Monday, March 31, 2014

Whan that Aprille with his shoures soote

Today is March 31st, the last day of the month. After today we won’t have March 2014 to kick around any more (and vice versa).

Tomorrow will be the first day of what many think is one of the loveliest months of the year, April.

But as Carolina in Nederland might say, hold your horses.

T.S. Eliot once said, “April is the cruellest month” (and a bunch of other stuff as well). He could have been talking about tornadoes. (Actually he wasn’t, but he could have been.)

April is the month when the most rare and gigantic F5 tornadoes happen in the United States. April also has the highest average number of deaths from tornadoes.

According to one study, May is the most dangerous month for tornadoes in the United States, with an average of 329, while February’s average is the safest with only three. In another study the months December and January were usually the safest, and the months having the greatest number of tornadoes were April, May, and June. In February, tornado frequency begins to increase. February tornadoes tend to occur in the central Gulf states; in March the center of activity moves eastward to the southeastern Atlantic states, where tornado activity peaks in April [emphasis mine --RWP]. In May the center of activity is in the southern Plains states; in June this moves to the northern Plains and Great Lakes area (into western New York). The most costly outbreak of tornadoes occurred in May 1999, when at least 74 tornadoes touched down in less than 48 hours in Oklahoma and Kansas, including an F5 on the outskirts of Oklahoma City that caused $$1.1 billion in damage.

According to Wikipedia, the United States has the most tornadoes of any country, as well as the strongest and most violent tornadoes. The United States averaged 1,274 tornadoes per year in the last decade.

On a website called I learned that May is the month with the most tornadoes and that the peak months are April, May, and June. May is the most common month for tornadoes, but the most powerful tornadoes seem to occur earlier in the year, in April [emphasis mine --RWP].

(Seymour, Texas, tornado, April 10, 1979) [emphasis mine --RWP]

Although tornadoes can happen any time of the year if conditions are right, I am now officially depressed that April begins tomorrow.

However, a certain young lady named Dorothy was caught up in a tornado (and her little dog, Toto, too) and deposited in a land called Oz (4:12) with no ill effect. In fact, if Hollywood is to be believed, she had a wonderful time.

I’ve heard that Oz has that effect on people.

Perhaps one day I will go on a pilgrimage there. Maybe even in April.


  1. It is the first of April here. And no tornado in sight.
    Mind you, when I read that toothpaste has been associated with cancer I threw up hands up in the air and decided to let what happens happen. And I read this week that the first Monday after daylight savings begins heart attacks increase. Sigh.
    Something will kill me eventually after all.

  2. Very glad that we don't have to worry about terrible tornados here in our version of Oz (Aus !)They are very frightening to watch and read about and the destruction they bring is incredible. Stay safe.

  3. If I knew how to embolden text in order to show emphasis I would do. Have you got a tornado shelter? If not, I suggest you start digging very soon. Line the hole with reinforced concrete and lay thick concrete slabs on top to form a roof. You need a small access hole with a ladder and ensure there are plenty of emergency supplies in the shelter - including water, Hershey bars, crackers and a transistor radio with working batteries. For comfort a couple of deck chairs should suffice. Good luck to you as you tiptoe through April like Tiny Tim.

  4. Elephant's Child (Sue), please try to cheer up. Your comment was depressing. True, but depressing.

    Helsie, but apparently there are tornadoes in Australia.

    Yrkshr Pudng, emboldening, italicising, and underlining text are quite simple to achieve using HTML (q.v.)....I must stop now and start digging.

  5. From what I hear tornadoes are supposed to hit all over the Southeast today. I hope you missed them--or they you.

    I had to memorize part of Canterbury Tales--the first twenty or so line, maybe it was called the prologue--and I still remember it after these 46 years.