Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Julie Chin :)

(ABOVE: Covering severe weather-- at 1:30am. The KJRH 2 Works for You weather team in 2008. George Flickinger (me), Julie Chin, George Waldenberger, Dan Threlkeld)

I couldn't believe it when Julie Chin told us she was leaving TV. But at the same time I understood and wasn't surprised.

She informed us of her decision a while back. Her eyes filled with emotion. Mine did too.


There's no such thing as a 9-5 job in TV.

Julie's morning schedule is probably the most brutal. Wake up at 2 something in the morning for a 10 hour shift. She doesn't "get credit" from viewers for coming into work at 2:30am. Be ready for lights, camera, action by 4:57am.

She's always the first one in and the last one out on the morning shift.

Why arrive so early? It takes about two hours to make a forecast and prepare the data for the newscast. KJRH doesn't hire someone to do that work either as to a meteorologist, that's like someone else doing your homework. There are no "talking heads" in the weather department at KJRH.

If storms are on the radar, her alarm clock goes off earlier-- she arrives at work at 1:30am. Even going to bed at 7pm, that's less than 6 hours of sleep. If it's raining several days in a row, then wow! Lots of extra hours if the weather lives up to Oklahoma standards.

Julie never cut corners behind the scenes either. Better than anyone else in town she researched local events for specific forecasts, planned out exactly what graphics to show and why, searched for ways to engage the viewer on each individual weathercast. And she did it all with her signature smile and natural enthusiasm!

On top of that, everyone requests Julie! She loves her school talks, hosting duties, volunteering and public appearances. She will continue to be a community pillar after her broadcast career is over.

(ABOVE: Julie Chin (w Jason Grubbs) at one of her zillion events. From the Sand Springs Soap Box Derby. Check out the video! I strapped a camera to mini-Storm Chaser 2 to record Julie racing.)


Julie survived Tulsa TV for 9 years, and she did the job better than anyone. Need proof? Look at the results-- KJRH has grown to its highest morning ratings ever.

If Julie has future job plans, she hasn't told us what they are. She and her husband are staying in town, that's all she's saying for now.

Need a spokesperson? Hire her. Need a face for your Tulsa company? She's your woman. She'll learn your business plan better than you know it yourself!

KJRH would, of course, love her to stay on as a meteorologist, but she's too good! Her best days are ahead of her.

I think Julie might be smarter than the rest of us too-- she's now putting her life and her family first! (How fun of a Mom will she be?!)

I'll miss you, friend. After you catch up on some sleep, I'll see you around town. I bet you'll be smiling too, Jules! :)

BELOW: What you didn't see on TV-- Julie tucks her microphone pack out of sight into her sock, and she's two phone books tall! ;)

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Lunar eclipse

(ABOVE: photo courtesy, Mike O'Neal in Sperry.)

One of the best job perks is KJRH viewers sharing their pictures with us. Our meteorologists then get to broadcast those pictures to you during our weathercasts.

This picture of the moon really caught my eye!

Last weekend a lunar eclipse was visible just before sunrise.

On the morning of December 10, 2011 the Earth cast a shadow on the moon. A lunar eclipse occurs when the Earth is positioned and nearly perfectly aligned between the sun and the moon.

If you are wondering why the moon turns an orange-red color, it's due to the effects of Earth's atmosphere.

Though the physical body of Earth lies in the path of the sun during a lunar eclipse, the Earth's atmosphere "sticks out" from the planet. The sunlight passes through the atmosphere scattering the light, making the light somewhat opaque. Earth creates an a orange-red shadow on the moon as a result.

Enjoy this picture from Mike O'Neal in Sperry took this picture.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Going "Viral": that wasp picture

(ABOVE: my 15 minutes of fame... forever on the Internet)

You have probably been forwarded emails of funny pictures before, right? How about seeing yourself in one of the pictures-- that's happening to me daily!

