The Way Home,
DVD, an informative update on events in Medjugorje after twenty-nine
years of reported apparitions and messages from the Blessed Mother,
including footage of visit from famed Cardinal and interviews with seers
who grant new insights into messages, along with dramatic testimony of
man who despite no faith in God found his way to the apparition site and
was spiritually and physically healed! By the creator of acclaimed
documentary 'Mary's House.'
SKY ASTIR: A SPECIAL REPORT FROM 'PROPHETIC' BOOK ABOUT EARTH THAT FORESAW TWISTERS
[The following excerpt is from a secular book that was later changed into a Catholic book, Sent To Earth (without these details). It is long and so some may choose to print it (see bottom). Among other things, the passage foresaw repeats and heightening of a great tornado outbreaks like one in 1974, along with large, highest-intensity tornadoes directly hitting urban areas, as recently occurred, with a record of 312 in one day. It was written in 1999 by Michael H. Brown]:
The sky was astir. Roiling. Since 1970 the episodes of catastrophic wind around the world had been doubling, and there were so many things going on with systems over both the Pacific and Atlantic that no one had a firm grip on how they interacted, how they affected each other. But it was obvious that affect each other they did, and equally obvious that a swerve in climate had nudged some and perhaps all of the systems, had bumped them into slightly new positions or frequencies, had influenced the play of low and high pressure, which depended on air temperature. When air warmed it rose and formed low pressure -- less weight on the surface -- while cold air sank, pushed downward because it was heavier. When temperatures increased there was thus a change in patterns, a change in how they rotated and created winds and reacted with the oceans.
There was movement. It always got back to that. There was turmoil.
It was as if the atmosphere could only take so much warmth and then like an overinflated tire had to release it and did this by creating storms. Hot air was shed as wind, rain, thunder that staggered to the earth. There was still debate about all this but if anecdotal evidence counted for anything -- which it surely did with the public at large -- the case was ready for a jury. Something was going on. The air was moving funny. There were all the storms. There was the lightning and hail. There were tornadoes. In Canada a study by the government showed that twisters were occurring 11 days earlier than usual on the western prairies and the change, as the report phrased it, "correlates well with mean monthly temperature anomalies, suggesting that tornado frequency is physically related to mean monthly temperatures." It was the meteorological way of saying that warmer weather -- a swerve in climate -- meant tornadoes. And farmers already knew that. They knew it in Oklahoma, the Dakotas, Nebraska. They certainly knew it in Kansas. There was no final "proof," but evidence was mounting that climate change had led to an intensification of the storm cycle as if the planet was venting through holes in the very troposphere. There had been 648 tornadoes during the summer of 1993, the year the Mississippi flooded -- twice the number expected -- and in January 1999 there were 216 when the average for that usually sedate month is a tenth of that, 25. Never had there been as many reports as the 1990s -- specifically the late 1990s -- and when they weren't more frequent they seemed more intense. There were reports of softball-sized hail across the fruited plains and in Texas it had caused dozens of actual injuries. One kid was in intensive care. And tornadoes often followed. A record was set with 1,297 twisters in 1992 and then broken in 1998 with 1,424 as annual incidence remained way above 1,000 throughout the decade, where before, in previous decades, it had been 800.
It was the fruit of a warm and raucous time, and while the pace was now heightened, it had been a century full of thunder. Full of tornadoes. From the very beginning, at the start of the century, as temperatures began that long upswing, violence had been the signature. In 1902 more than a hundred died when a twister touched down in Goliad, Texas, and that was followed the next two decades by historic strikes in Georgia, Oklahoma, Missouri, and Nebraska. During 1915 a tornado struck Great Bend, Kansas, and killed 1,000 sheep, knocked down thousands of migrating ducks, and sent splinters into an iron water hydrant. A canceled check from Great Bend was found 207 miles away near Palmyra, Nebraska, and clothes and photographs were also swept phenomenal distances. In other cases it was reported that feathers were plucked right out of chickens or straws driven through poles or boxcars lifted. As the planet entered the strong upward curve of temperatures in the Roaring Twenties so too were winds roaring. In 1925 a record was set when what's known as the "Tri-state Tornado" pounded the Midwest, beginning in Annapolis, Missouri, and crossing into Illinois where it annihilated the towns of Gorham and Griffin. It then swept over the Wabash to Indiana, traveling a total of 220 miles and spending an incredible three hours on the ground. It killed 689, the deadliest on record.
