First exposure to tornadoes in the media (book, video, etc)?

This was inspired by the subtopic in the most beautiful tornado thread. What is the first time that you saw a tornado video, or read about tornadoes in a book, and was this what got you interested in severe weather?

I remember reading this children's book about storm chasers when I was in the second grade. I don't remember the title or author of it but it starts off with a chase by Tim Marshall and Roy Britt where they had to escape a tornado that suddenly changed direction.
I had this old volume set of kid encyclopedias... they had the "first" tornado picture in it (with the three funnels). When I was in preschool I would run and grab the book, look at the picture... (which was pretty freaky), scare myself... close the book real fast and put it away. I'd have nightmares about the picture, although it intrigued more than scared... I'd do this quite often... repeating the whole process :lol:


For me, Young People's Science Encyclopedia. Volume 19, to be exact ;)

As a sidenote, there was a picture of a tornado on the front of this particular encyclopedia. Trying to locate that lol.

Disaster: Tornado was another one that inspired me as I mentioned in the other thread.

Tornado by John Edward Weems was huge in my childhood, wore that book out to say the least! Read that one so many times.

And there was one more book specifically called Killer Tornadoes. Wore that one out too!
For me, it was Dennis Brindell Fradin's Disaster! Tornadoes; it had considerable company, though.

There was one called Tornado Alert — I can't remember the author, but it was factual but only illustrated with paintings, which were all pretty cool.

There was another one called Tornado!, by Jules Archer, and this one had a photo of the 1979 Seymour, TX, tornado, that honestly scared me —
[Broken External Image]:
Well, look at it! It's terrifying!

Another treasured volume was Sally Lee's Predicting Violent Storms, which a library I frequent came to sell . . . naturally, I snapped it up.

Seymour Simon's Storms was a beautiful, almost coffee-table book (for kids, though). Lots of great, huge pictures.

Above all was A.B.C. Whipple's Storm. The nice thing was that the library who had it didn't limit how may times you could renew a book. Therefore, I kept it out for about two years, probably.

The only thing was, all these books were in varying degrees of datedness and oversimplification when I borrowed them (1993–5), so it wasn't until about the end of the '90s that I foun out TOTO wasn't a viable device, and neither was opening windows before a tornado. Oh, and that it wasn't any old thunderstorm that would spawn a tornado. (I must say, I conceded that one with some disappointment.)

I can also never forget the first time I saw an ad for the TVC videos, in a 1994 Earth magazine — that was, literally, my pinnacle of existence for a few years, to GET THEM!! Somehow! Maybe . . .

It wasn't all this that sparked my interest in the first place, I should say — I owe a rather beautiful hailstorm when I was four for that — but it certainly vaulted my interest into an epic, furiously rotating obsession.
The classic book, "Tornadoes of the United States" by Snowden D. Flora piqued my interest in storms when I was a teen and my goal at that time was to become a meteorologist. Personal and national events intervened so my life went off in another direction but I never lost my fascination with severe weather. Now that the bulk of my career is behind me I can focus more on what I want to do rather than on what others want me to do.
I'm very much the same. Came across a photo of a tornado in a dictionary and became transfixed. Later it was enhanced, not by photos or videos, but a book called Night of the Twisters, which my 2nd grade teacher read to the class when the book was first published (just a youngin' here) in the mid-80s.
I still own a copy of that book :)

Here's a link to the particular photo. I'm sure everyone has seen it:
For me, the book was Dennis Brindell Fradin's Disaster: Tornadoes. That started me out in 3rd grade (1985). As far as media, I guess what I enjoyed most was the tornado video (actually I guess it was still on reels then) that the emergency management people brought to our elementary school. We'd gatther in the gym/auditorium for an assembly each March during weather awareness week and they'd go over safety rules and such. Then they'd always show us Day of the Killer Tornadoes. I think they also showed Terrible Tuesday. There was just something about this old footage that made the tornadoes look even more threatening. While the quality was horrible, I suppose it made the scene seem darker or something. Anyway, I greatly enjoyed them.

What's funny, I now have both that book and the two videos I just mentioned. They hold great sentimental value to me for some reason.
Ooh, I've got both of those videos. I love collecting old film footage of tornadoes. Tornadoes look even more surreal and sinister on 8mm film, even when shot by someone competent.
I'm going to make sure I have my Bolex 8mm camera with me once I get out chasing, and several loads of film on hand as well.
For was that fantastic tornado in The Wizard of Oz when I was six years old!

I fell asleep when the munckins (sp) came out...

I think I liked storms before I read any books. First thing that really amazed me was the video Tornadoes the Entity. That video got me super hooked. I think I got that video in 91 or 92.
Tim beat me to it - it's the Wizard of Oz - definitely. Though not a real tornado, it still amazes me how authentic that tornado looks! ... I still watch the sequence over and over to try and figure out just how they did it (though I've learned how, it's still a great effect) ... even the structure looks good - with scud/downdraft. The feel of that entire scene ... the dark, dusty fields - the wind and the wild 'feel' of it - was my first strong memory of tornadoes in the media. Made a huge impression when I was a kid.
It was the Wizard of Oz that first introduced me to tornados in the movies. In real life it was the National Geographic episode back in 1985 or 86 about storm chasers. They talked about David Hoadley, doppler radar, and Jim Leonard. I still have that on tape. :D
For me, my interest was set forth by the documentary "Tornado" put out by Nova back in the '80's. It was a combination of the photography and something about Dr. Howard Bluestein awed me. Back then, I was only about seven years old. I continued to read up and educate myself on meteorology ever since then.
When I was about 5, we were returning from a trip when two tornadoes touched down about a half mile from us in a field. They were moving away from us, fortunately, but I was in the library the next day. If it was in the Plainfield library and had something to do with tornadoes, I read it.

