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Ever See A Tornado First-hand?

Thu May 03, 2001 9:56 am

Any storm spotters out there?

How many of you have actually seen a twister with your own eyes? How close to you was it?

Anybody ever film one?

They are indeed awesome to watch.....but I wouldn't want to be in the path of a nice little F-5!!  Smile/happy/getting dizzy
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RE: Ever See A Tornado First-hand?

Thu May 03, 2001 10:37 am

I saw one about 4 years ago in Allentown, date the only one I have seen...

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RE: Ever See A Tornado First-hand?

Thu May 03, 2001 11:08 am

Never seen a real tornado before. Edmonton, where I live, had an F4 tear through the east side of it on July 31, 1987. 27 people were killed, with hundreds injured. This was Canada's second most fatal tornado and was also the costliest at $250 million CDN in damage. It went right through an oil refinery and a mobile home park. However, I was in Drumheller in the Badlands, over a couple of hundred kilometres away!

I did see a couple of decent funnel clouds, though. One was back in July, 1997 over the east side of Edmonton. I saw that one from the rooftop of my apartment building. The second time was in July of 1999, about 30-40 km south of Edmonton while on Highway 2. While passing through Leduc, right by YEG (the airport), I saw a funnel hanging about halfway down from the same storm's cloud base.

RE: Oh Yeah...

Thu May 03, 2001 11:43 am

Seen several of 'em. Not really a shocking thing to me, here in Texas, I bet other Texans will back me up on that.  Smile I like to stand out with my door open and watch severe storms, me and my dad did that all the time, they're great down here. I have always been a big fan of weather, I saw the Jarrell tornado hit my local Albertsons, lucky it died down to be an F3 before it hit Cedar Park, where I am at as we speak. If you watch a severe storm in Texas, you'll proabably see a tornado some time. I also go storm chasing with my dad and his friend who is a storm chaser. It's great!
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RE: Ever See A Tornado First-hand?

Thu May 03, 2001 12:00 pm

Saw one in SD on when i was on the interstate. Scary as hell!
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RE: Ever See A Tornado First-hand?

Thu May 03, 2001 1:07 pm

I've lost count how many I've seen in Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri, Colorado, and Nebraska. I started storm chasing when I turned 16, saw my first tornado that same month. I spent more time chasing storms in April in May while I was at the University of Oklahoma (studying what else...meteorology) than going to class.

I've got footage on several of the tornado videos available through various companies...The Weather Channel, Discovery Channel, etc. They pay pretty good money for your footage if it is of high quality. I've seen two F5's before, but they were about 10 miles away each time. I don't know how close I would be willing to get near them.

The best chase I had was down in Gainesville, TX in 1994. Got high quality footage of a F3 tornado about 1500 feet away. As soon the tornado passed we didn't have road options to follow it so when turned around to do a damage survey in town...that's when the hail got us. We measured 4.5" hail that did approximately $3500 damage to my friends car. Poor guy it wasn't covered by insurance. That's why all of us in Meteorology School had beater cars.  Smile

It really sucks now living in Minnesota. The severe weather season is pathetic and I have a job that won't let me chase but on the weekends.

Mark Abbott
Minneapolis, MN
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RE: Ever See A Tornado First-hand?

Thu May 03, 2001 2:03 pm

I was in Wisconsin in July of 1991, and a funnel cloud passed right over the house at which I was staying.

We were all in the basement, so we were reasonably safe, but there were small, ground-level windows from which we could look out. I recall seeing a brief period of extraordinarily intense winds, which I later realized must have occurred as the funnel cloud passed by. We only realized how close the vortex had come when we saw branches in the backyard trees that had literally been "twisted off." The tornado touched down just about 1/2 a mile to the south, where it brought down giant Eucalyptus trees, and de-roofed several houses.
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RE: Ever See A Tornado First-hand?

Thu May 03, 2001 4:53 pm

I only saw funnel clouds starting to form, that's it.
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RE: Ever See A Tornado First-hand?

