Tornado Squad.com...The Story
Tornado Squad.com was founded in early 2009 by Pat McKenna, president of MojoWeb Productions in Milwaukee Wisconsin.
The F-4 approaching Madison, Indiana, April 3, 1974.
But that's only half the story behind the site.
"When I was eight, my family was living in Madison, Indiana when a killer tornado hit the city on April 3, 1974, McKenna said. "It was one of the most frightening and mystical events that I've ever experienced."
That tornado, an F-4, claimed 17 lives in Madison and its sister city Hanover that fateful day, and leveled almost every neighborhood in the rural community with over $50 million in property damage.
"I remember getting off the bus from school that afternoon," McKenna recalls, "and the air was dead calm, the skies an eery green. It was almost as if something strange --something bad -- was about to happen."
Less than an hour later he and his mother, brother and a neighborhood toddler were huddled under the family's grand piano, listening in fear to the roar of the tornado as it cut a swath across the golf course along side their house. In an incredible twist of fate, and despite baseball sized hail, the house only sustained a single broken window and shingle damage.
Others were less fortunate. The roof of a home, less than half a mile away, literally exploded. Other homes were either torn in half, blown away or surprisingly left in tact. Under the local newspaper's banner headline about the event, a photo showed a house that was blown off of its foundation, except for the bathroom where a family huddled in fear.
"I remember that picture to this day, "McKenna reflected. "In fact, anytime I encounter an atheist, I'm quick to tell the story to prove the existence of God!"
Thirty-four years later, McKenna's fascination with tornados was rekindled by the appearance of tornado chasers, running like hell to catch a glimpse of the same size tornado that hit Madison. Not long after, McKenna started Tornado Squad.com.
"I found it truly remarkable that the Net's tornado resources were just scattered around with no centralized portal for accessing them," McKenna said from his office in St. Petersburg, Florida "It seemed important to at least get safety information all in one place, but also to make the site intriguing tornado enthusiasts with You Tube videos, chaser blogs, breathtaking photos and other sites of interests."
He also hopes the site also sparks interest among the chasing community.
"I think once Chasers realize that the site is a truly comprehensive resource, we'll be able to introduce other technologies and commentary that defines Tornado Squad.com as the destination for them as well."