Tennessee Helpless Against New Basement Tornadoes

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Rescuers Heroically Help Beached Garbage Back Into Ocean

ATLANTIC BEACH, NC—In what many described as an inspiring display of selflessness and teamwork, a group of rescuers heroically saved a beached mound of garbage by helping the stranded trash back into the ocean, eyewitnesses reported Thursday.

Man Races Against Time To Take Out Trash Bag With Widening Puncture

RIO RANCHO, NM—His pace steadily quickening as he rounded the corner out of his kitchen and made a beeline for the front door, local man Henry Parnasse reportedly found himself locked in a race against time Wednesday morning to take out a trash bag with a widening hole in its side.

Man Pushed Off Plate Of Chicken Wings By Larger Male

WARMINSTER, PA—Looking on as the intense display of aggressive behavior played out over several minutes, sources at Flannigan’s Bar & Grill confirmed Thursday that local man Pete Samuelson was pushed off a plate of buffalo wings by a much larger alpha male.

Grandma Guts It Out Through Lunch On Sunny Patio

MALVERN, PA—Making the audacious decision to dine outdoors with her family despite a noticeable lack of umbrellas or awnings, grandmother Diane McGilvery, 83, reportedly gutted it out through lunch Friday on the sunny patio of a local restaurant.

Parents Formally Announce Transfer Of Expectations To Second Child

GRAND JUNCTION, CO—Explaining that the adjustment made the most practical sense for all parties involved, local parents Beth and Ryan Morgan held a press conference Friday morning to announce the official transfer of expectations from their oldest child, Jeremy, to his younger sibling, Angie.

Motorcyclist Salvaged For Parts

SIOUX FALLS, SD—Following a multiple-vehicle accident on Interstate 90 that temporarily halted traffic in both directions, sources reported Friday that a motorcyclist involved in the crash was hauled off and salvaged for parts.

Detective Not Sure He Was Close Enough To Partner To Endlessly Pursue Killer

DETROIT—After his partner of three years was gunned down last week while the pair were on duty, Detective David Killian of the Detroit Police Department’s Major Case Squad told reporters Wednesday he was unsure whether he had been close enough to his murdered colleague to single-mindedly pursue the killer for as long as it takes.

Man Pretty Cocky Since Beating Cancer

FT. LAUDERDALE, FL—Whether he’s bragging about his newfound appreciation for life or arrogantly refusing to take anything for granted, local man Daniel Oretsky, 38, has been acting insufferably cocky since winning his two-year battle with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, sources confirmed Tuesday.

Area Man Under Impression He Got Dressed Up

PROVIDENCE, RI—Explaining that the dinner he would soon be having at an upscale restaurant required him to wear something a bit special, local man Kyle Finnegan was under the impression that he had just gotten dressed up, sources said Thursday.

Man Honestly Thought Breakdown Would Be More Obvious To People

MAPLEWOOD, MN—Explaining that he had assumed the deterioration of his physical and psychological state would be readily apparent, 3M sales associate Mark Uhler told reporters Wednesday he honestly thought his ongoing breakdown would be more obvious to everyone around him.

Report: Dad Wants To Show You Where Fuse Box Is

YOUR LOCATION—Noting that it’s important to be prepared in case of emergencies but it’s also a good thing to know in general, your dad announced today that he wants to show you where the fuse box is.

Neighborhood Busybody Reports Sound Of Gunshots

INDIANAPOLIS—Once again sticking her nose where it doesn’t belong, neighborhood busybody Sally Christensen, 54, reportedly took it upon herself to report the sound of gunshots to law enforcement early Tuesday morning, sources confirmed.

Being Older Than Daughter Babysitter’s Only Qualification

UTICA, NY—Possessing no particular proficiencies or training whatsoever, local 12-year-old Jessica Radloff was reportedly hired to babysit Hayley Carden, 7, this week based solely on her qualification of being older than the child she was asked to watch.

Total Weirdo Spends Mother’s Day At Cemetery

ST. MARYS, OH—Apparently content to hang around dead people rather than celebrate like a normal person, area weirdo John Mills spent most of Mother’s Day at a local cemetery, creeped-out sources confirmed.

Child Visiting Ellis Island Sees Where Grandparents Once Toured

ELLIS ISLAND, NY—Pausing to imagine the throngs of people who must have arrived with them that day back in 1994, 12-year-old Max Bertrand reportedly spent his visit to Ellis Island this afternoon walking around the same immigrant station his grandparents once toured.

Email From Mom Sent At 5:32 A.M.

DENVER—After waking up and finding the message waiting on his computer, local man Drew Swanson confirmed to reporters Thursday that his mother had sent him an email at 5:32 a.m.

