I was left in complete awe and shock when I heard about the EF5 “El Reno” tornado on Friday with wind speeds reaching 295 mph. It is also the widest tornado ever recorded at 2.6 miles wide according to the National Weather Service. The actual mesocyclone, the parent storm above the massive tornado, was at least 4 miles wide. It was a churning machine that was moving at an average of 25 to 35 mph and accelerated to 40 to 45 mph, after making an unexpected 120 degree turn northeast on Highway 81 according to Tony Laubach who was storm chasing that day (Read More).
What is interesting and shocking about this storm, not only was the widest tornado ever recorded, several large tornadoes touched down every few seconds according to the radar. Meteorologist Mike Nelson described this phenomenon similar to an octopus that had many tentacles surrounding the storm.
This Youtube video captured both awe inspiring and frightening moments these storm chaser’s had with this storm.
A few Meteorologists died in this storm, who were known for their tornado research. They were caught off guard when the tornado switched directions suddenly. One was Tim Samaras who dedicated his life to tornado research, which resulted in new discoveries about tornadoes that will impact the Meteorological field for years to come. He was the safest storm chaser I knew about. He would encourage storm chasers to stop and help people when they saw tornado destruction, and usually would be the first responders to help. My prayers and condolences go out to their families.
While this storm is astonishing and appalling at the same time, it is the Year of Faith for the Catholic Church. As big as this storm is, God is much bigger.
Through this year of faith, it seems we have witnessed a few catastrophic events and rare phenomenon’s. There are numerous possibilities why this could be. Either we are more connected with the rest of world more than ever because of social media, or because these events are happening to test our faith.
Our faith can feel tested because the more destructive things happen, the more questions I personally have for God, such as “How can this happen?!?!” I wrestle with my faith as I search for answers to explain why these things are happening.
Do you feel that events like these can bring you closer to God or further away? Honestly, science has always brought me closer to God because I always have another question until there are no other answers, I am always lead back to God.
For example, How is a tornado formed? Scientists and Meteorologists are still wrestling with the fact, we do not know exactly how a tornado is formed in some storms and not in others, even when the same ingredients are present in similar storms.
The church is very pro science as we have seen through many Catholic Scientists, Georgius Agricola who is the Father of Geology, Nicolas Steno a Catholic convert who was a pioneer in Anatomy and Geology, Galileo Galilei and Nicolaus Copernicus just to name a few.
If you want to learn more about faith and reason I suggest listening to what Fr. Spitzer has to say. I have heard his homilies and let me tell you he is great at explaining the science within the faith.
Pope John Paul II wrote that “Faith and reason are like two wings on which the human spirit rises to the contemplation of truth.”