Chasing a tornado - Part 1

Dazel was feeling restless and it was a cause of alarm for her friends. Din Din and Delma knew what this restlessness meant and they did their best to try and distract her with a myriad of activities.

"How about a picnic this weekend?" suggested Din Din.

"Picnics are boring," remarked Dazel with a dismissive gesture of her bright wing.

"How about going to visit the reefs with me?" quipped in Delma. "No, I've seen them," said Dazel. "I want to do something...something ...adventurous!" the duck explained.

Din Din and Delma exchanged a look. They knew Dazel was itching for an escapade and an adventure invariably meant that she got herself into trouble.

Just then a strong gust of wind blew, nearly disbalancing the duck who stood on the lake's edge.

"Olly the octopus was saying that a tornado might be approaching," remarked Delma, looking at the greyish green evening sky. "It's been so windy all morning."

"Really?" cried Dazel, her bright eyes sparkling. "I've never seen a tornado!"

"Uh-oh!" Delma thought to herself. "Have I planted the wrong idea in Dazel's head?"

Din Din also looked alarmed.

"You know, wouldn't it be exciting to chase a tornado!" Dazel continued, oblivious to her friends' dread.

"Dazel!" groaned Din Din, "Why? Why do you go looking for trouble? Despite all the lessons you have learnt from the past. Remember the time you wanted to see the snow on the mountains? We nearly lost you out there, Dazel!"

"I know...I remember it all. Very clearly and the way you and Swain the swan risked your life to save me," Dazel said, lowering her feathered yellow head.

"Adventure calls to me! I can't explain it. Call it whatever — curiosity, adventure, scientific investigation — I just need to do something worthwhile. This stagnant routine drives me mad," sighed Dazel. Din Din and Delma nearly felt sorry for their duck friend.

"What do you have in mind?" said Delma, almost afraid to ask.

Dazel's eyes lit up. "We learnt in school that tornadoes are associated with large thunderstorms... they are like long spinning columns of warm humid air which begin to rise very quickly."

Has a tornado ever hit D'Land?" asked Din Din. "It sounds pretty violent."

"Let's go ask Wiz Rooster! Today is Saturday he must be relatively free," leapt up Dazel eagerly.

A reluctant Din Din followed Dazel towards the Aviary School where Wiz Rooster lived. But not before Delma had whispered to Din Din, "Please try to talk her out of this mad adventure."

"I'll try but you know how she gets. Maybe there will be no tornado to chase. It's better we support her and try to be with her so that she can be rescued if she gets herself into trouble again," replied the dinosaur fervently.

When Dazel and Din Din reached Wiz Rooster's home, the wise old bird seemed pleased to see them. "It has been a long time since you both came to me for a personal reason. Come, do sit down," the rooster said with a gesture of one white wing.

"I hear there's a tornado approaching!" blurted out Dazel unable to control herself. "Has there been a tornado in D'Land before?"

Wiz Rooster began to look wary. He cast a glance at Din Din. All the dinosaur could do was shrug apologetically. "As a matter of fact, Dazel there have been tornadoes in D'Land but all of them have been 'weak' tornadoes, thankfully, lasting between 1-10 minutes and with a speed of 110 miles per hour. Also, they have been seen in the dry flat terrain near the outskirts of D'Land, so we haven't had to bear the brunt of them."

"How is a tornado formed?" Din Din couldn't help but ask. He wanted to get his facts right and be prepared.

"A tornado is a violent rotating column of air extending from a thunderstorm to the ground. It is created when warm, moist air and cool, dry air meet to create instability in the atmosphere. A funnel cloud is the starting point of a tornado. It is a rotating cone-shaped column of air extending downward from the base of a thunderstorm, but not touching the ground. When it reaches the ground, it is called a tornado," explained Wiz Rooster patiently. "A change in wind direction and an increase in wind speed with increasing height creates an invisible, horizontal spinning effect in the lower atmosphere."

"I've seen pictures of tornadoes in books in the Aviary School library. Tornadoes seem to move so fast and I want to chase one," explained Dazel animatedly.

Dazel," said Wiz Rooster, choosing his words carefully. He knew Dazel too well. "A tornado can uproot the strongest of trees and hurl things hundreds of yards away. Tornadoes that are truly violent in nature can last upto an hour and have a speed of something near 205 miles per hour."

Wiz Rooster's words seemed to burst Dazel's bubble. "Oh! I see," the duck replied.

"Who told you that a tornado was approaching?" Wiz Rooster asked. "It was Delma. Olly the Octopus mentioned it to her in school yesterday," remarked Din Din visibly relaxing when he saw Dazel finally behaving reasonably.

Wiz Rooster looked up at the evening sky and frowned. "See that greenish colour of those clouds..."

Din Din and Dazel gazed up.

"'s a tornado approaching! Let's just hope it's a weak one!" said Wiz Rooster grimly.

End of part 1

The Adventures of D'Land
Animated Series

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