It was a dark and stormy … day.
The kind of a day that the weather alert radio in the office started going off about 10:00 in the morning, continued pretty much all day. A whole host of severe thunderstorm watches and warnings, tornado watches and warnings, marine warnings offshore. Kevin probably ran to the rack room 30 times today. And even when there was a lull, we knew there was more to come.
It’s still raining off and on, 9 hours later.
The worst of the damage seems to be over by lake city, where a tornado touched down and lifted up a manufactured home … tipping it up on it’s side. I don’t have pictures to post of that, but might find something to link to later. There were apparently two fatalities in the storm, and a lot of damage. As much as I’d like to, I think the local officials might take a dim view of my heading over that way with my camera tomorrow.
While the really rough stuff is supposed to be out of here by tomorrow, the ubiquitous “they” say tomorrow will be chilly, high in the low 50’s, and blowing 25 with gusts to 40 mph.
Living in Indiana, we were no strangers to tornadoes, though they tended to be more common in April and May than March … though spring weather could be rough any time. I recall one year just before spring break, a cluster of tornadoes ripped through southern Indiana. They’re still called the Easter Tornadoes. Our Explorer Post had planned a camping trip to the Great Smokey Mountains, and we were driving down through the area where they’d gone through just a few days earlier. I still can see in my mind’s eye see the path the storm had ripped through the woods. Big hardwood trees uprooted, laid over, snapped like matchsticks. Barns and buildings torn to shreds. We drove through that area pretty quietly, as I recall.
Here at the beach, things were not as rough. Plenty of rain and nothing worse, which is fine.
The power of moving air is simply amazing. While I’ve never experienced a tornado, we did have a microburst on our property when we lived in Ohio. We weren’t there for the storm, but we returned from a weekend away to find absolute carnage around the house. Fortunately, with the straight line winds of a microburst, and not the sustained rotation of a tornado, the house wasn’t damaged. But there were, as I recall, 27 trees knocked down or damaged on our 6 1/2 acres, and a huge sycamore limb in the pool. The worst damage was to the shed, where the dog lived, but she was OK. A microburst is basically tornadic force winds, but without the rotation of a tornado. Air pours down from a thunderstorm, and starts to flatten out as it comes to proximity to the ground. It’s a very quick event, and can be very destructive. In some ways, I wish we’d have been home during the storm that caused the damage. In others, I’ve very glad we were a couple of hundred miles away.
I’ve also never experienced a hurricane, though when the tropical storms of 2004 blew through the area, I’m sure we experienced wind gusts of hurricane strength. Lots of trees down, our privacy fence was about half blown down, which was better than some of the neighbors, but the power was only off here at the beach for about 8 hours. Still, you don’t think about how solid air can be until it’s blowing 60 – 300 miles per hour and comes up against something it can knock down. At that, it seems to be very, very effective.