The wasp picture on the page was viewed over 600,000 times in one week on one web site alone! Most folks don't know or care who I am, it's just a funny pic of a wasp and a weatherman. It makes me laugh too!

Here's what happened-- last month a wasp flew into the camera shot during a "2NEWS Midday" newscast. The camera is located atop the BOK building in downtown Tulsa.

I've seen wasps and other critters a
zillion times before on camera, and I didn't think it was a big deal when the critter flew into the shot. But I had fun with it, "Take cover Tulsa!!", I laughed on air!

Someone else thought it was funny too and snapped a picture of their TV. I don't know who started forwarding the picture. One month later, the picture "went viral" on the Internet.

Several web sites including: and picked it up. The picture went from a few hundred to 500,000 views in 24 hours.

I updated my personal Facebook page to the picture-- why not?!

Glad I made someone smile... I don't have choice either, I do BEElieve it's out there forever! ;)

(BELOW: I took this pic a few years ago in downtown Tulsa. The wasp picture was taken from a camera over the 52nd floor of the BOK building in the background.)

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

My results from 2011 Race the Rail, Watonga

(ABOVE: Beat a train, win a trophy.)

Here are my results from "Race the Rail" 2011 in Watonga, Oklahoma. Click here to read a description of the race.

The wind was the huge story of this year's race. I don't think I've ever cycled on such a windy day! Cyclists were faced with a south wind of 25-40mph. And of course when you are pedaling into the wind, that makes the resulting net wind speed worse. My face was red and raw from wind burn!
(ABOVE: Sean Orta from Bartlesville led our group. I could only keep pace with him for the first 6 miles. BELOW: Race the Rail nearly became Race the Rain!)

I needed to average about 20mph over 32 miles to beat the train, and I thought I had zero chance after the half way point. My average speed was only 13mph at mile 16!

I began the race with a group of eight cyclists, but I couldn't even hold 15mph with them due to the wind. I got dropped from the group, and my speed dipped to only 11mph riding solo. I caught on with the next group which rode about 14mph.

But the same wind which killed us rewarded us on the return trip.

To have a chance to beat the train, I knew I needed to average a ridiculous pace of near 30mph for the last half.

So what happened? I averaged 30.3mph and I beat the train by only 50 yards! I was the second to last person who beat the train. I did it!

(BELOW: More pictures and results. Note: the bar graph of my average speed tells the story: 13mph going south, 30.3mph going north!)

I did it!! :)

Monday, October 3, 2011

Bicycle vs Train: Race the Rail

(ABOVE: I stole this photo from the Race the Rail page. These cyclists defeated the train last year.)

I'm signed up!

On Saturday, October 8, I will purposely race a train on my bicycle. And I'm paying $30 to do it. Sound fun?!

The second annual "Race the Rail" in Watonga, Oklahoma (taking place during their well-known "Watonga Cheese Festival") will easily be the most unique bicycle event I've entered. Cyclists will try to beat a slow-moving train in a race from Watonga to Geary then back to Watonga. While the bikes loop to Geary and back, the train travels half that distance, making one trip from Geary to Watonga.

Here's how it works: Cyclists begin in Watonga. Then ride southward for 16.5 miles to Geary. The bikes will circle Main Street in Geary then head back northward to Watonga. The total bike distance is 16.5 x 2= 33 miles.

Now the fun part: at the same time bicycles leave Watonga, a train departs Geary. The train will slowly choo-choo to Watonga along the railroad tracks which parallel the bike route. The total train distance is 16.5 miles. The train is supposed to travel 10mph.

Fourth-grade math tells me that I'll need to average a smidge over 20mph to beat the train. It's a simple win/lose race back to Watonga. You either beat the train or you don't.

(ABOVE: Cyclists ride 33 miles: from Watonga to Geary and back to Watonga. The train makes one 16.5 mile trip: from Geary to Watonga.)

A problem for me is that I may not be fast enough! I average a respectable 18mph when I ride long distances alone, but I need to pedal at least 20mph. I've never held 20mph for 33 miles.

