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Old 04-06-2008, 06:52 AM
 
Location: in the general vicinity of Cedar Rapids, Iowa
296 posts, read 1,194,346 times
Reputation: 184

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Quote:
Originally Posted by El Rhino View Post
There's an old folk tale that tornadoes never touch down in Des Moines because of the rivers. This isn't true, but people swear by it.
I'll let you in on a little secret... in its entirety, the "folk tale" includes guarantees from an Indian Chief whose tribe had long flourished in the area in question. And I have heard the same story applied to every town that is anywhere near a river in Iowa. (I grew up hearing it about Woodward, of course, and we know how THAT turned out!) So either it is complete fabrication or the Chief was on his way out for less populated areas, and, as he turned out the lights, he assured the interlopers, "sure. Very safe here. Kick back and relax, and don't fret at all about the extreme weather. Did I say extreme? I meant lovely. Have a nice day."

Quote:
Originally Posted by El Rhino View Post
During the spring get some abnormally strong windstorms here and there, but odds are you will not encounter a tornado or even have any close calls with them. I've seen them way off in the distance, but never too close. I wouldn't worry too much about it.
Oh, the dreaded Straight-line winds! Life was much better back before we had this definition, imo. Someone's barn gets blown down but "at least it was only straight-line winds and not a tornado." I bet the Indian Chief didn't differentiate!

And, metro, yes, Twister (which is a really great movie. "Cow!") was filmed in Iowa but [spoiler here] the tornado was just special effects. I love tornadic storms, too. Are there two kinds of people who watch that movie -- people who vow never to go anywhere near the central plains again, and people who wish they could throw it all away and go chase storms? I confessed my love of storms to my mother, and told her I thought it was because grandma loved storms so. "What do you mean!?" she said. I told her I remembered grandma up in the middle of the night, with a candle, watching the stormy skies avidly. "She was terrified of storms," Mom told me. "She was totally convinced that the minute she took her eyes off the weather, it would 'come and get us.'" Score a big zero for childhood sensitivity. And the smell of elm sawdust and sound of chain saws from all over town as the towering elms that had been killed by Dutch Elm disease were felled by strong winds. Trunks as big around as my dining room table, laying across the roads like gangplanks, magic bridges, tightropes... Yep, you can bring home big cardboard boxes for your kids to play in, but you can't recreate wholesale elm tree devastation for them -- those days are gone for good.

Oh, but there is one thing we forgot to warn the newcomers about... TV coverage. One rule: when there is a reported or suspected tornado in the viewing area, it will be during an episode, probably either the finale or the cliff-hanger resolution, of your favorite TV show and said show will either be completely pre-empted by the weather reporting (seriously -- the "weather team" will stay on the air for 2 hours or more during primetime on "busy" evenings) or will be so fragmented by interruptions by said weather team that it will be rendered unviewable. Not that extreme weather reporting isn't riveting in its own right, of course. Also, when you TIVO shows, keep in mind that the reports you see when you play them back are for "back then," not for now. I am embarrassed to admit that, more than once, I have caught myself watching the warnings at the bottom of the screen and thinking "but it seems so nice out!" Doh!

Last edited by WoodwardGirl; 04-06-2008 at 06:56 AM.. Reason: spleling
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Old 04-06-2008, 09:01 AM
 
Location: Iowa, Des Moines Metro
2,073 posts, read 5,066,219 times
Reputation: 1102
Quote:
Originally Posted by WoodwardGirl View Post
And I have heard the same story applied to every town that is anywhere near a river in Iowa. (I grew up hearing it about Woodward, of course, and we know how THAT turned out!)
I've heard that as a fairly comon folktale as well, but not in every town with a river. I don't see how people swear by that with Des Moines, because it's not like the entire city is around the river, their are plenty of flat areas too the further you get out. But - let them believe what they want to believe I guess. People also said this when I lived in Keokuk - but it actually might be true there.. Keokuk is small and set at the intersection of the Des Moines and the Mississippi. Now I'm just sounding like one of those crazy locals.

WoodwardGirl I thought that tornado was real... I still love the fact that they filmed that movie here.

"Yep, you can bring home big cardboard boxes for your kids to play in, but you can't recreate wholesale elm tree devastation for them -- those days are gone for good."

Maybe you just mean in Woodward, because all of the elms were destroyed. But trust me - there are still many American Elms just waiting to blow over. Those trees are of the worst quality - they're like the "Wal-Mart" of trees.

