Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Funnel Cloud Photo Op

As I write this, New Orleans is under a tornado watch. Fun week. Fun Spring. Let us pray hurricane season is less active.

You know you are in the digital age when you have multiple viewpoints and footage of a tornado striking a community of 12,000 people. My email inbox is literally full of pictures from the storm on St. Simons Island and Darien. I would love to give credit where credit is due, but most of these have come in anonymously as they make the rounds from place to place.

I have no idea who took the pics above, but I've recieved it today from four different people back home. The first one is taken from the Malcolm McKinnon Airport on St. Simons Island, Georgia, looking north by northwest. The next one is looking out over the marsh, probably from Dunbar Point, also looking northwest. These two were taken about the same time from different locations, but you can tell when you look at the shape of the clouds.

Several emails have included this fantastic shot (it is in a sequence that culminates in the large funnel cloud pic above) as the funnel cloud forms over the marshes between mainland Brunswick and St. Simons Island. I'm sure that Islanders will find fish in their yards that weren't put there by human hands.

Usually pictures from this angle are of wildlife and sunsets, your average postcard image. Betcha these don't make it into the 2009 tour guides.

The next shots come from an email that started with a Catherine McCoy, who I do not know, but who I must share only a few degrees seperation from as her email was forwarded to my inbox. She was out and about as the rain abated, and ended up getting a hold of these pictures from various locations.

Some stories to share: One of my best friends from high school lives in Macon, Georgia these days. Unlike what the folks on the news were saying, Macon isn't really a suburb of Atlanta. Anyone who thinks otherwise is not paying attention to gasoline prices.

Macon, too, was hit hard by storms. His kitchen is apparently somewhere in a nearby lake, and his roof is no longer attached to his house, but didn't go anywhere. This is said to give the impression that his home is talking every time a breeze kicks up. He sounded snarky about it, which means everything is OK with him as far as life and limb and family is concerned. His family, by the way, used to live about a mile from where the next picture was taken.

This one is most likely a picture of the tornado that hit Darien, Georgia. The picture was taken around the Glynco Jetport, not too far from the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center. The view is looking almost due north towards Darien.

This tornado was apparently blowing trees across I-95, hitting several cars in the process. One story is that it launched two motorcyclists into the air from one side of the interstate to the other. Reports indicate that, though shaken up and scratched, "Davidson and Harley were OK." The bikes, not so much. Here's some more property that didn't end up doing well on Mother's Day:

This one is the Gateway Center in Darien. It is a type of public service for young women and their children, some sort of shelter for them. When word came that this place got hit, heards fell as some sort of death toll or casualty figure was expected. Luckily, none appeared hurt. Though the building doesn't appear to have given much shelter, someone was looking out for anyone nearby.

Back on Island City, a family friend's house ended up looking like this. These are giant oak trees, with some Georgia pine added in for good measure, being flung around like so many toys. It just reminds me of the awful power of nature to do what she will. It is our job to pay attention and get out of the way when she goes on a rampage.

Morals of this story: don't get too attached to things, especially if you live on the coast or in tornado alley; pay attention to the weather; keep your insurance up to date and the paperwork somewhere safe; and invest in rapid response and recovery infrastructure. The last picture was taken on the same day of the storms.

Keep a digital camera handy in case something big happens. Cell phone cameras are incredibly useful. And keep your lines of communication open in case everyone in your old hometown needs to contact you about everyone else being safe and sound.

Last two pix courtesy of Tom Wenzka, his bicycle and his cellphone camera.



DADvocate said...

I've never seen a tornado although I was within a couple of miles of one once. It was storming too hard to see that far.

I've always wanted to see one but from a very safe distance/location.

Dante said...

Move to a mid-western plains state for a year or two. You'll see at least one. They happen a lot there and it's easy to spot them miles away thanks to the flat land.

liberalandproud said...

Sure, a tornado looks scary, but I was always more creeped out by the weird green/amber sky right before the storm (I spent a summer in Nebraska).