To have a chance I'll need to ride smartly and join a peloton. (a fast moving, closely clustered group of bicyclers) Pelotons ride about 10-20% faster than solo efforts. The pace depends on the size of a group, the course and especially the wind. I'll need to hold my own so I don't get dropped from the pack.

(I rode as fast as I could. I averaged 18.6mph on this short training ride-- that's too slow to beat a train.)

Other potential issues:

-if I flat tire, I'm out of the race
-no time for a rest stop
-mechanical trouble, no chance

Two other things I'll think about: I'll first pass the train about 8 miles into the race as it choo-choos the other way toward Watonga-- I'll calculate in my head whether I need to adjust my pace. It's possible the train could be slightly slower or faster than 10mph.

And near the end of the race, I'll see the train in the distance, and I bet adrenaline will kick in and help me catch it. Should be fun!

Oh... the weather forecast is "scattered thunderstorms" for Saturday morning. Wifey and me might storm chase after the race!

(BELOW: Here's a low quality screen grab. These are railroad spike trophies for the winners. One would look good on our mantle...)

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

50mph: Breaking the speed limit on a bicycle

(ABOVE: Speed limit 40mph? Ooops...)

One of the steepest paved roads that you'll find anywhere is right here within the city limits of Tulsa. I took advantage of it and zoomed to my fastest speed ever on a bicycle.

Previously, 47mph was my all-time top speed. I reached that speed three years ago on a down hill during the Tulsa Tough. I got competitive and was "being a boy" as I raced a friend. I haven't been close to that speed since.

(ABOVE: The huge hill is near mile 12 of my ride along Elwood Drive.)

Elwood Drive between 61st and 71st features a sudden downhill plunge from Turkey Mountain.
Topography maps show a short, steep 200 foot drop in less than a quarter of a mile. You very much get a "falling off the edge of the world" feeling if you drive it.

The opportunity was perfect to try Elwood hill on a quiet September morning: sunshine, no wind, and barely any traffic at 9:30am. The road is smooth and straight.

But to race to the bottom I first needed to climb to the top!

I pulled out of Turkey Mountain park and headed north toward the hill's increasing slope.

On approach the hill appeared to rise straight up. The increasing slope added weight. Each pedal stroke proved a deliberate effort. I felt like I was pulling a car with my bike. I was tempted to walk it, but I had to keep going. I would roll backward if I slowed down or tried to get off the bike!

(ABOVE: Near 5% where I'm standing the Elwood/Turkey Mountain hill rapidly increases to 20% grade for about 150 feet.)

I cranked up the hill at a walking pace in my easiest gear. The worst of the climb thankfully stretched only 0.1 miles. I wouldn't have made it much longer!

I reached the top of Elwood/Turkey Mountain with my lungs on fire. I collapsed on a giant rock to catch my breath.

I checked my GPS: near 20% grade! I smiled as I set a new personal climbing record easily surpassing my previous mark of a 15% grade. I learned that 20% is near impossible, but I made it!
For comparison, that's nearly twice as steep as Yale Avenue between 81st and 91st in South Tulsa.

Now for the fun part.

(ABOVE: Looking southward, I waited for the few cars to clear before zooming down. The edge of the hill comes quickly.)

I first double checked my bike: brakes good, wheels straight, tires clean. And helmet snug.

I waited until no cars were visible. With the road clear I positioned my bike in the middle of the road, snapped into my pedals, and pointed my front tire straight down. I released the brakes.

My bicycle rapidly accelerated without pedaling. I tucked into a ball to reduce resistance. Within seconds: 20mph, 30mph, 35mph....

I took my eyes off the speedometer to concentrate on the road.
I steered in a perfect line nearly down the center of the empty road. Completely focused and perfectly smooth and very fast.