Man Proud Of Food He Ordered

DEDHAM, MA—Noting how the man grinned with satisfaction after his Buffalo Chicken Ranch sandwich with a side of spiced panko onion rings arrived at his table, sources at Chili’s Grill & Bar confirmed Tuesday that local diner Matt Schoesse ...

Fast Food Drive-Thru Just Cow Carcass, Bucket For Money

VENTURA, CA—Calling it the ultimate combination of freshness, value, and convenience, local fast food chain Sunshine Burger announced that, beginning this week, its regular drive-thru windows would be replaced by a cow carcass and a bucket for money...

Oh God, Teacher Arranged Desks In Giant Circle

OVERLAND PARK, KS—Appearing stunned and unsettled as they entered her classroom Wednesday, students from Ms. Frederickson’s fourth-period social studies class were reportedly overcome with panic 

Disgusting Couple Always Interacting In Public

MINNEAPOLIS—Saying the pair was making everyone nearby feel uncomfortable, onlookers stated Wednesday they were disgusted by local couple Tyler Meacham and Caitlyn Ashford’s habit of interacting in public.
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Tennessee Helpless Against New Basement Tornadoes

MEMPHIS, TN—Officials from the National Weather Service issued a severe weather alert for all basements in Tennessee Tuesday after a deadly new weather phenomenon ravaged scores of residential downstairs areas, leaving every other part of the houses completely untouched. The recently discovered targeted cyclones, known as basement tornadoes, tore through cellars all over the state, killing dozens and injuring hundreds.

Calling the recent devastation the worst indoor weather event in U.S. history, weather service director Dr. John L. Hayes said that millions of residents who have for years been taught to seek shelter from twisters by taking refuge in their homes will have to drastically adjust long-held assumptions about tornado safety and preparedness.

A homeowner searches in vain for a moving box full of old halloween costumes.

"If there is a violently rotating column of air in your basement, do not go downstairs," Hayes said. "Wait in an attic or at the top of a stairwell. If possible, find shelter in a structure lacking any kind of subterranean open space at all, such as a mobile home."

"Unless, of course, regular tornadoes are sighted in the area, in which case you should immediately get to your basement, provided you have one," Hayes added.

Meteorologists have measured the spiraling basement winds at speeds of up to 200 mph—powerful enough in some cases to drive a box of dryer sheets six inches into solid concrete. In all, the cyclones have caused hundreds of dollars in property damage by toppling artificial Christmas trees, smashing jars of fruit preserves, and overturning ping-pong tables.

Doppler radar shows how basement tornadoes form just over the foosball table in this Knoxville-area cellar.

"Some people lost their entire basements," said Knoxville-area relief worker Dan Weiss, who personally observed a dozen rec rooms that were completely destroyed, and a half-dozen more that might have been destroyed, though it was difficult to say for sure. "Everything they had ever stored was suddenly lost. So much extra stuff gone to waste."

Using Doppler radar, interior satellites, and computer models, researchers have determined that basement tornadoes form when warm dank air collides with a cool dry draft, creating a significant drop in pressure, and causing wind velocity to increase and whirl in a vortex of dust, debris, and cobwebs. Predicting where and when a basement tornado will strike is challenging, however, because they seem to jump from cellar to cellar by traveling through sump pumps.

"All we can say for certain is that unfinished basements are twice as likely to develop tornadoes," said Allan Boyer, a controlled meteorogist at the National Storm Prediction Center in Norman, OK. "Also, when residents leave their washing machines and dryers running it creates the ideal environment for tornadoes, because of the extra spinningness it causes in the air."

The NSPC has developed a scale for ranking the intensity of basement tornadoes with the lowest rating, B0, only causing mild shag-carpet disturbances, and the highest, B5, capable of destroying workbenches and water heaters. According to NSPC statistics, independent-minded siblings between the ages of 16 and 19 who always want to be alone are most likely to be injured by basement tornadoes. The second highest at-risk group is families huddling in basements waiting for normal tornadoes to pass.

The outbreak of basement tornadoes has also raised a slew of privacy issues, pitting so-called storm hunters against homeowners, since those who study the deadly new phenomenon say they must gain access to private residences to be able to set up their equipment and observe the storms. Angry residents have already forced dozens of researchers camping in their cellars out of their homes, and at least two have been shot at or violently assaulted for peering through basement windows.

While the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the NWS have been working together to develop new nationwide evacuation guidelines, officials say it is a complicated process.

"Even if a storm warning goes into effect hours before a tornado strikes, we caution citizens against attempting to flee the area in automobiles, since this will dramatically increase their chances of being severely injured or killed by car tornadoes," FEMA administrator R. David Paulison said. "This could shape up to be the worst development in natural disasters since the 2003 spate of earthquakes that struck directly under doorways and large desks."