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I hope you will join in my adventures here in Humboldt County and elsewhere as I explore nature & people.



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Friday, January 11, 2008

Tornado

Yesterday about noon the sky darkened as if time had moved forward to evening. Then a loud boom and my cats scattered for cover. One of the loudest sounding thunder in my experience even compared to the big ones we had in North Central Pennsylvania.
Suddenly it hailed moth ball sized ice stones that sounded like a train on my Cedar shake roof. When the hail stopped in less than a couple of minutes the rain came down in sheets for another few minutes. I gazed out the window and was suprised not to see trees swaying and limbs coming down. We were fortunate because a Tornado had touched down a few miles south west of our home and spared us on this unusual occassion. The last Tornado to touch down in this part of the country was back in 1972 and six people were killed. The Tornado that touched down yesterday in Vancouver did some severe damage to property but fortunately did not kill anyone.
It's a miracle that no one was killed considering the fact that hurricane force winds hit a highly populated area. Wikipedia states that "a tornado is a violently rotating column of air which is in contact with both a cumulonimbus cloud or,in rare cases, a cumulus cloud base and the surface of the earth." "Tornadoes are typically in the form of a visible condensation funnel, whose narrow end touches the earth and is often encircled by a cloud of debris". Home videos sent to local TV stations clearly showed large objects floating in circles when the tornado was blowing through the area. It tore off roofs and uprooted large trees and knocked large trucks on their sides. Tops of utility poles were snapped off and a brick wall was blown down. This is a rare event in the Pacific Northwest and I hope that it remains that way. I wonder if climate change has anything to do with it?
Ironically I had planned to drive over to the area that was hit to exchange a gift that my wife gave me.. I would have been there about the time the tornado hit but changed my mind for some reason. Sometimes fate can change our lives or perhaps I'm just lucky.