A thunderous river of air rushed through my helmet-- try lowering your car window at freeway speed for comparison. The scenery zoomed past me at what seemed like light speed.
I whooshed past the Turkey Mountain park entrance in violation of the speed limit. I knew I was well north of 40mph.

The hill flattened, and I braked gradually at first. I glanced down at my speedometer as it dropped below 30mph. It took a while to slow down!

How fast did I go? I checked the GPS in my pocket: 49.53mph. Wow!!!

I don't plan to break this personal record again, Wifey might kill me before any bicycle would.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Gracie dog escapes!

(ABOVE: After she was recaptured. Gracie cooling down her tummy on the cold bathroom tile.)

Gracie dog is a bad dog!

She is the only one of our doggies who will bolt for the door when there's a chance for freedom.

If she gets out the door, she runs. And keeps going. For a long time.

She escaped on a 90 degree day when her Daddy was taking out the trash. The 30 seconds it took me to walk the trash to the curb gave her a good head start. She zoomed past me and made good progress toward Canada!

I chased her. And that's just what she wanted.

She likes the chasing game, and I fell for it. She played me!

(ABOVE: Despite the clouds, afternoon temperatures in the 90s during the chase.)

She ran across the street. To the neighbor's yard. Then back across the street. Down the street. Into the field. Then back into the neighborhood. Across the street again. Another neighbor's yard. Then the other way down the street. Repeat the above.

The "Daddy chasing Gracie" game carried on for about 20 minutes. She never let me get within ten feet of her. She was smart enough to not let me corner her. She was slowing down though as the heat got to the bad little girl.

Finally she headed toward a maroon Volvo parked at the end of the street. This car was a stranger to the neighborhood.

Gracie ran around to the other side of the car. The next thing I knew, Gracie was staring at me through the passenger side glass! A white, shedding dog on fancy, black leather seats. Oops... Panting heavily, her long pink tongue drooped toward her front paws.

I walked around to the driver's side, and the door was standing open. No one else was around. Someone had left the door wide open, and Gracie invited herself in!

Hmm. Do I enter the car?! I looked around and saw no one. No witnesses.

Well, I just couldn't leave Gracie dog in the passenger seat... let's make a quick dog nabbing.

I crawled in and slid across the fancy leather driver's seat. The steering wheel and shifter were in the way.

I tried to pull out the bad dog, but she didn't wanna! She appeared to be quite comfortable and ready for a car ride. She was too tired to resist me as I scooped her up. I received doggie kisses for my time.

(BELOW: The car door and Gracie dog as I found them.)


I still don't know who owns that Volvo.

I didn't see anyone come out to claim it. Hours later the door remained open as obviously the driver forgot to close it for whatever reason.

The Volvo disappeared the next day. I haven't seen it since.

I know I should apologize or tell someone, but who do I tell? I don't know which house the car belonged to?!

Either way, the driver is probably wondering where the white hair and doggie kisses in the window came from!

Thanks for reading. George

Friday, September 9, 2011

a surprising Tulsa to Orange connection

(ABOVE: a normal ride to South Lakes Golf Course in Jenks proved unforgettable!)

I had a, "Wow, it's a small world!" moment on my Thursday morning bike ride.

Yesterday I rode with the Tulsa Bicycle Club for a regular 30 mile ride. I enjoy the rides for fun exercise and the recent cool down helps too. The temperature on my little bicycle thermometer showed 63 degrees. Perfect!

This normal ride; however, produced a lifetime memory.

I left from KJRH, and our group biked from West Tulsa to Sapulpa to Jenks. We chose South Lakes Golf Course in Jenks as our rest stop. It was my first time there. I learned you can ride your bicycle right up to the club house. "Can you get a bicycle valet parked here?!", one of the riders (Jay Mowery) jokingly asked.

Inside the club house a gentleman was sitting alone at a table having breakfast. He just looked like someone I should know. He looked about my Dad's age.

His shirt caught my eye. From a distance the logo on his shirt resembled a logo on Dad's old golf hat.

"Hi George", I heard when I walked in.

