Tuesday, May 27, 2014

North Dakota Tornado Injures 9 Oil Workers

It seemed most of the storm chasers were eyeing activity in Texas yesterday, but the big news, and the bad news, hit North Dakota.
Kevin Ragan took this shot
of a tornado menacing an oil
field in North Dakota Monday. 

A tornado struck an oil workers' camp near Watford City, injuring nine of the men, one critically.

Many of the workers were living in trailers, which are particularly vulnerable to the strong winds of a tornado.

That the storm Monday was in North Dakota wasn't that surprising. By the end of May and June, the zone where tornadoes are more likely shifts north, often to near the Canadian border.

Or even into Canada.  It looks like there is the risk of tornadoes Wednesday and Thursday in the southern Canadia prairies, north of the Dakotas.

Here in New England, where I live, we are now getting into our version of the peak of the severe thunderstorm risk.

There were a few strongs storms in Maine yesterday. A few storms today in southwestern Vermont and New York State could be somewhat strong, with hail and gusty winds. But I don't expect anything epic, like the giant hail and tornadoes that hit the East Coast last week.

This round will at worst cause very minor, very localized damage.
Close up of the North Dakota tornado
that injured nine oil workers Monday.   

I mentioned that tornado chasers focused on Texas yesterday. A slow moving storm system did spawn a few severe thunderstorms and a couple of tornadoes.

The good news of that is, it's been raining pretty hard in many drought stricken areas of the southern Plains. Even so, the rain is not exactly the kind of gentle, steady rain that would most likely put a dent in a drought.

Instead, it's torrential downpours that run off into local flash floods that cause some damage, but don't really soak into the ground.

Still, I'm sure they'll take any rain they can get.

Below is a video of that tornado in North Dakota on Monday:

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