If you live in the Midwest you can probably relate. Since about last Friday we’ve seen round after round of severe weather. Tornadoes, 90 mph straight line winds, and large hail. Of course, just one storm wasn’t enough. Instead, we had to get hammered with an incredible storm last Friday evening only to get hit again on Wednesday night. Most of the people who got hit by the first storm barely got their power back on before the next one came through and knocked it out again. Some have been without power for a week now. Thankfully, we only suffered a brief outage, but didn’t escape the wrath of the storms.
One day I was driving home and encountered a brief heavy rain shower. I didn’t think much of it until I popped through the other side of the rain and saw what appeared to be a class wall cloud. For those of you who might not understand what that means, it’s basically the telltale sign that a storm has rotation and often the precursor of a tornado. Well, as a Skywarn storm spotter I got really excited. We just don’t get a lot of the classic tornadic storms around here like you see further west. So, my first instinct was to chase it down.
Here’s the wall cloud from a distance of a few miles:
I had to backtrack a bit since I needed to get back ahead of the storm but that can be pretty hard to do in the middle of nowhere with only a few rural farm roads here and there. Fortunately, I was able to catch up and get really close to it as the funnel cloud began to form and drop down. Unfortunately, I got blocked by a dead end road and the trees obscured my view and that was about as close as I could get.
It was still pretty exciting! But what wasn’t as exciting was the storm that came later in the week where our house did get hit by 70+ mph winds. The whole house was shaking and most of our neighbors lost trees, some trees fell on houses, and it otherwise made a complete mess of the area:
If you ever wondered what it looks like to get hit with hurricane force winds check out the video I took when the storm rolled through. It went from completely calm to crazy in almost an instant. A few trees in that tree line got knocked over or snapped, but they happened off camera a bit. You can also see the flash of an exploding transformer in the second half of the clip. It was pretty wild, and as much as I like storms, I actually hope we don’t get anything like that again for a long time.
Ok, enough storm talk. On with this week’s links.
Choosing between Higher Education, Loans and Family – There are a lot of decisions to be made when it comes to getting an education. Things get even more complicated if you’re getting your education later in life and have a family to take care of.
8 Critical Steps Every Family Should Be Taking to Prepare for the Next Financial Crisis – Some would say we’re slowly clawing out of the most recent financial crisis, but you know what? It will happen again. The question is, will you be prepared next time?
The iPhone Sickness (2010 and Counting) – Steve isn’t hiding his feelings about Apple and points out many of the failings the new iPhone brings. You guys can have your iPhones. I’ll stick to my HTC Incredible phone.
Bill Includes New Student Loan Forgiveness Program – Student loans may be one of the next major collapses in our near future. More and more students are borrowing more money for school than they can afford to repay. Well, there may be some relief ahead.
Solo 401ks and SEP-IRAs: Which Wins for Me? – The self-employed have a number of retirement account options. So, Lazy Man walks through his options and tells you what is best for his situation. Maybe you can relate.
Paying For College: How To Reduce Student Debt – I just mentioned it above, but student loans are a big problem for many. If you do need to take on some debt to get through school you should at least follow some of these tips so you can keep it to a minimum.
5 Famous People Who Beat Bankruptcy – You probably know a few names of people who notoriously spent themselves into bankruptcy, but what about the success stories? A few famous people have done just that.
Gas Credit Cards Q&A – Gas cards can be nice because it allows you to pay for your gas right at the pump and earn cash back or rewards for doing so. But are they really such a great deal? Ben answers some common questions.
2010 Federal Tax Brackets â€’ Plan Now Before Itâ€™s Too Late – We’re already halfway through 2010 and that means in just a few short months we’ll be closing the books on the tax year once again. Don’t get caught by surprise. Here are the new rates for this year.
Market Timing Worksâ€¦ Just Not For You – You may have heard experts say that market timing doesn’t work and you should stick to buy and hold. Well, market timing does work. Just not for you!
Fed Issues New Rules for Credit Card Fees – Credit cards are still in the news and after some sweeping changes earlier this year it looks like there may be some new rules for fees as well. Are these good for the consumer?
Target Date Retirement Funds – I’ve written about target date funds a few times in the past. They make it easy to gain instant diversification, but come with a few pitfalls as well. Cash Money Life looks at the pros and cons of these funds.
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Filed Under: Friday Finance Findings
About the Author: Jeremy Vohwinkle is a Chartered Retirement Planning CounselorÂ® and spent a few years working as a financial planner. Today, he helps people make the most of their money by writing about personal finance here and elsewhere on the web. Jeremy is also Coach at Adaptu and a regular contributor for other publications such as Intuit, and American Express. Be sure to follow Jeremy on Twitter or Google+.