I smiled and formally introduced myself. I met Mr. Bill Cooper. I joined him while he finished breakfast. "I was just in Orange", he told me.

I easily assumed he knew that the small coastal town of Orange, Texas was my hometown. Most Oklahomans have never heard of it.

On closer inspection I was nearly speechless when I saw the logo on Mr. Cooper's shirt-- an embroidered Sunset Grove Golf Club logo-- that's where Dad played years ago! In fact I still have his old Sunset Grove golf hat!!

Mr. Cooper told me more. Not only does his brother, Jeff, live in Orange, but it turns out that he knew details about my family that only someone from Orange would know.

More, "oh wow" conversation followed.

Mr. Cooper said that Jeff is the Golf Pro at Sunset Grove! He knew my Father well, and probably played golf with him. These days, he sees and chats with Mom during the Sunday lunch after church. Years ago, Jeff may have seen me as a kid swimming at Sunset Grove.

More "oh wow"-- Mr. Cooper told me that as part of his tour of Orange last week, his brother drove him by the Flickinger family home. I later told Mom, and we chuckled as we hardly thought of our home as a tourist attraction!

So... For a rundown:

-I stopped at a golf course on my bike which is sort of random anyway.

-Never had been there before, and the only person inside just happened to visit Orange.

-Who has family in Orange.

-Who played golf with Dad and talked to Mom earlier in the week.

-Who drove by the Flickinger house just to see it.

-And happened to be wearing a shirt from Orange which is what led me toward him in the first place.

-All just because he visited Orange last week. Wow, just a major wow moment!

I completed my ride with the rest of the bike group after I said goodbye to Mr. Cooper.

Just a normal bicycle ride, eh?! Glad I woke up early that morning instead of sleeping in. :)

Thanks for reading, George

(BELOW: Dad's old Sunset Grove golf hat lives on. )

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Running: the "One Mile Puke Run"

(ABOVE: Dan Lockhoff is one of those dudes above. He keeps our storm chases lively.)

"Hey, George! Guess what?!"

"I wanted to see how fast I could run one mile, so I just started randomly sprinting! I made it in just over 7 minutes, then I saw stars and puked!"

This is the conversation Dan Lockhoff had with me and how the "One Mile Puke Run" got its name.

Dan is a born again runner. A high school athlete who used to run 5 minute miles, he's now in his 30s and wanting to "get back in shape". He's training for the Tulsa Run in November.

I saw this One Mile Puke Run as a challenge... so I tried it! I didn't know what to expect as I have never set a time goal before or "sprinted" for an entire mile.

I chose a cooler day with temperatures in the 80s for my first effort. My first run: 7 minutes 15 seconds. Sweat poured off of me. I collapsed in the grass to catch my breath. (But no barfing!)

I am repeating the run three times a week. My training consists of combining sprints with occasional longer four mile runs.

(ABOVE and BELOW: Training is easy and fun with an Iphone. Tracking my time and pace with the Cyclemeter app.)

Since our first One Mile Puke Runs, we've quietly competed and pushed each other to run faster.
This is the first time that I've ever set a running goal: a sub-7 minute mile.

Through August I'm averaging about 7:30 on my one mile run. I seem to run my best times during cooler weather. Hopefully that trend continues as we move into Fall.

I want to reach my goal of under 7 minutes by the end of the October... stay tuned!

And as a bonus, my stamina and top speed on my bicycle is improving, and I feel great. :)

Thanks for reading, George

(BELOW: View from the trail. I like running near sunset.)

Extreme heat vs bicycle tire

(ABOVE: Eric's bike ride ended suddenly when his tube exploded through his tire! )

Science 101 teaches us that air expands when heated. Some cyclists, myself included, will lower their tire pressure accordingly to account for possible heat expansion.

Narrow tires on road bikes are designed to withstand high air pressure. You can inflate them to 100 to 150psi. By comparison, the tires on your car are likely near 30-35 psi.

