Full Circle…The Lost Photo Of My First Tornado

Posted in Uncategorized at 5:11 pm by Rebekah

I’ve sadly been negligent in keeping up with my blog writing for the past couple of weeks, as I’ve been visiting and traveling up in Washington State. My adventures have dug up one particularly exciting treasure with regard to this blog, though.

Last year I wrote a blog post about my first tornado, which I saw way back on July 3, 1998 (see Post 100: 12 Years Ago Today…). While I was scared stiff of this weak, short-lived tornado, my fear and fascination encouraged me to begin studying severe weather.  I cultivated this interest and ultimately this led me to apply to the School of Meteorology at the University of Oklahoma.

As I stand between two chapters in my life, reflecting on the past several years at Oklahoma and looking forward to new adventures on Kwajalein, my two oldest friends just gave me the best gift I never knew existed.

This, ladies and gentlemen (drum roll, please), is a scanned version of a photo taken by John Ebenal, on July 3, 1998, on the south side of Ellensburg, Washington, looking east-southeast towards my FIRST tornado.

My twin friends Laurel and Mary lived a mile down the road from us in Ellensburg, and their family saw this tornado just before we did. I was under the impression none of the photos John took turned out, but Laurel and Mary found this one I think as they were moving to Sequim (I visited them there this past weekend).

After 13 years, I couldn’t be happier to have been given a photo of my first tornado, a tornado that made such a deep impression on my life.

Note this tornado really is quite skinny and weak; you can’t see just where it connects to the cloud base, but there was indeed a funnel extending down from the cloud. This tornado looks like a landspout, which, simply put, is a non-supercell tornado (i.e., a tornado that comes from a storm that’s not rotating).

So there you go! I can’t think of a better send-off to my current storm chasing career than a photo of what started it all! 🙂

Thanks to John, Sherrie, Laurel, and Mary!


Winds of Change…

Posted in General News at 6:09 pm by Rebekah

My Dad flies in to Oklahoma City tomorrow afternoon, and we begin the three day drive back to Washington early Monday morning.

I don’t know how to say goodbye to friends here; I prefer to think of it as a “see you later” or “talk to you soon”, as I’ll still be in touch. It’s hard, as even though I look forward to spending time with family and friends in the Northwest over the next few weeks and then moving on to Kwajalein in mid-July, I have spent the last several years of my life in Norman.

I have made many friends here, the best of which have been by me through some great and some not-so-great times.

I have had so many amazing experiences since coming to Norman, and have learned a lot about meteorology. When I first came to Norman in 2005, I knew nothing about storms and not much about the weather. Since then, I have become an experienced storm chaser and have witnessed a couple dozen tornadoes, baseball-sized hail, intense storms, blizzards, and ice storms.

Before I came to Oklahoma, I had never been on a plane and had never been outside the Pacific Northwest. Since then, I have traveled to over half of the 50 states, have gone overseas, and have seen a space shuttle launch (perhaps unrelated to coming here, but you never know). You never know what experiences and opportunities may be waiting around the corner.

I always wanted to go to Oklahoma when I was a kid, and not necessarily for the weather. The musical Oklahoma! was one of the first movies I saw, and while you may laugh, somehow I became quite interested in the state. When I was about five or six, I asked my Mom for maps of Oklahoma and Oklahoma City (I still have them).

Norman, Oklahoma, and the Great Plains: I will miss you, but I will come back to visit in the not-too-distant future. Keep being great.

Friends in the Norman area: I will miss you very much, but we will keep in touch and may we be brought together again soon! All the best to all of you.