Other intense storms followed. Dark skies -- black supercell skies -- were becoming a part of the American persona. More than two hundred died in Tupelo, Mississippi, in 1936 and 181 at Woodward, Oklahoma, in 1947. Storms hung over the Dakotas and Texas. Over Kansas. The word "Oz" was entering America's lexicon and as the population grew, as towns sprawled on the plains, there were more sightings. There were more targets. By 1950 records were detailed enough to let meteorologists tabulate that at least 13 twisters reached the status of "F-5," the highest level for such a storm -- winds of more than 261 miles an hour -- that decade and another 11 F-5s hit during the 1960s, which included a huge outbreak in five midwestern states on Palm Sunday in 1965. In that instance 31 tornadoes, some with more than one funnel, killed 258 and injured another 3,000 in the space of twelve hours.
Not two years later another outbreak spawned thirty twisters from Missouri to Wisconsin.
There was lightning. The horizon was bleached with it. There were flashes. Bolts. There were "positive giants" that could strike thirty miles away from the storm itself -- kill someone who thought he or she was in clear weather -- and pilots even saw vague columns of power, columns of red and blue light, glowing from the tops of thunderheads.
The air was alive with power -- actual electricity, vibrating with it -- and as for hail: it was pounding all over the place, a symbol of both moisture and violence, forming when small crystals collected vapor and descended slowly through a cloud, propped by strong updrafts. That allowed them to collect all the more layers of ice and on September 3, 1970, a hailstone that was 17 inches in circumference and weighed 1.6 pounds landed on Coffeyville, Kansas (although this would later be exceeded in Oklahoma where one the size of a human head crashed through a roof).
Those were oddities but more to the point were the casualties. Hail foretold tornadoes and tornadoes were homicidal. From April 3 to April 4, 1974, an outbreak spawned 148 twisters in 11 states from Alabama to Michigan and this time, in this horrid instance, the toll was 330. It was the greatest tornadic outbreak in history -- greater than Palm Sunday -- and as many as 15 were on the ground at the same time, the most devastating near Dayton, Ohio, where the town of Xenia (an Indian name that meant "evil wind") was all but leveled and as one pilot in a twin engine discovered, the air tossed like a turbine as the storm swept into Ohio from the southwest.
On the ground in Xenia itself 48 miles to the north there was nothing but terror as dark clouds formed a monster, an F-5. "When I first saw the tornado I didn't know what it was because it didn't look like the regular tornadoes that I had seen on TV," recalls resident Shirley Stamps, who was at ground zero. "It was huge and seemed to be the same size from top to bottom. I went into the bedroom to get a better view of it. By this time it was much closer and I saw two small funnel clouds come out of the large cloud and go back into it. It was so close by this time that I saw the debris in it. I ran to the living room and turned a large piece of furniture over and grabbed my daughter out of her bed where she was taking an afternoon nap. The roar was awful. My little dog was going crazy and of course my daughter was screaming. I was just praying. I could hear glass breaking and something hit my kitchen wall. After that I could smell fresh wood. The wood smell was coming from my kitchen wall, where a small rafter section from someone else's house had been driven through the wall. I looked out my window and started to cry, because every house behind me was destroyed. The only things left were where the bathrooms were. Later I found out that just at the end of our short street, people were dying."
Along with the dead were 5,000 injured, and while this was one for the history books -- so large that Tetsuya Fujita, who designed the scale of intensity, wondered if he would have to create a higher category -- it was quickly followed by storms of comparable power. Five years after Xenia another peak was reached when an F-5 hit Wichita Falls, Texas, with skies that can only be described as sinister. "I distinctly remember seeing four different levels of clouds going four different directions at different speeds and of different colors," recalls Joel Manes, a truck driver who lost a girlfriend in the storm. "As I was standing there the wind was alternating every which way, and I looked south and saw a cloud form and shoot west. I thought, `Wow! That was fast!' In a few moments another one formed and shot to my right so I looked southwest and whammy. These clouds were forming and flying straight towards this big black cloud on the ground. I didn't understand what was happening, but it sure was wild. Put your arms straight out in front of you and level. Notice the distance between your hands, and then swing your arms outward and level twice shoulder width. That's how much of my field of view was filled with the tornado. It was only a mile or a mile and a half wide, but when it was only two miles away or less it was huge. I can hear it now. The little clouds that were shooting towards it were being whipped upwards into the tornado and power lines were sparking and stuff was flying everywhere."
