Tornadoes in Kansas
Kansas is known for many things -- wheat, sunflowers ... and tornadoes! What famous story set in Kansas features a tornado?
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, by L. Frank Baum, tells the story of Dorothy, who gets caught in a Kansas tornado and lands in the imaginary land of Oz. This story has been dramatized on stage and film. You might have seen the movie version, which stars Judy Garland as Dorothy.
Tornadoes are storms with rapidly rotating winds that form a funnel cloud. Also known as "twisters," they extend downward from the huge clouds of a severe thunderstorm. The winds that rotate within a tornado usually reach a speed of almost 300 miles per hour! A tornado often sweeps through an area quickly, but it can cause considerable destruction. There have been a number of remarkable reports of tornadoes. In one instance, a schoolhouse was demolished while the 85 students originally inside it were carried more than 400 feet with none killed. There was also a case of five railway coaches, each weighing 70 tons, lifted from their tracks.
The Port of Portland, Maine
Would you ever guess that the closest U.S. port city to Europe is in Maine? Well, it is.
The coastline of Maine totals about 3,500 miles and consists of sandy beaches, peninsulas, islands, inlets, bays, coves and harbors. Portland Harbor is one of many harbors on the Maine coast. The city was built on two hilly peninsulas overlooking Casco Bay. The harbor became a major shipbuilding and mast building center in the 18th century. By 1806, Portland ranked as the sixth largest port in the country. Its success made it a target for attack by the British during the War of 1812 and by the Confederates during the Civil War. Portland was also a target for German U-boats, or submarines, during World War I. It was rated the most important harbor in the continental U.S. during World War II, since it was the closest one to Europe. The coastline and islands of Casco Bay were ringed with artillery bunkers on the alert for submarines. Some fishermen and divers claim that there are sunken German U-boats somewhere in Casco Bay.