Into the Storm: A Review (Sort of)

Into the Storm

I watched Into the Storm Friday night in Huntsville, Alabama.

There has been a lot of criticism online about the science in Into the Storm. I do not get that criticism. If you want accurate science then watch a documentary on The Science Channel. To the critics of the science, you do realize you are watching a work of fiction, right? It’s called fiction because it’s NOT MOTHERFUCKING REAL!!!!

20140809aTo be fair, there was some accurate science in the movie (perhaps 60% or so) and some relatively accurate scenes. But again, that is irrelevant because it’s a work of fiction, as in not reality.

The cast of the movie is almost all unknown actors and actresses, except Rick’s Wife. You know, Rick’s Wife, from The Walking Dead. It’s hard to really say she’s known since everyone knows her as Rick’s Wife from The Walking Dead, who is dead and no longer on the series. She doesn’t even appear as a figment of Rick’s imagination anymore. However, given that she is an experienced actress, she did do the best acting.

Essentially this movie plays like a SyFy Original, but better than a SyFy Original. This isn’t Sharknado or Megaduck Versus Platysharktocrock. It plays like a SyFy Original because it’s all unknown actors, and you know it pretty quickly. However, that’s not really meant to be a knock of the movie: all the unknown actors do a pretty decent job. For example, when the kids are making the video before they’re about to drown, you’ll actually well up a bit if you have any decent about of humanity in you. That scene is in the trailer, so I didn’t spoil anything, so quit being a weenie and shut up.

The CGI of the tornadoes is really good. It’s so good that I have to wonder if someone didn’t invent the software for CGI tornadoes and then someone decided to make a movie around the CGI instead of the other way around. When you have this new awesome CGI effect, you have to show it off and up the ante a bit, so the tornado goes through fire and creates a firenado, which is really beautiful and looked very similar to an actual fire whirl. That also means you have to put multiple tornadoes on the ground at once, but to do that you have to violate the science and have four of them in close proximity for camera view, and science criticism begins in 3… 2… 1… (Oh shut up, you purist, and just enjoy the show). Although I have to admit, I’m still trying to figure out why this small town in Oklahoma had a major international airport with giant airplanes that could be swept into the air and explode… but I forgave them of that because it was awesome (no spoilers, that was in the trailer to you big baby).

20140809bThe movie has its funny moments and comic relief where needed (especially the redneck chasers). Most of it is timed well, some of it not, but that’s actually more than can be said about most movies that try to inject humor into drama and action.

The bottom line is that I was entertained and enjoyed myself. Maybe more so because I’m a storm chaser and likely injected a bit of confirmation bias during my viewing of it (yes, I wore my Alabama Storm Chasers t-shirt to the screening). If you want to see action, shit blow up, tornadoes, cars and buildings fly and get torn apart, and really good special effects, then watch this movie. If you’re a scientific purist who freaks out when anything is wrong in a work of MOTHERFUCKING FICTION, then you should stay home and lock yourself in your room to be safe from the real world and all forms of entertainment that violate physics. We’ll all be better off for it.

I give Into the Storm 3 out of 5 stars.






Watch the trailer:

BWAHAHA: 7/19 – 7/25

BWAHAHA (Blair’s Week Attempts at Haha’s) 7/19 – 7/25: I wish I could chase storms full time, but chasing doesn’t pay the bills. Well, it could pay the bills after putting tons of effort into it, but that would mean leaving my full time job in order to do it, and thus being a starving storm chaser until I started making a few measly bucks off of it. So what I need is to win the lottery and spend all my money going around chasing storms and enjoying nature. Someone asked me the other day if I was afraid to die in a tornado and I replied, “I’ll die with a giant smile on my face as I meet it face-to-face.”

I got introduced this week to @midnight (Chris Hardwick @Nerdist) thanks to a few local comedians in Huntsville. I played along one night and had fun, so I think I’ll be doing it more often, even if it’s the day afterward because my tired ass went to bed fore @midnight. I got a chance to watch the show Friday online and really enjoyed it. You should definitely check it out!