That year there was also a large twister in Connecticut, and in the late 1980s a tornado scaled a mountain at Yellowstone National Park, and these served as a prelude, a dress rehearsal, for the 1990s. For after a leveling off in the 1980s (except for oddities like Yellowstone) the frequency stepped up as never before -- in a way that conformed with the gyration in climate -- and tornadoes were blasting all over. From an average of 800 a year in previous decades the number was now rising above 1,100 right from the start of the Nineties and special terror was struck at 6:45 p.m. on April 26, 1991, when another giant arrived in Andover, Kansas, tearing up the countryside and all but killing a young mother named Brook Williamson, who was actually plucked up by the tornado. "What happened is that we were all up at my parents' house eating dinner and we just got finished eating and we were feeding eight little puppies and just kind of flipped the TV on and all of a sudden we heard there was a tornado, take cover, it's going through Andover right now. And so we looked out the door and it was such an enormous storm that it looked like it was right in our backyard headed for our house. It was half a mile wide. So we did something really stupid which was get in the car and try to get to a neighbor's, a house that had a basement. It didn't work. We were going down the road and it looked like the tornado was going the other way, like we were getting away from it, but then all of a sudden at the last second it turned.
"So we were all sitting in the car -- my mom, my brother, a friend of mine, and my eight-month-old daughter. We're in the car and we could tell it was just getting too close. The cows on one side of a pasture were freaking and running to the other side of the pasture and it started hailing. We knew we were not supposed to be in a car, so we jumped out and got into a little depression in the ground. It wasn't even really a ditch. We're all saying the Lord's Prayer and we all piled on top of my daughter. We were laying there and everything was real calm and then not two seconds after that you could hear the tornado. It was bursting our eardrums. And the next thing you know it gets pitch dark. Rain was violently falling to the point where it hit the earth and then washed up in our faces. The temperature changed and it got real cold. You could hear the tornado and smell all the electrical stuff in the air and hear trees just being broken and then you're getting hit with boards and bricks. I could hear my car shaking back and forth and then the car was just gone. And then the tornado got a lot more violent. I picked up my head and that was my big mistake. It picked me up and my mom yelled at me, `Lay down!' but I said, `I can't!' and I was pretty much gone.
"I was picked up and thrown down and picked up and thrown down. It carried me for about a quarter of a mile, probably five or seven seconds, and I screamed, `God take me! Take me and get it over with!' You couldn't hear anything because of the roar but for some reason I could hear my daughter screaming and I just focused in on her screaming and heard her the whole time while all this was happening. I was whipped everywhere. There were cows flying around. We were right next to that field of cattle and it was picking them up and throwing them all over the place. I heard a cow just shrieking, horrible. I never heard a cow sound like that before. I did somersaults and I was dragged and flung violently, pretty much a diagonal northeast line. I went through barbed wire and when it finally dropped me I grabbed hold of a big board or something that was stuck in the ground and held onto that and the tornado didn't pick me up anymore and then I could hear my friend yelling my name. "It was black. All the debris and all the stuff just made it pitch black. You couldn't see anything. I jumped up and started running toward her voice and we met and she held me up and carried me back to the ditch where everybody was. We were all just covered with mud. We were in the ditch for two hours before anyone could get to us, and I was in and out of consciousness. The rescue workers were busy at a trailer park that got hit and these tornado chasers came by and weren't going to stop but my friend basically ran them down. I'm not sure they knew anyone was really hurt but they didn't want to stop because they wanted to get more footage. When we found our car it was about half a mile into a hay field and all crumpled up. Finally I was taken to the hospital and I was there for a week. I had broken a vertebrae in my neck, a vertebrae in the back, I broke my collarbone, broke my shoulder blade, broke my right arm and down by the wrist, and my left lung collapsed."
