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Tornados and Severe Storms

by Frederick C. Kruse III - Fritz


Welcome to my Tornados and Severe Storms homepage.  I grew up in Baraboo, a very small town in southern Wisconsin, and tornados were in my blood from birth.  I was born in Madison, Wisconsin and my parents, first day from the hospital, took me for a ride around the State Capitol during a thunderstorm, my first chase.  As I was growing up, my dad and my uncle would always talk thunderstorms and tornados, and they had many discussions on the causes of tornados, anywhere from lightning to Earth's magnetic fields.  My favorite movie was the "Wizard of Oz" with the tornado scene.  Every time there was a severe thunderstorm, my dad would wake us 4 kids to take the whole family out of the house and watch the storms from a hill; even at 4 o'clock in the morning.  Part of the reason was for protection, we did not have a basement, and the other was to watch lightning and tornados.  On 8 May 1964 during a family outing to Adams Friendship, Wisconsin, we witnessed the first tornado.  My mom was looking to the west and said to my dad, "that looks like a tornado!"  My dad remarked that these were just "hangers".  Hangers was a slang term we used to describe any scud clouds or hanging National Weather Service - Dodge City, KSdown funnel like clouds under a severe thunderstorm.  One of these "hangers" quickly became a tornado and was coming for us.  Immediately the sky turned a sickly dark, and my dad pulled the Vista Cruiser over to the side of the road.  It was so windy, with torrential rain, and darkness you could not see in front of you.  My dad tried to open the door to take a look, but the wind was so strong he had to use all of his force to open it.  Quickly he said to us kids in the back, "Get down on the floor" and seconds later a large tree fell down in back of the car, and the car started to rock in the winds.  Maybe a minute passed and the sky turned blue again.  A few miles down the road, there were twisted trees and only a foundation of a house.  Later I asked my dad, "What was that!" and he said, "That was a tornado."  Then, after almost nearly being killed by a tornado, my curiosity peaked, I asked him how tornados form.  He said, "No one really knows exactly how they form and why."  He told me to go to the library and check some books on Tornados.  The very next day I brought home as many books as I could carry on severe storms and tornados, and I could not put them down.  I was glued to every bit of information and trying to glean every tidbit of understanding.  This led to a Degree in Meteorology from the University of Wisconsin and a career in the National Weather Service with a strong desire to understand the exact causes of the tornado and to try to save some lives.

Tornadic Storm Chases and Pictures

 Windthorst KS - 7 May 2002 | Dalhart TX - 15 May 2003 | Shattuck OK - 21 April 2004

 Medicine Lodge KS - 12 May 2004 | Alma NE - 22 May 2004


Favorite Links

NWS Dodge City Kansas | Storm Prediction Center | SPC Mesoscale Analysis | Nexlab Radar | Nexlab Severe Warnings | CAPS Weather Page | Wunderground Severe Weather | UCAR Weather Data | Unisys Contour Plots | 1KM Satellite | Stormtrack | Tornado Project | Kruse Genealogy | Heavens Above | USGS Earthquakes | Mars Explorers | Les Feldick Bible Study | Expedia Maps | Space.com | Canadian Model | European Model | SSEC Satellite


Favorite Storm Chasers Homepages
Jon Finch | Mike Umscheid | Bryan McAvoy | Jon Davies | Al Pietrycha | Gene Moore | Jim Leonard | Robert Prentice | Al Moller | Chuck Doswell | Roger Edwards | Rich Thompson | Roger Hill | Bill Reid | Don Lloyd | David Blanchard | Steve Hodanish | Melissa Moon | Dave Ewoldt | Twister Sisters | Matt Crowther | Neal Rassmussen | John Moore | Dave Lewison | Scott Weberpal | Laura Duchesne | Mike Hollingshead

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Created: 24 April 2004     Updated: 23 May 2004