Roundabout Reason For Turbulent Weather

Sometimes, the reason for why something is the way it is, isn’t always apparent. But then, after a certain amount of consideration, you think, “You know, that explanation makes a lot of sense.”  This is not one of those times.

In Pennsylvania, they’ve been hit by tornadoes.  More than usual.  So, it’s logical for a curious resident of the Keystone State to ask himself or herself, “Why?”

Someone in White Haven, PA called a local radio station’s talk show voicemail line and left this explanation:

“We didn’t have tornadoes here until we started putting in traffic circles.  When people go round and round in circles, it causes disturbances in the atmosphere, and causes tornadoes.”

We have roundabouts in Alexandria, and more are being considered.  Are we in peril?

To the best that I’ve been able to discern, PennDOT, MnDOT, and the National Weather Service all say “don’t think so” and give no credence to the roundabout school of thought.

They shouldn’t.  Everyone knows that instability in the atmosphere is caused by guys with long hair on jet skis making those tight circles on Lake Miltona .

I asked meteorologist Too Tall Tom Symanski about both of these circular theories. Interestingly, he didn’t comment on either. Instead, he remarked that before showers were invented, there was no such thing as rain.

Not quite the response I was expecting. But, again, an observation that is difficult to square with the facts. We know it rained back in Biblical times. Noah had to deal with quite the downpour, and that  was years before the invention of modern cleansing devices, such as “the voice-activated shower.”

Callers, especially late night ones to radio stations, can have creative takes on things.  I’ll never forget working the late night shift at a station in Omaha in 1987 and taking a call from someone who asked why one of the local TV stations wasn’t answering their phone. I told him, ” Well, I don’t work for the TV station, I work for this radio station. But, since it’s 11:30 at night, I’m guessing it’s probably because their switchboard is closed.”

There were five seconds of silence.  Then the caller said…”This is why we lost the Vietnam War.”


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