Author Topic: A World Turned Over  (Read 2113 times)

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Offline HailHunter

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A World Turned Over
« on: November 03, 2009, 01:27:24 PM »
This is neither a movie nor a television show, but I thought this would be the most appropriate place to put this topic.

I am currently reading "A World Turned Over" by Lorian Hemingway which discusses the tornado that struck Jackson, Mississippi in March of 1966 and obliterated the Candlestick shopping center.

It is fascinating on a few levels, but not all of them good. I have opted to write this as I have hit the halfway point of the book because she has now surpassed all accounts of the storm as it happened, and seems to have moved into the next "act" in discussing where Jackson has come since 1966 (the book was published in 2002.)

From an historical standpoint, this book is a fantastic read and puts the reader into an emotional embrace with the people who lived through the storm and those who lost loved ones. You feel for them, and they are not just numbers on a report of those dead or injured.

It is also incredible to get first hand accounts of some of the more miraculous moments that always seem to accompany the tragedies of tornadoes. In this case we hear a story about a woman and her child who should have surely died or at least been severely injured when their car was lifted up by the F5's winds only to be sat down clean and gently a few moments later.

However, Lorian Hemingway's editorial notes will really make the hair on weather buff's necks stand on end and often times you will just want to scream at her for being ignorant of weather information even though she is publishing a book all about one of the worst severe weather events to ever strike the state of Mississippi.

The first strike came when she referred to the Fujita scale as running from F0 to F6. Thankfully, any notion as to the Candlestick tornado being an F6 was not deposited from what I could tell. In fact, I don't think she did the storm justice at all. I cannot remember her referring to the tornado as an F5 either. She might have, but I am not remembering it right now.

Then came the first major exposure of her ignorance. This would be forgivable for most laymen, yet it is the stuck up way in which she puts her opinion on the topic out there by noting (paraphrasing here) that the "weathermen have changed their mind on this over the years...as though those who have seen it are lying."

She is describing the idea that pressure changes from tornadoes cause building to explode. She says this in such a snobbish way, as though the "weathermen" do not know what they are talking about but then does not provide information to back up her own stupid theory. The Candlestick shopping center showed no signs of having exploded from pressure, but instead was ripped apart by the tornadic winds. I don't know why people have such a time wrapping their minds around this concept to be honest. It's winds powerful enough to drive straw through pine bark, why would it not be strong enough to rip off roofs and pull down walls?

Lorian then completed her trifecta (or at least of the three that stuck out with me while reading) by relating this absurd notion that seems to be prevalent amongst people who don't study the weather that tornadoes are exceptionally rare or don't happen in the Autumn and Winter months.

I have had many an argument with my mother and aunt about the numerous tornadoes that have ripped apart Mississippi (and many other states around the Southeast) in the months of September through February, but they just declare that it never happened around here until some point in the recent past. 

Apparently it "never" happened around Jackson either as Ms. Hemingway notes in the first chapter of the second act that December used to bring her peace because tornadoes never happened in December. She then backtracks and lets it be known that they didn't happen before, but they do now. As though there has been some dramatic shift in the way weather mechanisms work since 1966.

You would think in all of her research, and especially the proximity Jackson has to Vicksburg that she would have came across the December 5, 1953 tornado outbreak that killed nearly 40 people in the city of Vicksburg. I guess for anyone that lived through that event who read Lorian's book would kindly like to inform her that December skies are not always peaceful, and certainly are not free from violent acts of nature.

Again, this is a fascinating read for anyone who wants more in depth information on the lives affected by the tornado, and she doesn't leave anything out with some of her accounts and the graphic details that will forever make me re-think the term "injury" when it comes to the aftermath of a tornado.

However, weather buffs will have to go in ready to grit their teeth at some of the ill informed notions and 'facts' that Lorian Hemingway deposits for the general public to devour once again, making it that much more difficult to educate them in the future.