Tornadoes are nothing new. They happen every year, always have, and always will.

Talking About the Weather

Seth Fletcher is a talented writer. Consider this description of the day a tornado leveled his hometown of Joplin, Missouri:

Just after 5 p.m., two storm chasers driving toward the western edge of Joplin, Missouri, spotted a translucent set of tendrils reaching down from the storm’s low black thunderhead. Almost as quickly as they formed, the tendrils disappeared. And then things took a turn. A dark blob half a mile wide congealed and dropped from the clouds.

The description proceeds from there, as the horrifying events of May 22, 2011, are painfully well captured. As the twister’s progress through Joplin is laid out, piece by piece, it becomes clear that Fletcher is an individual who loves the English language and knows how to use it. What about climatology, though? And what about logic? Does he love these just as much?

Let’s take climatology first. How rare are tornadoes in the…

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