I warned them that I get irrationally excited about this stuff, so beware, and both classes laughed. Better to weird them out on the first day of class than save it for later. And I did get excited. And it was excitement, more than anything else, when my students didn't know where New Madrid was--or who Mitch McConnell is. Ah, the field is wide open! Much learning will happen! (I also gave them my standard speech about checking the news as they left.)
In addition to our Moodle site, I pulled up the spectacular maps by John Nelson of tornado tracks over the last 56 years and left that on the projector as we went through the general First Day of Class housekeeping. (I'm also fond of his other maps, so you should definitely follow the links to see them. Gorgeous.)
But then as I scrolled through the F0, the F1, F2, F3, F4, and then stopped on the F5 map, I asked them what they saw.
And then I made circling motions around the northernmost line, that horizontal line that crosses the North Dakota-Minnesota border, and somebody said it: that looks close to here. I nodded. That's Fargo, I said. Something sparked behind their eyes--they were not expecting that. Fargo was the tornado (system, as it was a supercell system) that provoked Dr. Theodore Fujita into creating his scale of measuring tornados--and that 1957 Fargo tornado was an F5.