Unfortunately, I read so much about their destructive power, that I scared myself to death. I was convinced that a windy overcast day meant that a tornado was coming to get me. A couple of years later, my parents decided I needed help with my phobia and took me to see a counselor, and, well, it worked a little too well. ;)
my first exposure was in Kindergarden.

We were held in school for a tornado, the others were huddled by the far wall, I was trying to get up and get a better look.
I discovered tornadoes first in a National Geographic magazine. I must have been 7 or 8 years old. The pictures and stories amazed me to no end.

Above all was A.B.C. Whipple's Storm. The nice thing was that the library who had it didn't limit how may times you could renew a book. Therefore, I kept it out for about two years, probably.

That would have to mine as well. I don't know if it was the first because I went through so many books with tornado pictures between the ages of 9 and 11 they all kinda blend together, but that one stands out the most. The tornado pictures were just awesome - from the ropy backlit Kansas tornado with a huge debris cloud on the front cover, to the entire Osnabrock ND sequence, to the Wichita Falls multivortex monster. But for me it wasn't pictures or video that sparked the interest - the interest was already there so that's why I wanted to look at as many pictures of them as I could. I can recall being fascinated with dust devils and the vortex in the bathtub drain long before that.
As with some of you who have already shared your stories, my interest was sparked by one of those old 8-mm films shown to us in third grade during severe weather awareness week. The setting for this one was a tornado that struck Cherryvale, KS - a little too close for comfort since I grew up in Wichita. The plot switched back and forth between the inside of a weather office with crew-cut men in suit and tie poring over isobar maps, and a nervous farmer who keeps watching the ominous sky all day long from his farmhouse, with his wife in apron nagging him to stop worrying and quit looking out the window. After a suspensful build-up (complete with a description of "synoptically evident" conditions as we would say in modern times), the farmer finally sees a tornado out in the countryside while standing out on his front porch, runs in and dials the weather office, furiously cranking one of those real old phones. In quick succession, we see the warning being teletyped, announced on the radio, the farmer makes a run to the cellar with his wife, as the storm rolls directly towards the downtown of this little prairie town. I don't know how widely this little gem was distributed, but if NOAA would have had the foresight to collect royalties from the future stream of psychologist fees incurred by plains baby-boomers suffering from nightmares as a result, it could probably fund VORTEX projects well into the 21st century.
Lightning - I was the little kid with the flashlight under the covers looking at any picture of lightning I could find among my parents' lengthy collection of science books. There was one book with the most bizarre picture of lightning, I looked at it again and again. The book was called The Earth by Time Life and the photo was lightning in Switzerland interacting with chemicals on the ground...causing the lightning to appear like a huge twisted cloth. I still remember that photo, quite incredible. It was all about lightning for me, but all the tornado chapters were read over and over as well.
I would imagine that "The Wizard of Oz" was my earliest exposure, but coming close to the same time was a brush with what a REAL tornado can do:

In 1966 we took a trip to Dallas, TX and on the way drove past a huge path of destruction, which I believe was in Topeka (but may have been Wichita). It was an area that the locals had thought protected from tornadoes by a hill to the southwest. I'm not sure how much before our trip the damage took place, but seeing entire houses wiped off their foundations for a huge area certainly made an impact on me.

The following year, in 1967, our family of four took a 3-week road trip/vacation. We left early in the morning from Northeast Nebraska, and my sister and I would be awake, excited, staring out into the darkness. My parents were not stupid. They knew that later we would be asleep and they would have some peaceful day driving time, unintereupted by repeated "Are we there, yet?"

So, I was asleep in the back seat when Dad pulled over to the side of the road that overlooked Rapid City, SD - because of a big storm ahead. They watched (and I missed) the six funnel clouds that they said came out of the clouds that day, like fingers on a hand. We drove through the town a short while later and there was sporatic damage. I remember the McDonalds was hit pretty hard along with some trees and houses. I've never forgiven my parents for letting me sleep through that outbreak.

Darren Addy
Kearney, NE
It was the Wizard of Oz that first introduced me to tornados in the movies. In real life it was the National Geographic episode back in 1985 or 86 about storm chasers. They talked about David Hoadley, doppler radar, and Jim Leonard. I still have that on tape. :D

This was also my first introduction to severe storms and chasing info.
In 1987 there was a interesting whrite up in the National Geographic
book on the TOTO deployments,this i found facinating.
How odd it was when Edmonton was hit by a F-4 Tornado the
same year.That storm set me on the path to learn more.Me and my
couson did see what we thought was a tornado in the rope stage back in
1996 but passed it of thinking that people would think we were crazy,
no one would ever guss tornadoes happen in Alberta Canada.