A Little Twist

27 May

Yesterday, my wife and I went walking.  Nothing new.  We’ve been exploring several paths around the area here.  But anyway, along our walk, I did notice the skies.  And how they were a-changing.

Bright, partly-cloudy skies turned to dark.

“Um, we might want to think about heading back.” I said as I itched a mosquito bite on my leg (those pesky mosquitoes).

So, we turned around on the trail and started walking at a faster pace back toward the car to get home.

At this point in time, nothing looked TOO threatening up in the sky.  You could just tell that something was on the way and it probably wouldn’t be pleasant to walk in.

We made it back to the car and took off.  As soon as we did, it started raining.  Like, really raining hard.  No biggie.

Everything seemed normal when we got home.  Yes, it was raining (not quite as bad as when we left the park trail).  I had some work to do and went into my studio to crank-out some cartoons.  But, that didn’t last.

We had the windows up in our apartment to let in the breeze that accompanied the cooler weather.  No rain was trickling in, so it was nice to shutoff the AC and enjoy something natural.

However, from my studio, I noticed it getting loud outside.

I went over to the window where my wife was.

The gentle breeze became not-so gentle.  In fact, it was getting pretty ugly outside (can something be pretty/ugly?).

We live in an apartment that overlooks a courtyard.  In the middle of the area, is a fountain.  Generally, the water spurts up.  Straight up.  However, as a few minutes passed and the wind increased, the fountain became more like a sprinkler.  I never saw it do that before.  Yes, it’s been windy here where we live and the water has gone other directions, but not like this.  It was literally flying in all directions (again, like a sprinkler).  I actually found it quite amusing.

Moments later, out of the sky, we saw a big white funnel appear.

I kind of rubbed my eyes for a moment.  “Is that….” I said.  “A tornado!”

It took me a second to grasp what was happening, because there were no sirens, no warnings on television – nothing.  The day seemed like a typical thunderstorm/windstorm starting off.  But, there was no mistaking that this was different.

Amazingly, we really didn’t panic.  We were fascinated more than anything.  Our cat, Tiger, was smart and took cover under the bed while we observed.

It started off slow.  We saw the sign of my favorite book store, Books & Co., get ripped off and fly across the street.

Then, we noticed the funnel whitening.  It was about 100 yards in front of our window.  Still, since we have never really seen a tornado in real life, we were second-guessing if it really was a tornado.

I don’t think this was smart, but we stood and watched instead of taking shelter.  That being said though, the wind was blowing northeast and it was very obvious it was heading that direction as well.  I didn’t feel like we were in danger.  I guess I feel like I have pretty good intuition with things and honestly felt safe.  But, still not sure this was a smart idea….

We saw it jet across the street and into a parking lot on the opposite side.  From there, we saw debris getting tossed up in the air.  There was no second-guessing it now.  This was DEFINITELY a tornado doing some damage.

My gym where I workout is across the street.  Normally, the time this all hit (about 5:15 PM) is when I drive over there.  However, I decided not to go yesterday because we did go walking (some good cardio) and thought I could use the time to get some other things done.  Plus, I was hungry and ready for dinner.

The gym is closed today due to damage.  I guess the roof got quite a bit taken out of it.

How about the aftermath?

It actually worked out in favor of everyone in the area.

A few cars were flipped, only a couple of minor injuries and nothing was completely ruined.  For a tornado, this was a pretty small one.  Small – but did do some damage.

Immediately after it went through, the skies became calm and my wife and I decided to go survey the path that it took through the area.

We walked out front and captured some of the following images.

IMG_0107

Above:  The Books & Co. sign that was now on the front step of The Pub – directly across the street.  I’m just glad I wasn’t purchasing a book at the time.

FullSizeRender

Above:  This is the parking lot directly across the street from us.  You can see a flipped over vehicle and, well, a dirty looking parking lot from debris and dirt.

FullSizeRender(2)Above:  More pictures from the parking lot.  This poor car had its hood torn-off.  From this view, my gym is directly to the right (behind that fire engine).

FullSizeRender(1)Above:  The trash area for the Waffle House.

FullSizeRender(3)Above:  Another image of some damage.

That was our little tornado experience.  I lived in Kansas for over four years of my life and never had the wrath of a twister get THIS close to home.

Oh, for an added bonus, check out this video.  This camera is basically right in front of where we live, so it’s kind of the view we had (except a little bit further back).

I’m just happy that not only us – but everyone in the area made it through okay.  It could’ve been much worse considering it was rush hour.  In the video, you can see it passes right over Indian Ripple Rd., which is extremely busy (and full of cars at the time).

So, whew! – close one.

I guess this will make for an interesting story to tell my child as well someday.  “Hey, while you were still in your mommy, a tornado went right through here.  You were there  – you just didn’t notice it.  So, technically, you experienced a tornado.”

Goes to show how a typical day of walking can turn into a little disaster thanks to Mother Nature.  I’m just glad we weren’t walking around when this twister hit.  Again, there were no sirens, warnings or really indication that a tornado was going to arrive in our neighborhood.  The only giveaway was that fountain in front.

So, the lesson of the day:  If a fountain turns into a sprinkler, it might be time to find some shelter.

ADDITIONAL NEWS:  FitWorks (my gym) surveillance camera (CLICK HERE).

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