One book leads to another...

Thursday, April 23, 2020

A to Z Historic Trivia - T


I love a good thunderstorm, the kind that rattles the windows, flickers the lights when raindrops sound like marbles on the roof. There’s typically a radical wind ahead of any storm system that sweeps the desert sand into funnels, whipped into sinewy strands of erratic motion. You never know which way it will go, and it’s not always safe to be still. But, we don’t call them Twisters. Here, they are Dust Devils.

Twenty-seven million years ago, a massive volcano eruption shook the Chiricahua Mountains, laying down two thousand feet of siliceous ash and pumice, which eventually fused into rock that, over time, eroded into spires and unusual stone formations in the area of Turkey Creek. We’d been kicking around up near Cochise Stronghold, taking in a few trailheads when we noticed thunderheads rapidly building above. Rain had just begun to fall at Turkey Creek as we hightailed it out of the mountains,  headed for blacktop. For a time, we drove against strong winds that threatened to rip the canvas top right off the little vehicle I call the Jeepy-thing. It’s actually a Tracker, first built by Chevrolet in 1988 or 1989. Ours was likely the first one to roll off the assembly line, but I digress.  
I had just remarked how like a kamikaze bug looking for a windshield, it felt to be racing down that backroad when Hubs said: “Look!”  Barreling straight toward us was the biggest tumbleweed I’d ever seen in my life! It was every bit as big as the Jeepy-thing and solid enough to do some damage if we hit head-on.  With oncoming traffic on the left, and boulders on the right, we braced ourselves for impact as a sudden violent gust yanked the terrifying jumble of shrub bones sideways so that it exploded off the right front fender. The rest of the drive was pleasantly uneventful ;-)

No, we don’t usually have much more than dust devils here, but for the folks in the Midwest on a Wednesday in March of 1925, a terrifying tragedy took place in the form of The Tri-State Tornado. Documented as the deadliest tornado in United States history, and longest ever recorded, what was likely a combination of several tornados rolled into one, ripped across three states, including Missouri, Illinois, and Indiana that afternoon. Nearly 700 people were killed, thousands more injured, and over a billion (today’s dollars) in damages was caused. “To this day, there is no single meteorological factor that can explain the exceptional path length or duration of the Tri-State Tornado.”  FactsforKids

There is no specific timezone at the South Pole.
There is a hedgehog café in Tokyo.

Just so ya know ;- )


  1. Hi, diedre!

    I too am fascinated by meteorological phenomena including thunderstorms. Since 1984 I have been living in the Tampa Bay area, Lightning Capital of the World. As a boy I wished I could fly. Whenever I spotted a dirt devil at the park or on the school playground, I ran toward it, not away. I chased the mini tornadoes hoping to be swept up into the air and enjoy the sensation of flying a few feet off the ground. Perhaps my inspiration came from the twister in The Wizard of Oz.

    By chance there is also a Turkey Creek near me and, by chance, my dad also owned a Tracker. He bought it in the mid 90s after my mother died so that he could go camping in it or load up his bicycle and head out to the biking trails. What a great story about the monster tumbleweed coming toward you in the windstorm! I wish I could have seen that thing. I suppose I have always been fascinated by the incredible power of wind and water. I never read about the terrifying Tri-State Tornado. I wouldn't want to live in tornado alley, and I recently read that it is actually shifting to the east as the climate changes, bringing the southeastern states into the danger zone more so than they were in the past.

    I don't know if I would care to live at the South Pole either. I can't imagine spending my life upside down. :) You aroused my curiosity when you tagged-out with a mention of a hedgehog cafe in Tokyo. I was wondering if they also serve humans there. :) I looked it up and, sure enough, there is such an eatery in Shibuya where customers can handle the adorable critters. I would think hand washing is an essential part of the dining experience.

    Have a great day, dear friend diedre!

    1. Hi Shady!

      The thing about Dust Devils vs twisters is that you don't have the dark clouds. It's usually clear as a bell.

      It's my humble opinion that there are Turkey Creeks anywhere there are turkeys ;-)

      "if they also serve humans," Haha! You are on a roll today, my friend.

      Thanks for visiting!


Any thoughts? Join the conversation, comments welcome here!