The #RedstoneArsenal #WeatherDome continues to protect Huntsville! #ConfirmationBias #SillyConspiracies #alwx



“Oh my god Buzz, look at her butt!” – Neil Armstrong #WorseMoonLandingQuotes @midnight

“Hey Neil, look! We’re on the moon… over Miami!” – Buzz Aldrin #WorseMoonLandingQuotes @midnight

“Hey Buzz, put Dark Side of the Moon on your MP3 player!” – Neil Armstrong #WorseMoonLandingQuotes @midnight

“You know they’re gonna say we faked this, right?” – Buzz Aldrin #WorseMoonLandingQuotes @midnight

“Your momma is so fat, I can still see her!” #WorseMoonLandingQuotes @midnight

“They fuck you in the drive-thru!” #WorseMoonLandingQuotes @midnight

“I’m not the man they think I am at home, Oh no no no I’m a rocket man.” #WorseMoonLandingQuotes @midnight

“We could have been saved tons of money if we’d used a cannon like in Le Voyage dans la Lune?” – NASA #WorseMoonLandingQuotes @midnight

“Tower, this is Apollo requesting a flyby.” “Negative, Apollo, the moon is full.” #WorseMoonLandingQuotes @midnight

“Symmetrical moon rock stacking. Just like the Philadelphia mass turbulence of 1947.” #WorseMoonLandingQuotes @midnight


Angus didn’t know mesh shirts were against the law, but he damn sure wasn’t going to jail for it.


20140428: Storms & Tornadoes #ALWX

On April 28th, 2014, storms came through north Alabama and dropped a few tornadoes. We were waiting on the tornado coming into Hazel Green. Our radar went down and we were going on visual only. Visually, we noticed the line was coming in a bit further south than our last radar indication and quickly moved south. We only made it a few blocks before the tornado was on top of us. Luckily, we were on the south wall and able to position the car so that any debris would hit the back of the vehicle and not our side. Unfortunately, the video from inside the tornado does not exist. I thought that in our scramble to get in the car and get to a safe area, we knocked the power cable out of the dashcam, but upon reviewing the video, it is clear that I knocked the power cable out when I was re-positioning the dashcam to look forward again. I was excited about having video from inside the tornado only to be greatly disappointed when I got home and realized my mistake. The video stopped didn’t start back up again until after Fire & Rescue were on scene for the damaged buildings.

The building we were parked in front of originally had been destroyed. Had we remained where we were at, bricks and chairs and other debris would have been thrown into our car and we would have been at clearly what was the worst winds of the tornado. The tornado took down trees and did minor damage to the houses we were in front of, destroyed the building we were initially in front of and continued to do damage across the northern Hazel Green area and into Tennessee.

I finally got around to editing the video from the day, so here it is:

Here are some pics from the chase (you can click on the smaller image to see the full-size image):

Heading north into New Market, AL to chase the oncoming system.

Heading north into New Market, AL to chase the oncoming system.






Close call!

Close call!





This is the building we were parked in front of before we realized we were too far north:








We continued to drive south and took a few more shots of lightning:







Catching Up: 20120302 Buckhorn High School Tornado Damage

Continuing the catching up series of old weather photographs. Click on any image to see the full size.

On March 2nd, 2012 a tornado went through north Alabama and hit Buckhorn High School’s west side, taking out the teacher’s parking lot, ROTC building, and damaging much more. It also hit a subdivision west of the school and took out a farm across the street from the school. My daughter, being a science enthusiast like myself, watched the tornado come in and then when it got close ran back into the hallways to take shelter.

When I arrived at the school to find my daughter, I entered a dark and wet hallway with the sound of kids crying and a few screaming. Several students I knew came up to me and begged me to take them home, but the rules forbid doing such. It was heartbreaking having to leave them cowered and cuddled among each other in wet clothes in the dark, but I had no choice. Once I found my daughter we went outside and took pictures of the damage.

