strong tornadoes hit the Netherlands in 1967. Oddly, after the movie "Twister" was released in the late 90s, reports of tornadoes increased. Jenni Teittinen, a representative of the Finnish Meteorological Institute, reported that 39 tornadoes were reported in Finland from 1997 to 1999 as inexperienced observers were confused between real twisters, dust devils and downbursts. In closing, grapes have advanced to one of the "top crops" for Louisiana. The Muscadine variety is popular with the Felicianas and St. Helena Parish offering tastings throughout the year. Concord Grapes were a staple for us in our younger years in Pennsylvania. Residents would sink posts, connect bailing wire and plant the young vines in late February or early March. Our vines were very old, producing enough sweet grapes for consumption and for our Mom to "can" jars of grape jelly. Our neighbor, Lee Whitmire, had a larger, more developed arbor that enclosed a portion of his backyard. His arbor seemed to be always loaded with grapes and also served as a quiet, comforting and inviting space. I remember those September days of sitting next to my grandfather, under the arbor's shade, in late summer. They would solve the problems of the world while I ate fresh grapes.