Story 3. Twista and Twisto Start to Swirl
After their close encounter with Wispy, the two little clouds and the flying thermometer decided to be a bit more cautious in their adventures. Even so, as they continued to soar over the Great Plains, Fluffy became curious about the cloud formations she saw in the far distance.
“Look at those dark clouds up ahead,” Fluffy said. “Let’s go check them out.”
Thermo looked worried. “Okay, but we’ll need to be very careful. I don’t like the look of them. Even from here they seem big and angry. Remember Puffy, you almost turned into a thunderstorm before.”
The threesome glided ahead for about a hundred miles, then Thermo made a signal to halt. “Let’s don’t get any closer for now,” he warned. “We don’t want those big storms to see us.”
After a few minutes of observation, the trio noticed that one of the storms appeared to be growing. The base of the storm began to darken and the storm started to rotate.
“Look at that!” cried Puffy.
“We’d better leave,” suggested Fluffy.
“Not yet,” said Thermo, and he watched in fascination as the storm became taller and more massive, rising higher than most of the others surrounding it. In a few more moments, what looked like a large finger began to spin under the storm. The finger became a big funnel and started to sprout an evil set of eyes, complete with lashes that only the Wizard of Oz’s Wicked Witch of the West would wear.
“What is it?” wailed Puffy. “I’ve never seen anything so mean-looking!”
The spinning funnel opened its eyes and immediately spotted Thermo, Fluffy and Puffy. The storm moved closer to them, but the three friends held their ground. Then, in a thunderous and low-pitched female voice the funnel bellowed, “My name is Twista. Why are you spying on the Clan of the Storms?”
Sheepishly, but trying to keep his voice from shaking, Puffy replied, “We were just curious about some cloud formations in the distance.”
In a demonstration of her power, Twista kicked up some dust and debris on the ground. Then turning her attention to Thermo, Puffy and Fluffy, she roared, “You puny little clouds and you—you weird, flying rectangle thing, leave us be, or I will swallow you up! I am the Queen of the Storms. My husband King Twisto will be along soon. He is not as merciful as I am. I only uproot trees, but he batters buildings for fun. He picks up cars and trucks and tosses them around like toys. He has even been known to kill some humans who don’t know what they’re doing when they foolishly try to use their cameras to record his presence. You don’t want to be around when King Twisto is in a bad mood. Now be gone!”
Too terrified to speak, Thermo, Puffy and Fluffy sped southward toward clearer skies, far away from the line of storms producing chaos over the Plains.
“Let’s hope we never see her again!” shouted Thermo. It was a hope that would not be fulfilled.
In the real world, a storm in which the base of the cloud begins to rotate is known as a supercell thunderstorm. Given the right conditions, some supercells can form tornadoes, which Thermo, Puffy and Fluffy saw on this little excursion. Tornadoes are categorized by their strength on a scale from zero to five called the Enhanced Fujita Scale. There are legitimate storm-chasers who understand the science of tornado formation and who aid tornado research with their data-gathering and stunning video. Unfortunately, there are also a growing number of amateur photographers who put themselves and others in harm’s way when they chase tornadoes without the proper scientific education and background.
The text and artwork are copyright by Guy Walton. I would like to get this book published. Please drop me a note if you are willing to help.
To see the rest of the World of Thermo stories click: http://www.guyonclimate.com/category/worldofthermo/