The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on April 29, 2001 · Page 13
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 13

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Salina, Kansas
Issue Date:
Sunday, April 29, 2001
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Page 13
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THE SALINA JOURNAL GREAT PLAINS SUNDAY, APRIL 29. 2001 BH T SEVERE WEATHER SEASON Severe weather to continue National Weather Service says extremely cold conditions In Siberia affecting U.S. weather By MIKE CORN Hays Daily News This year's weather has been anything but typical. And that "atypical" weather pattern might ^cpntinue through the end of May, according to j?ff Hutton, warning coordination meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Dodge City The unusual weather, pattern goes back to the "very brutal" conditions last winter in Siberia, thousands of miles away Because of the cold conditions there, the weather pattern 10,000 to 20,000 feet above the earth has been altered. The air that far up is well below normal, Hutton said. "It makes for very energetic storms," he said. "The storms are more violent." That has been evidenced, he said, by the series of storms that have been exceptionally fast moving, clipping along at speeds of 70 mph to 80 mph. The contrast between upper level air temperatures and that closer to the ground is the cause of the problem and can result in larger hail and more intense thunderstorms. That contrast also has been responsible for the high winds that have plagued northwest Kansas this spring. "This is a year we really have to pay attention," he said. Weekend storms were an example of that contrast, he said. Tornado warnings were issued Saturday evening for Rush and EUis counties prior to the devastating tornado that struck Hoisington in iSarton County 5":And while the Kansas weather pattern is in a lull, severe weather is expected to return early next week. The exact form of the storms still remains unknown, but Hutton said such a lull is not always a good thing. Instead, he said, the calm weather allows moisture from the Gulf of Mexico to build up, which could set the stage for storms. "It paints a nasty picture," he said. "We really have to pay attention." Improvements have been made in the ability to warn people about severe weather. A new siren is in the works for the city of Plainville, and a backup generator has been installed at the severe weather radio transmitter northwest of Hays. That transmitter is Hutton's first choice for storm alerts. Weather radios can be programmed to sound the alarm for specific counties, rather than for larger areas. Outdoor sirens, he said, are not designed to warn people inside buildings. "That's always been the case," he said. "That is an outdoors siren. It's not intended to wake anyone up." The tornado sirens originally were designed during the Cold War to alert people of a potential nuclear attack. That purpose since has evolved into a severe weather warning sirens. But, most of the sirens are dependent on electricity, which can be knocked out in severe storms., Loss of electricity was not a concern when it came to warnings about possible nuclear attacks. Hutton also said commercial radio and television stations don't have the ability to wake a person from sleep in the event of an approaching storm. Weather alert radios have that capability, he said, because an alert triggers a loud alarm, followed by a broadcast of the warning. When chemical (lepeiuleiicy shuts r sai Saint iiai SSS S8BS I '-Kincis 1111 Mil could nil nn SSS IBS! The Saint Francis Academy Alcohol and Drng Treatment Program The Saint Francis outpatient treatment program for youth 12-17 years of age, offers: • Assessments • Drug and aicohoi education • Individual, group, and family counseling • Afternoon and early evening hours • Serenity Support Services model used with the traditional 12-step approach your window of opportunity ' Medicaid approved ' Insurance accepted The Saint Francis Academy Alcohol and Drug Treatment Program 1646-B North 9th Street, Salina, KS 785-823-0001 www.st-francls.org THE SMNT FRANCIS ACADEMY INCORPORATED Coming 8001% to the Hutchinson Mall Island Groov T TORNADO SURVIVOR Herman: Holding on for dear life A Cool Store Specializing In Hot Jamaican Merchandise, Featuring a full line of Bob Marley products. Also Available: • Flags • Dolls • Knitted Caps • Mesh Shirts • Tassels • Cool Running Caps Wichita man will never forget his tornado encounter By The Associated Press : WICHITA — Ten years ago Thursday, a twister ripped into Haysville, Wichita and Andover, kiUing 17 people and driving a two-by-four into Jerry Her- ihan's torso. Herman survived, only to face a slow death from an'illness made worse by his encounter with the tornado. Herman, 46, had just returned to his mobile home in Wichita after picking up Melissa, his 2a-year-old daughter, from the baby sitter. He had no idea how bad the weather was until she toddled over and turned on the televi- 'sion. Within minutes, "the ^screen went blank, and it said there was a tornado on the ground," Herman said. He picked up Melissa, intending to go to the storm shelter in the mobile home park, but when he opened the front door, he could see the tornado across the street. It slammed into the mobile homes in his park. "It was just a solid black wall," Herman said, "and you could see stuff rotating in it," He grabbed a blanket and huddled with Melissa in a bedroom closet in the middle of the mobile home. The tornado rolled the mobile home over and over as Herman clung fiercely to his daughter. More than once he felt her nearly sucked from his grasp as they bounced around in his closet. He refused to let go. When he opened his eyes, he could see the sky The tornado had pulled a shoe from Melissa's foot and muddied her face. But she was fine. Herman thought he was, too. Then he tried to move a two- by-four that seemed to be on top of him. It wouldn't budge, and searing pain shot through him. The 4n-foot board had been driven into his body from his groin to his right collar bone. Herman says it felt like hours before rescuers found him. And he was awake through it all. In an emergency room filled with trauma victims, Herman stood out. Doctors wanted to take pictures, and he could see the concern in their eyes even as they tried to act as if everything would be fine. Somehow, the board spared vital organs when it skewered him. Even though there were several nails in the board, he wasn't shredded internally He was hospitalized for 21 days and has a 2-foot surgical scar as a memento. The injury brought him minor fame, with an appearance on Geraldo Rivera's television show and a truth-bending account in the National Enquirer. But it wasn't such a ha&py ending. A year after the twister, Her­ man began having problems breathing. He blamed it - on smoking, which he had taken up not long before the tornado. He began to cough up what "looked like mud," likely caused by the minute debris inhaled during the storm. Doctors diagnosed Herman with alpha-l-antitrypsin deficiency, a genetic disorder in which the enzymes the body uses to fight infections also attack the lungs, gradually destroying them. Herman's lungs steadily deteriorated, and he underwent a lung transplant in 1995. Herman's doctor, Patrick Wolf, said although Herman probably would have needed a transplant eventually the tornado hastened the problems because so many infections resulted from the debris he inhaled. '^"^ Salina Journal Connecting communities with infonnalion N A T U R A L I Z E R TACOMA • Black • Brown • Bone 122 S. Santa Fe DOWNTOWN SALINA + American Red Cross GaiFcdicen IPairty Sunday, April 29th 1:30-3:30 Ten Acre© Gajndcjnig! 8853 E. Cloud Salina, KS $15 per person or $25 for two All proceeds benefit the American Red Cross. •You will be entertained by the dynamic duo of Steve Hanson & Lessie D ener. • Enjoy fresh and delicious appetizers provided by Laurel's Garden Fine Catering. • Taste and enjoy Smoky Hill Vineyards great selections of wines. • Chip Miller will be on hand to answer all your gardening questions. 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