Sunday, June 7, 2009

quite an exciting afternoon

'What a beautiful day,' Don and I commented to each other as we left church today. I decided it would be a perfect day to eat outside at my favorite restaurant over at Southlands. My favorite eatery in this outdoor mall, located about 3 miles from our home, is Paradise Bakery. We picked Danielle up from home and headed on over to the popular area. We ate a yummy lunch while sitting in the sun, listening to the music coming out of the sidewalk speakers and watching the kids play in the nearby fountain playground. It was obvious that we weren't the only ones that thought it was a perfect day to be out and about.

That was around 12:30. But by 1:45 things had changed drastically. Where an hour before there were care-free shoppers strolling down Main Street, there was now a tornado ripping it's way down the same thoroughfare. Yep... a tornado.

The EF1 or EF2 (it hasn't been categorized yet) tornado was on the ground for 30 minutes and traveled a path of 8-10 miles. As you can imagine, there was quite a bit of damage and a lot of scared people. Shoppers and movie goers were ushered into the safest parts of the buildings they were in as they heard the commotion going on outside. But they didn't stay in too long because then there were reports of gas leaks. Everyone was quickly evacuated from the mall area.

There were uprooted trees, twisted metal wrapped around poles, blown out windows, relocated benches and cars, and even a car turned upside down. Across the street there is a Lowe's. The tornado picked up model sheds and swingsets and carried them across the street. Large heating and air conditioning units on the roof were ripped off and rain poured into the store.

Not only did it rain hard, but it hailed hard. In the immediate area of the tornado, the hail was baseball size. Here at my house, the ice balls were slightly smaller - golf ball size. I have never seen hail that large, nor heard the sound of it hitting a car - it's loud. I'm so glad that both my car and I were protected from the pummeling. Needless to say, we have a lot of shredded trees around here.

Where was I during the tornado? Standing in the doorway of my garage in awe and snapping a couple of pictures. Some of you may think I was being stupid by not taking refuge in my basement, but we felt safe as we were pretty sure the tornado was moving away from us. We caught the tail end of the show because we watched it go back up into the clouds. One minute it was there, the next it was completely gone.

I sent in a couple of my pictures to the local news stations, along with many other amateur photographers. There were some amazing photos of the tornado. It makes me wish I would have taken my camera, jumped in my car and chased it. I would have loved to have seen what kind of photos I could have got. Oh well... another day... hopefully.

Here are the shots I did get:

16 comments:

Momma Roar said...

Oh my goodness, Diana, I cannot believe those shots! I'm so thankful you are safe!!

We had a tornado go through our area a few months ago, we didn't get any damage here, it touched down closer to our church. We did get hail and I detest the sound of it hitting the house. T was very close to having us move into the basement, but was trying to stay calm not to scare the kids.

I would be too fearful to chase after a storm!

Just Mom said...

I'm going to tell you what I told my editor and local storm spotters when they asked if I wanted to ride along and take photos for the paper during a severe storm: Are you flippin' out of your mind?!?!?!?!?!

We've had some come quite close to our area, and I've seen a tornado from a distance. Guess which one I would rather get a photo of. :-D

Jamey said...

Wow, those are great pictures. I can't believe the tornados in Colorado these past couple of years. It's crazy! I'm glad you stayed safe!

Karen said...

Oh Holy cow! Kinda scary - kinda exciting - I've seen ONE tornado and believe it or not, it was here in California! It was off the freeway - just spinning around in the desert. But still - they even documented it as being a tornado - albeit a small one.
GREAT pictures. And if anyone thinks your nuts for getting them, "forget about it". You've been through life's experiences and havesound judgement by now. I am glad you can judge which way it was going. You can't do that with earthquakes! (hehehe)
Glad all is OK. Great post!
Have a better day! Karen

Karen said...

Diana! You've been TAGGED! (hehehe)
Visit my blog to find out what's up!
:) Karen

Sweet Serendipity said...

Oh my! How scary. I would probably do the same thing and take pictures though. Great photos.

MightyMom said...

ummm, do you get many twisters/hail storms up that way??

I'm guessing not, because those of us raised in tornado alley have seen and heard how twisters will head one direction...disappear..then touch down in a totally different place from where it looked like they were going.

They can also appear and disappear in a heartbeat. with nothing but distruction to show where they were.

thinking of you standing in your garage snapping pictures just curls the hair on my toes girl!

If no lives were lost in your storm it's a day to be thankful.

don't get me wrong, the pics are way cool!

barb said...

Wow -- I am so glad you and the family were safe. They are pretty scary things. I've seen the damage they can do when we lived in Oklahoma.

Sis said...

WOW! Great pics! Glad you're safe (move back to CA!)

diana said...

sis...
what! where there are earthquakes, fires, and landslides. no thanks! =)

Christine said...

That is freaky! Reminds me of why I was always so afraid of tornadoes as a child growing up in Colorado. I spent lots of time in the basement. I saw a few funnel clouds but never the real thing.

Anonymous said...

Wow! (Take the advice of your sister.)

Karen said...

Thank goodness nobody was hurt. We were in Florida Sunday and heard about the tornado. Yesterday when we flew home, the pilot said more storms were predicted to hit right about the time we were landing, which made me just a little nervous. Fortunately, the pilot was wrong...

Trailboss said...

WOW! Those pictures of the tornado look like a professional took them. I'm glad you were untouched by them. I heard about the tornadoes hitting your area. Glad everyone is safe.

Karen said...

Diana, I actually learned about this storm, here, on your blog! I was so absorbed in my day and didn't watch the news, so I was shocked to read this the other morning. Yesterday, my son's baseball game went on "tornado delay"! That's a first! We saw an incredible funnel cloud way off in the distance. The weather has been so crazy these past couple weeks. I just wish summer would get here.

Lisa said...

Hi, nieghbor (sorta...) &:o) Mighty Mom directed me over here to see the photos ~ and they're excellent, and scary! Yikes! My sisters both live a couple of miles west of the mall. We live about 40 minutes away out on the prairie, but have been contending with our own spate of twisters lately. Thankfully not very close to us -- so far. And hail. Right overhead, but thankfully not too big and damaging -- so far. Sheesh! What a summer! Can you believe all this rain? It looks like Ireland out here on the prairie!