And sometimes, tires go "boom!"

That's what happened last month to Eric Gomez of Tulsa. While riding his bike on a 100 degree plus day, his tube exploded. The tube burst through the tire creating a large hole.

In the picture you can see the outward explosion through the tread.

I've seen tires explode due to hitting curbs and such, but this is the first time I've seen a tire fail, a tube exploding and piercing the tire, when heat is the likely culprit.

Friday, August 12, 2011

I hope Texas A&M DOESN'T move to the SEC.

(ABOVE: My Texas A&M season tickets for the 2012 football season. Are these the last tickets for the Aggies as a Big 12 school?)

This is just me, a Weatherman thinking out loud as a college football fan and Aggie.

College football is my favorite sport. Like my father, I am becoming a tad less attached each year due to the money factor.

As a Texas A&M graduate, member of the 12th Man Foundation and football season ticket holder, I hope that Texas A&M doesn't leave the Big 12 conference.

First off, out of a purely selfish reason, my family living in Oklahoma enjoys playing the Oklahoma schools.

Except for one game a year, we cheer for OU, OSU and other Big 12 schools. My favorite team is whoever is playing Texas!

We've had fun road trips attending games within driving distance at Stillwater, Columbia and Lawrence.

What I don't understand is that by a huuuuge margin, most Aggies want to move to the SEC. I guess I'm in the minority!

(Pac-10/12 talk anyone?)

(ABOVE: I found an old ticket stub from twenty years ago! In 1992, the most expensive ticket to watch A&M and Baylor was $20. This year's game ticket price is $85. *sigh*)

The obvious: A decent A&M team could lose a bunch games every year in the SEC.

Texas A&M appears to be interested in jumping to the SEC for more money, exposure and to "get away" from the University of Texas.

To some degree, all of these are achievable if Texas A&M joins the SEC, but at what cost?

Can the Aggies rise to the challenge?

History isn't on Texas A&M's side against good BCS football programs.

In particular Texas A&M has faired poorly against SEC schools.

The Aggies are winless against the SEC in the last 10 years plus: Lost to Arkansas twice, blown out in bowl games by LSU, a not-so-great Georgia team, and an embarrassing 38-7 Cotton Bowl loss to Tennessee in a game that most Ags expected to win.

The Aggies were also upset by Mississippi State in the Independence Bowl.

(ABOVE: The view from our current seats at Kyle Field. )

Finishing .500 in SEC league play seems like a dream!

I can't imagine the Aggie fan-base being happy about finishing about 7-5 or 6-6 every year.

As most Aggie fans "expect" a near 10 win season, how will they feel about losing 4-6 conference games, possibly every year?

Most Aggies consider the late 1980s and 90s as the glory years of Aggie football. This period coincided with playing in a weak SWC, and before Texas, OU and some degree LSU and OSU got good.

Since joining the Big 12, Texas A&M sunk to generally a mid-pack football program.

The immediate future in the Big 12 appears brighter as the conference is weaker-- the Aggies have done well in weak conferences, not the other way around.

As far as recruiting, I think the SEC could hurt the Aggies as SEC schools would suddenly get more exposure in Texas.

LSU won't get fewer Texas recruits that they do now for example. By comparison, do Aggies think that a high school kid in Mississippi or such would now be interested in Texas A&M?

I'll be optimistic and hope the added exposure can get more top recruits so the team doesn't finish mid-pack every year.

But what do I know? I'm just a Weatherman!

Either way I'll support my school. Just hoped that Texas A&M would stay put.

Can't the Big 12 just get Colorado and Nebraska back and add Arkansas? The Big 13? ;)


(BELOW: Cool! I also found an old Texas A&M vs Tulsa ticket in my closet! I doubt the Aggies will ever play AT Tulsa again. They lost on their trip to Skelly Stadium in 1991.)

