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The Tower of Amon Sūl
For the man sound in body and serene of mind
I have loved observing and studying the weather since I was a child. Growing up in Kansas City, Missouri, gave me plenty of opportunity to run to the basement many spring and summer nights as the tornado sirens sounded! Until 2009, I had only witnessed two live tornados, both from a safe distance.
The first time was during my senior year in high school, on the infamous afternoon of 3 April 1974, when I peered out the second-floor windows at home and watched a massive tornado (nearly half a mile wide as I watched it) pass less than five miles north of our home in Louisville, Kentucky (read more, pictures).
The second time was sixteen years later on 10 June 1991, when a tornado tracked eastward across I-25 a little north of Castle Pines North (Douglas County, Colorado). I was in an office building 3 or 4 miles to the north (near C-470) and could not see the base of the tornado since it was behind a ridge from my vantage point.
Eighteen years later, in 2009, I took a storm chasing tour (read more, pictures) and experienced the debris zone of a tornado! TWICE! We encountered the Novinger, Missouri, tornado about a mile southeast of town (about six miles west of Kirksville). We then headed east and encountered the Kirksville tornado (from the same supercell) several minutes later and about six miles east of Kirksville. Both tornadoes were rain-wrapped and difficult to see coming, and both times we found ourselves within a hundred yards of a tornado before realizing we needed to BACK UP (read more, pictures).
My interest in meteorology led me all the way to a M.S. Degree in Atmospheric Science at Colorado State University. Life has it's way of leading you down paths you never expected, however, and my profession of umpteen years has been (and still is) software engineering. Still, I have the heart of a meteorologist.
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The Tower of Amon Sūl
In the works of J. R. R. Tolkien, Weathertop (Sindarin Amon Sūl, "Hill of Wind") is a hill in the Eriador region of Middle-earth, the southernmost and highest summit of the Weather Hills. The hill itself is of great importance in the history of Middle-earth, as chronicled in The Lord of the Rings, since it was a major fortress of the kingdom of Arthedain, home to one of the seven palantķri, and the site of several battles. The Tower of Amon Sūl is a watch-tower on Weathertop Hill. It was once tall and fair, but by the end of the Third Age only ruins remained.