I don’t carry a digital camera with me, unfortunately, and don’t have one in my phone because they’re not permitted at my office. So I couldn’t record in any way the tornado I saw today just north of my house.
As you crest a hill on the main road leading to my subdivision, there is a small field on the left, roughly 10 or 15 acres, which sits off the north side of the road. When I came over the hill, I saw directly ahead of me some wispy pale grey moisture which contrasted starkly with the dark gray-green skies overhead. The wisps were drifting upward at an angle, and as I watched they began to rotate somewhat. This was not the tornado.
I was not really happy about being on the road, but there aren’t many choices for places to stop and take cover, and other than the wisps, I saw no sign of cloud rotation. I also didn’t hear the rumbling or roaring that tends to presage a tornado’s appearance. Nevertheless, I pulled into the 7-Eleven near our subdivision, figuring that if there was a true emergency I could seek cover inside the squat brick building.
When I looked across the cornfield as I pulled into the parking lot, I saw, just a mile or two north, a large dark area where several funnel clouds were forming. Fortunately, the system was moving north, as the radio warnings had confirmed during my drive. I watched in awe as I saw the huge gyrating mass of cloud, until the funnels were no longer visible over a ridge of trees.
Apparently the tornado activity has been very serious throughout the area this evening, and as I listen to a local radio station via Internet stream, it seems that the line of severe weather is not calming as it moves north. Thankfully everybody at home, my family, and my colleagues at work are all fine.