Wednesday, July 27, 2011


(ABOVE: My first, and hopefully only EF5 tornado I will ever see. Two days after the Joplin tornado, we witnessed this deadly EF5 rated tornado near Guthrie. The tornado is hidden in the rain and just looks like a scary cloud.)

There's not much to say. Not many words are needed to describe Joplin.

When a tornado basically removes half of the homes on the south side of town, you don't feel like talking.

These pictures are from my two trips to Joplin following the May 22, 2011 tornado.

As a scientist, I examine tornado paths and compare them to radar and other data so that I can be a better meteorologist and broadcaster.

As a weatherman, I snap pictures to educate school children and answer questions from civic/church groups. Education, awareness and having a plan of action are the best survival tools.

But as a person, it kills me every time. The car gets quiet. Chills, loss of appetite, the "what would we do", "how could this happen" type statements.

I have toured each F5/EF5 tornado damage path within our region the last 15 year. There haven't been many: Jarrell, TX in 1997, south Oklahoma City in 1999, Greensburg, KS in 2007 and now Joplin in 2012. My chase team also witnessed the EF 5 tornado which passed from Piedmont to near Guthrie this year.

These pictures on this page are just a few of zillions. I've tried to compare areas of Joplin to Tulsa neighborhoods for perspective.

Though some folks might frown on this and might not be able to stomach it, I do recommend a trip to Joplin to see for yourself.

Everyone tells me that it's worse than pictures can show. You won't want to eat. You may get sick. It's that bad.

A "Tornado Warning" will probably mean more to you. You probably won't yell at the TV as much when we're interrupting your favorite program with weather bulletin.

If you choose to tour the damage, you will truly respect Mother Nature's power. You'll be amazed by the huge contrast from deadly EF5 obliteration to untouched survival.

Joplin will take your breath away. George

NOTE: CLICK ON ALL PHOTOS FOR LARGER IMAGES. Though you may not want to seem them that close.

(BELOW: The damage survey and aerials. The tornado took a horrible track for Joplin. It formed along the city limits, quickly intensifying. The most intense, EF5 damage was about 6 miles long. To put this in Tulsa terms, think of a tornado forming at 41st and Riverside, moving straight east, peaking in damage at Promenade Mall. Everything between 45th and 35th streets removed-- that's how the Joplin tornado compares.)


(ABOVE: This intersection compares to 41st and Harvard in Tulsa. Before the tornado, the trees were so thick you couldn't see very far, but now what's left of the bottom floor of the high school (brown bricks in distance) can be seen about 1 mile away. BELOW: That's a Chevy 2500 series 6 wheeled truck upside down in an Arby's parking lot. I was told that six people died here. )


(ABOVE: This is EF2-EF3 damage. I will show this in presentations as why you should seek shelter on the bottom floor instead of the top floor. BELOW: Two weeks after the tornado, power lines are installed. This part of Joplin resembles near 11th and Sheridan in Tulsa. )


(ABOVE: Signs of life when we visited 6 weeks after the tornado. Some of the trees are surviving, but the neighborhood scars are permanent. BELOW: Look at concrete parking barrier on the bottom left! The other half of the concrete block follows the metal wire and is wrapped around the top of the tree.)


(ABOVE: Pictures like this one make you cringe. This Walgreens "missed" the worst of the tornado. However, debris missiles can cause grotesque injuries. BELOW: 4 crosses were at the remains of this brick home. And those used to be 100 year old trees, a densely forested neighborhood. These homes compare to midtown Tulsa.)


(ABOVE: This sounds morbid, but we were nearly playing a guessing game trying to figure out what model of cars these used to be. Maybe a 1990 Nissan Sentra? We couldn't tell. BELOW: EF4 damage in part of Joplin which resembled near 71st and Memorial in Tulsa.)


BELOW: You want to play the guessing game? What model of car do you think this is? You can see my father-in-law below looking for clues. We found a logo on the steering wheel. And a rain gutter in the back seat. )

ANSWER: the above car is a late model Toyota Corolla.