(Hastings, Nebraska) Residents of parts of "Tornado Alley" are experiencing
yet another consequence of global warming: a severe shortage of tornadoes.
In the thirty county warning area of Nebraska and north-central Kansas
served by the Hastings National Weather Service office, there has not been
a single confirmed tornado for the first six months of this year. Such a
tornado drought has not been experienced in this region in over 50 years.
The lack of tornadoes has had a considerable economic impact on the area.
The tornado season has traditionally been a time of economic prosperity as
an influx of tourists, tornado chasers, news media, and movie producers
and their entourages provide badly needed revenue for local restaurants,
hotels, and other businesses.
But this year, concerned residents can be seen scanning the blue skies,
hoping against hope that storm clouds will once again gather and bless
the region with the meteorological chaos to which they have become accustomed.
Old timers gather in the local coffee shop and reminisce about how many
tornadoes they used to see back in the "good old days".
Local restaurant owner Larry Hayle told ecoEnquirer, "If we don't get some
twisters real soon, I might have to close up and leave this town. My cousin down in New Orleans
has been doing real good with all the major news networks covering the
hurricanes, and has been trying to get me to move down there."
According to Greenpolice spokesperson Rainbow Treetower, the tornado shortage
is just one more example of the climate shifts that can be expected from global
warming. "This is exactly what climate scientists have been predicting.
As global warming progresses, some areas will receive more storms,
while other areas will experience less. It is obvious that the balance
of nature has been disrupted."
Nebraska senator John Hogg is trying to alleviate the financial
suffering by creating a tornado subsidy program for businesses in his
home state, similar to the corn subsidies received by local farmers
from the federal government. "Businesses would receive payments
proportional to the level of tornado inactivity", explained Senator
Hogg. "It is important that we preserve the rich tornado traditions
of the region during these lean times."
Even the National Weather Service could be adversely affected by the
absence of twisters. In the face of budget cuts, the NWS is considering
discontinuing the NEXRAD radar service in the area. "Tornadoes are the
primary reason for having Doppler radars", explained local TV meteorologist
Sam Savage. "Without tornadoes, it is hard to justify the continued
operation of those radars."
In addition to the tourist and news media influx that the local economy
depends upon, the medical community and local construction companies are
also suffering from a lack of storm-related business. As Hastings Mayor Bill Boxer told
us, "This just goes to show, you should never take severe weather for granted...heaven
forbid that we reach the point where reruns of 'The Wizard of Oz' and 'Twister' are the only places
you can go to see a good, old-fashioned tornado."
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