Sunday, June 9, 2013

Cool Camping Ideas and Worried Weather Minds

Sarasota, FL     High:   85      Low:  73

It's been raining every single day for the last seven days.....We had some exciting weather the other day, Sparky is a little behind on the blog...We didn't realize how exciting till after we were out and about running some errands. We were in a store, and an alarm went off on Eldy's phone..."WHOOP--WHOOP-WHOOP!" He has the Red Cross app on his phone and it notifies him of NOAA weather alerts with a really loud siren alarm that sounds just like a tornado siren going off. It started going off every five minutes. THAT was a little worrisome! Here is the link to the Red Cross tornado app if you are interested....

There WAS a tornado cloud formation spotted somewhere near Fruitville Road in Sarasota, but it didn't touch down near us. We were over by Lakewood Ranch, and the weather alert app said there was a chance of a tornado in that area. Later we found out that there were two F-0 tornadoes--one in Venice and one in Myakka City.  Yikes! We quickly found out that the store had a basement, so we weren't too worried... We are used to big storms with big winds, big thunderstorms and big rains in Indiana...But not hurricane/water spout tornado type storms. The cycling water spouts offshore turn into tornadoes once they hit land. The weather forecasters are really good at telling you when and where the tropical storms are coming ashore, but they don't know how strong the storms might get...The weather patterns are much more unpredictable here due to winds and weather coming out off the Gulf and land weather colliding with the fronts. Did that sound convincing like Sparky knows what she's talking about? Didn't think so!

Here's what Sparky DOES know: There is a tornado scale authored by a professor with the last name of Fujita who worked for the national severe weather storm center. He developed (along with Alan Pearson), a way to determine the severity of tornadoes and a rating scale called the Fujita / Pearson Scale.

The Fujita Scale

F-Scale NumberIntensity PhraseWind SpeedType of Damage Done
F0Gale tornado40-72 mphSome damage to chimneys; breaks branches off trees; pushes over shallow-rooted trees; damages sign boards.
F1Moderate tornado73-112 mphThe lower limit is the beginning of hurricane wind speed; peels surface off roofs; mobile homes pushed off foundations or overturned; moving autos pushed off the roads; attached garages may be destroyed.
F2Significant tornado113-157 mphConsiderable damage. Roofs torn off frame houses; mobile homes demolished; boxcars pushed over; large trees snapped or uprooted; light object missiles generated.
F3Severe tornado158-206 mphRoof and some walls torn off well constructed houses; trains overturned; most trees in forest uprooted
F4Devastating tornado207-260 mphWell-constructed houses leveled; structures with weak foundations blown off some distance; cars thrown and large missiles generated.
F5Incredible tornado261-318 mphStrong frame houses lifted off foundations and carried considerable distances to disintegrate; automobile sized missiles fly through the air in excess of 100 meters; trees debarked; steel re-inforced concrete structures badly damaged.
F6Inconceivable tornado319-379 mphThese winds are very unlikely. The small area of damage they might produce would probably not be recognizable along with the mess produced by F4 and F5 wind that would surround the F6 winds. Missiles, such as cars and refrigerators would do serious secondary damage that could not be directly identified as F6 damage. If this level is ever achieved, evidence for it might only be found in some manner of ground swirl pattern, for it may never be identifiable through engineering studies

Seems like a very subjective scale and that it would be difficult to determine exactly what rating to give a tornado, but this is what the weather people use. The classification of the tornado occurs after it has passed through when weather service personnel survey the damage. There are several other charts out there that go into more details for classification, like whether the mortar is blown out between cinder blocks or not!  Kind of interesting, if you are into the weather stuff, but for others, not so much...  :-)

At any rate, we came home shortly after the storm passed through, and decided to just kick back and take it easy for the rest of the day....Sparky spotted some cool stuff being shared on the web for camping--more for people who like campfires and tent camp, but there were still some great ideas for RVers, too...Like this candlelight stick light idea....Drill holes in the bottom of stubby candles and then stick them on a dowel and into the ground...

Campfire cones: Fill waffle cones with your favorite concoctions of sweets--chocolate chips, marshmallows, strawberries, bananas--wrap in foil and grill for a short bit...Yum, yum!

Did you know Doritos make a great campfire starter if you can't find any kindling? And cotton pads dipped in wax are handy dandy fire starters, too.

Bundles of sage on a campfire help keep mosquitoes away.. So they say.....Where you find bundled sage is another story..Sparky remembers seeing bundled sage out west in Arizona and New Mexico, but not here in Florida!
Did you know they make biodegradable orange tape so you can mark your hiking trail if you are venturing out in unknown territory? It breaks down within 6-24 months....(Blazing your own path is probably not a good idea and certainly NOT encouraged by Sparky and Eldo and environmentalists!) But Sparky and Eldo have been on confusing trails and that would have been handy!

We still love campfires even though we are in a motorhome, so we just wanted to share some of these camping ideas...If anybody has any other cool ideas for "glamping" (that's glamorous camping in a motorhome, fifth wheel or travel trailer) or "roughing it smoothly", as the Tiffin company logo says, please leave a comment! We'd love to hear from you! Now if we could only have a campfire....Not allowed at Sun 'n' Fun, but you can have a fire pits with propane fuel...Something is lost in the translation, feels Sparky. Not the same as a real, rip-roaring wood fire out in the open.....

Hm-m-m-mmmm...guess we'll wait for another setting more appropriate for a campfire...Until later.....


  1. Yum! Like the waffle cone idea :) We still do good ole s'mores, even though they're a pain to do. Wonder if you could put the fixins in a waffle cone? Hmm, gotta try that!

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  3. Cool camping ideas, and thank for the redcross links, handy apps to have.

  4. Interesting chart on tornadoes. We've never experienced a tornado and hope we never do.

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