Storm Trackers Watched the Weather at Whiteman
This happened at 4:00 p.m.
"The first warning that we issued is approximately at 2:30 in the afternoon on Sunday, March, 12th," said Towlson.
Luckily, the tornadoes missed the base. $46 billion in stealth aircraft remained unscathed in the base's hangers.
"Two of the guys I coach football with in the local community their houses were destroyed. I live here on base. So, the tornadoes were within miles of the base here. And there was one north of the base also," Smsgt. Steve Ramage, Maintenance Superintendent.
Twenty miles east of the base, though, mother nature unleashed her fury on Sedalia. The storms damaged and destroyed 100 homes. One man suffered broken ribs and limbs trying to save his friend, Deanne Solloman. Solloman was trapped in her home and she died, the only life claimed by the quarter-mile wide tornado.
Elsewhere in Missouri, the death toll was significantly higher. Later, storm trackers confirm 105 tornadoes for the March 11th and 12th outbreak.
340 miles away, the nation's premiere severe storms forecasters watched intently.
At the Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma, weather is monitored 24-hours a day by researchers working on things like mesoscale analysis. A "mesoscale analysis" is meteorlogical jargon for mapping hazardous weather. On March 12th, 2006, there was lots of hazardous weather. Instead of just one or two supercells, there was a day long barrage.
Joe Schaefer, Storm Prediction Center Director, has 44 years experience as a meteorologist. He helped create the center and says recent shifts in weather patterns have been dramatic. And he says, for people in the Midwest, this year could prove to be very potent.
"If the first part of the year holds true for the next couple of months, they're liable to have an exciting spring. I would pay very close attention to the ongoing weather and monitor it on a day-to-day basis. If the situations looks like it could be severe to at least have a plan as to how you would take appropriate action," said Schaefer.
Whether or not this year's weather will resemble the last, is ultimately still up in the air.