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Highest-ever tornado discovered

Allen BestVail, CO Colorado

JACKSON HOLE, Wyo. If youre out for one-upping somebody at a mountain town cocktail party, this item surely will be a mind twister, so to speak.In 1987, a 1.6-mile wide tornado carved a 24-mile path across the Continental Divide in the Teton Wilderness before entering Yellowstone National Park.The tornado lasted an about 25 minutes, felling a million trees with winds of 207 m.p.h. to 260 m.p.h. The Jackson Hole News&Guide says that tornado sent a backcountry ranger and his horse skittering for safety in a meadow two miles away.With trees damaged to an elevation of 10,070 feet, it was believed to be the highest tornado ever recorded in the world.But it has been surpassed. The News&Guide tells of new information about a tornado observed on July 7, 2004, in Californias Sequoia National Park. A backpacker, Scott Newton, photographed a twister as it formed over Rockwell Pass. It touched down at an elevation of about 11,500 feet.

TRUCKEE, Calif. The Sierra Sun reports a most unusual, maybe even unique, occurrence. A black bear was on the road of a bridge near Donner Summit on Saturday afternoon. Oncoming traffic blocked the bears route, so it hopped the guard rail, then became trapped on the concrete girders below, with no way to safety. Below it was 80 feet to a gorge strewn with granite boulders.Rescuers bought a 20- by 40-foot nylon net from an Army surplus store and then, assisted by rock and tree climbers, strung the orange cargo mesh beneath the bridge. They shot the bear with a tranquilizer dart and then nudged it off the ledge.The net was then lowered to the ground, and the groggy bear staggered out as 100 spectators lining the road cheered.

THE WEST Has this trend toward ever-bigger houses reached its peak and begun a downward fall? That was the report from an architect in Park City last year, and now, The Wall Street Journal reports its a national trend. The median size in the second quarter of this year fell to 2,241 square feet after reaching a near record of 2,301. Analysts think a broader decline may be in the offing. The newspaper notes that the average size of homes had increased 45 percent in the last three decades even as the average family size has shrunk.


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