Such was the power that Brook still had pieces of rock under her skin and such the fright that she spent the next tornado season holed up in a basement, afraid anytime it rained and plagued by the kind of nightmares that haunted other witnesses to the upsurge. By 1999 there were 1,225 tornadoes. Experts downplayed it as a case of better observation, but it seemed more than that. At times, much more. In 1996 a tornado ripped up Fort Smith, Arkansas -- right downtown -- and in 1999 one flew through the heart of Salt Lake City. These shocked the public and forecasters because they were coming when they weren't expected, they threatened to grow larger, they threatened to step up their speed and cover wider areas.
Unusually warm patterns of weather were bringing moist air from the Gulf at low levels north, allowing it to combine in deadly ways with strong westerly flows in the upper atmosphere. Periods of calm -- abnormally low incidence -- were ending with alarming outbreaks, and it looked like the storms might expand beyond tornado alley -- the corridor from Texas through Kansas -- and move with greater frequency east and north. Illinois. Ohio. Pennsylvania. It seemed like a matter of time before one attacked the urban core -- the very skyscrapers -- of a major city, and while it wasn't New York or Chicago, something close to that happened on May 3, 1999, during an outbreak in the Oklahoma City area. Nearly sixty twisters rose with a suddenness that shocked forecasters and aimed right for this area of 630,000 people. While most were small, a couple reached F-5 status and one had winds of 318 miles an hour -- the highest ever measured.
It was this one that attacked the city's very suburbs.
It was what meteorologists at NOAA called "an outbreak of historic proportions."
It had been a long time if ever since such a violent storm moved through such a large population, and it hit in the evening, blowing away ceilings and closet walls.
The F-5 moved on a 38-mile path from Chikasa through south Okalhoma City and much of the damage was in a suburb called Moore.
At the very edge of Oklahoma City, under the area where the storm hit 318 miles an hour, a family called the Holcombs -- parents and two young children, aged six and one -- huddled in a closet with a mattress over them. Their house sustained a direct strike. "About fifteen minutes before it hit the electricity went off," says Michael Holcomb. "And a couple minutes before, we heard the wind picking up and a little bit of hail. Then it got quiet and we all started praying and heard the shingles and then the roof started lifting off. We were in a closet on the northeast side of the house that had one outside wall and three inside. It sucked the walls up and dumped a bunch of boards and trash from another house on us and that's what probably kept us on the ground. As soon as the roof lifted off it sucked the mattress out of my hands. Then it was a matter of just grabbing hold of each other and laying down. It slid us around and we ended in the bathroom next to the closet. I remember sliding and getting shoved and spun around. Of our house there was only one partial wall left standing. It sucked the walls and the plate up off the slab. There was nothing left. That we survived was a miracle."
In all 8,330 homes were hit and more than a thousand others in surrounding counties. Emergency crews fanned out in the dark of night and in the morning Frank Keating, the state's governor, offered a terse assessment. "We have whole communities," he said, "that simply aren't there anymore."
Was that heading for more populous areas? Would wind speed somewhere else exceed Oklahoma? Could a tornado reach 350 miles an hour? Could its width stretch beyond the current limit of two miles?
The answer is yes, and it's all part of the coming convergence. Storms of many kinds will blend with other events -- with the quakes or epidemics -- and while a single storm can not cause a global event, it could serve as the build-up or background. Many kinds of storms are on the horizon, swarms of tornadoes that will devastate more land than the Palm Sunday event and F-5s so large they'll gut an entire downtown [as just happened in Alabama, or at the St. Louis airport].
One day news channels will be filled with images of a whirling black mass drilling through a major urban area, grinding into the cement, cutting like blades through tall buildings.
It's only a matter of time before a large tornadic event captures more attention than any previous. There'll be a rise of 25 percent in lightning (according to researchers at NASA), faster updrafts, and taller cumulonimbus, while out at sea there will also be massive systems of low pressure, some churning into historic hurricanes.
[resources: Sent To Earth and Tower of Light]
[Record 312 twisters in a single day]
[resources: Michael Brown retreat, New Jersey: the prophetic pulse]
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