EDIT: Also, are you talking about the '76 tornado (category 5) or the '99 (category 4) tornado in Woodward? (I had to look up Woodward on C-D because I wasn't sure where it was. Found that info)
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Old 04-06-2008, 11:24 AM
 
36 posts, read 176,010 times
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I went to high school in Boone but moved to Ames to go to ISU.

When I graduate next year I'll probably end up with a job in Des Moines but I plan to still live in Ames because I enjoy it so much.

It's obviously not as big as Des Moines but it offers everything that I need with a small-town living feel. You might be able to get opinions from other Ames residents over on HeyAmes.com

Good luck.
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Old 04-06-2008, 02:23 PM
 
Location: in the general vicinity of Cedar Rapids, Iowa
296 posts, read 1,194,346 times
Reputation: 184
Quote:
Originally Posted by metro223 View Post
EDIT: Also, are you talking about the '76 tornado (category 5) or the '99 (category 4) tornado in Woodward? (I had to look up Woodward on C-D because I wasn't sure where it was. Found that info)
No, the November 12, 2005 one that actually went through town. I don't know whether it ever made it to more than F2, but that was plenty. There are pictures on this site: Tornado Photos (Woodward, Iowa) - Photos (http://media.www.dailyiowan.com/media/storage/paper599/news/2005/11/14/Photos/Tornado.Photos.woodward.Iowa-1055827.shtml - broken link)

The earlier ones were outside of town -- much less stuff to hit.
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Old 04-07-2008, 08:41 AM
 
39 posts, read 104,712 times
Reputation: 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by patmc View Post
I went to high school in Boone but moved to Ames to go to ISU.

When I graduate next year I'll probably end up with a job in Des Moines but I plan to still live in Ames because I enjoy it so much.

It's obviously not as big as Des Moines but it offers everything that I need with a small-town living feel. You might be able to get opinions from other Ames residents over on HeyAmes.com

Good luck.
Thanks, patmc! I'll check it out. By the way, what's the traffic like in the DSM/Ames area? Where we are right now, it takes me 20 minutes to go 8 miles. Say we decided to live in Huxley or Ankeny. What's a typical drive time?

Last edited by InkFiend; 04-07-2008 at 08:46 AM.. Reason: Add additional question
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Old 04-07-2008, 09:07 AM
 
450 posts, read 2,048,761 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by InkFiend View Post
Thanks, patmc! I'll check it out. By the way, what's the traffic like in the DSM/Ames area? Where we are right now, it takes me 20 minutes to go 8 miles. Say we decided to live in Huxley or Ankeny. What's a typical drive time?
I went to ISU and lived in Ankeny the entire time. There is next to no traffic between Ames and Ankeny, it's an easy drive. I could be out my door in Ankeny and parked in the ISU commuter lot in 25 minutes (its about a 22 or 23 mile drive). I'd bet you could go from Huxley to the ISU commuter lots in 15 minutes.
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Old 04-09-2008, 05:22 PM
 
39 posts, read 104,712 times
Reputation: 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by pepe1 View Post
I went to ISU and lived in Ankeny the entire time. There is next to no traffic between Ames and Ankeny, it's an easy drive. I could be out my door in Ankeny and parked in the ISU commuter lot in 25 minutes (its about a 22 or 23 mile drive). I'd bet you could go from Huxley to the ISU commuter lots in 15 minutes.
This is exactly what I wanted to know! Thanks!
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Old 04-18-2008, 10:01 AM
 
39 posts, read 104,712 times
Reputation: 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by WoodwardGirl View Post
See, that's the wonderful part about them -- you not only can see them coming, but the weather analysis software now can see them forming. Thus you get lots of warning ahead of time. Usually, the warning is too broad, so you head to the basement and absolutely nothing happens, but better safe than sorry, right?
Oh man! An earthquake in the Midwest?! And I thought I was trading those for tornadoes as my natural disaster to worry about!
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Old 04-18-2008, 10:16 PM
 
49 posts, read 168,109 times
Reputation: 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by InkFiend View Post
Oh man! An earthquake in the Midwest?! And I thought I was trading those for tornadoes as my natural disaster to worry about!
It gets worse, InkFiend. The experts claim the Madrid Fault is long overdue for a major quake and predict "the big one" could happen any time between now and 10,000 years from now. Take cover!
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Old 04-19-2008, 02:51 PM
 
39 posts, read 104,712 times
Reputation: 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by AmeliaJohn View Post
It gets worse, InkFiend. The experts claim the Madrid Fault is long overdue for a major quake and predict "the big one" could happen any time between now and 10,000 years from now. Take cover!
Sounds like the same warnings we get about the Wasatch Fault. When Wells, NV was shaken up in February, you can bet we were all thinking twice about how prepared we are for a quake here!
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