|Photo: Cate Eighmey|
This story -- surprising as it is to those outside Tornado Alley -- is an example of how accustomed people can become to the physical and human geography of their home regions. The groom's mother, for example, explained that she was not worried, not only because of the evident distance of the tornadoes, but also because they were "moving to the northeast." Her reaction reflects something else about the geography of much of the United States outside of the original thirteen colonies: because most roads follow the township and range system, people usually know what direction they are looking. In Kansas, with very low relief (flat land) and very few trees, a person can easily visualize an area of a hundred square miles or more.
Of course, tornadoes are by far the most dangerous kinds of storms, and those shown in these wedding photos did do a lot of property damage. But in this location (about 180 miles to the east of the home of Dorothy and Toto), they are also a part of the landscape that is only noticed when it is a direct threat.