CNN got a hold of my pictures and asked us for an interview. While my daughter and I focused on the science of weather, CNN wanted drama, and what they focused on was the paragraph above: searching through the huddled masses of weeping children trying to find my daughter. When the final piece came out on CNN, my daughter and I were disgusted at the drama they created and the way the story was written. I’ll include the piece below so you can see just how horrible it was. The title of their “article” was In Alabama, frightened students huddle as tornado approaches. It amazes me how the news has gone from news to fluff pieces. Not once did I say I had a lump in my throat or that my heart skipped a few beats. But hey, journalism at its finest, right?

20120302 – CNN – In Alabama, frightened students huddle as tornado approaches

(CNN) — Shortly after 10 a.m. Blair Scott sent a text to his daughter Rose, a junior at Buckhorn High School in northeast Huntsville. He could feel the lump in his throat as he warned her: You have three minutes to get to a safe place.

The twister was hurtling straight toward her.

It was one of two apparent tornadoes that ripped through the area Friday.

Scott jumped in his car and furiously drove the three miles from his home to the school. The speedometer said 80. In his read view mirror, he could see four police cars. But they weren’t chasing him. They were also charging towards to the school and the sitting targets within.

Scott arrived to a surreal scene wrought by the fury of the storm.

His heart skipped a few beats. He was one of thousands of Americans unnerved Friday by a swath of severe weather that extended from Alabama to Indiana.

Inside the school, it was hot, damp and dark — the power was out. The staff had gone into storm mode at about 8:45 in the morning, huddling the students in the safest place of all, the hallway, Scott said.

Rose was huddled with her classmates. She could feel her frightened friend’s clawing into her arm. Everyone knew the tornado coming their way, like a killer approaching a helpless victim. Everyone was terrified.

Rose was 20 feet away from the door and could feel the wind forcing its way underneath. It was so strong that even through the cracks, it made her hair fly.

“We didn’t know if it was going to bust open at any minute,” she said.

Signs outside were blowing; trees bending.

Suddenly, it became sunny. The wind went one way one minute and another, the next. Then, it began raining. Hard.

The pressure changed and got so bad it made Rose’s ears hurt. She got low to the floor.

A large trash bin flew through the air. Where once there had been tall oaks, there was nothing. They were horizontal with the earth and Rose could see the house that used to be hidden by vegetation across the street.

When it was over, teachers screamed as they saw their wrecked cars, the building’s windows shattered and part of the roof in the parking lot.

Similar storms ripped through the Huntsville area about a year ago. Students, teachers and parents all had their memories. Rose had even chased tornadoes with her dad — both father and daughter are fascinated with science and meteorology.

But she had never lived through a tornado before. Now she knew what it felt like.

“It was a whole different experience,” she said. “I couldn’t even text. My hands were shaking so bad.”

Many of the students were trying to call their moms and dads but cell phone service was sketchy.

She was relieved to see her father when he arrived at the school.

Scott said his daughter’s friends pleaded with him. “Please, Mr. Scott,” they said. “Take us home.”

But he couldn’t. School policy forbade it so that all the students could be accounted for.

“It was heartbreaking,” he said. “It was horrible in there. They were so scared and apprehensive.”

Scott felt incredibly lucky that everyone he loved was alright. He took his daughter home and passed the rest of the day under a tornado watch.


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Catching Up: 20110427 Alabama Tornadoes

Continuing the catching up series of old photos. Click on any photo to see the full size image.

April 27, 2011 is a date everyone in Alabama remembers. Alabama was ravaged by tornadoes. I ended up being a couple of blocks away from one of the tornadoes that hit north of Huntsville. I was able to capture some of the damage done to the area after the tornado went through. I’ll also post a link to the video I made that day where I tried to capture the video. Unfortunately it was rain-wrapped and not visible in the video, but the winds were powerful enough to almost knock me down the sidewalk, forcing me to take cover behind a brick pillar. We spent the next two weeks in darkness, living in the garage with a camp stove and using the car to charge our cell phones.

When the second wave came through, we sat in the car and video-taped the amazing lightning. Some of the pictures are stills from the video (I’ve since upgraded to a much better video camera, so I apologize for the crappy quality of the video stills).

Video from that day:

20110427 Tornadoes & Lightning:

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