Thu May 03, 2001 4:55 pm

I have seen a sandstorm in Az. back in '98

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RE: Ever See A Tornado First-hand?

Thu May 03, 2001 8:16 pm

I've been in one, but didn't see it as I was hiding in the basement of my friends house. Right before the storm hit, me and my friends brother jumped in my car to drive up past the tree line to see if we could see anything. The sky was GREEN! The clouds were moving extremely fast but we couldn't see any twisting motion. Then we drove back to my friend's house and got inside just as it started pouring down rain. After the storm, my friends neighborhood was not too badly hit, just downed branches and no electricity. Then I drove to my house. As I got closer there were huge trees down. I had to drive over downed power lines. As I got closer to my house, I was thankful that no houses were badly damaged. We lost one tree in the front yard and one in the back. Another tree in the back lost a huge branch. We have a shed in the back with windows and most of them were completely broken and blown out. There were blades of grass stuck strait into the side of our house! But do you want to hear something completely goofy? Our next door neighbor's lightweight plastic patio furniture wasn't even blown out of formation! Not even knocked over or anything! We figure we caught the edge of the tornado and it was such that it wasn't quite on the ground when it passed over our neighborhood. It could have been much worse!

The aftermath sucked. No electricity for I think 3 days. And there were a bunch of branches to clean up. Even though we are allowed to burn since we don't live inside the DSM city limits, there was just so much to get rid of that it was just easier to drag it to the side of the street where they come to pick stuff like that up when this happens. Since the storm hit in the early afternoon, there was time to have most of the stuff cleaned by the time it was dark. The worst was cleaning the glass out of the back yard, which was what we did first since we had the best light and we didn't want it to settle in.

That's one thing I like about the USA, our weather is exciting and unpredictable. Even with hurricanes/cyclones/typhoons, you can generally see those coming for at least a day or two. Not with severe thunderstorms or tornados though. The weather here in Britian is boring. My flatemates were excited the other day to see lightning flashes and to hear thunder (wow). The only time I'm excited when that happens is when it's snowing since thunder-snow, as it's called, is rare where I live.
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RE: Ever See A Tornado First-hand?

Thu May 03, 2001 10:22 pm

I saw one 4-5 years ago. It was no big thing, and it wasn't strong at all. However it was rather large, I was standing say 50-100m away. It was a special sight as tornadoes are very rare in norway.

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RE: Ever See A Tornado First-hand?

Thu May 03, 2001 10:58 pm

Seen a couple in Texas. Wasn't THAT close to them, but close enough to see what was going on and get out of the way.

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RE: Ever See A Tornado First-hand?

Thu May 03, 2001 10:59 pm

Hell Yes I've Seen One!!!!

Actually I saw A waterspout (A Kinda Tornado Right?) in Singapore.... I think it was in June 1996. I went cycling with my family at East Coast Beach. It was a hot afternoon, but all of a sudden dark, gloomy thunderclouds started to gather over the sea.

I told my dad that probably another waterspout is about to appear (because a few days before this incident, 2 waterspouts were sighted off Singapore's coast). True enough, a few minutes later, a waterspout formed. But I do not know how it formed and when. I just knew it when people sarted running away from the jetty and the kids and women were screaming. I hurriedly went to the jetty with my dad and voi la, there it is!

It was such a beautiful sight seeing this grey funnel swirling around and causing slight havoc among the picnickers. Unfortunately, it died down a few minutes later.

That night, it was widely publicised in news. I was very lucky to have seen this wonderful phenomenon happening right in Singapore. Since then, no more waterspouts have been sighted in Singapore.... and I wonder why.

According to news reports, the waterspout was approximately 10 km off Singapore's coast and made no significant damage to ships anchored in Singapore Harbour. However, planes were diverted and delayed as a precaution.

RE: Ever See A Tornado First-hand?

Fri May 04, 2001 5:01 am

I've been through several tornadoes here in Florida, but I've never seen one. I did see a wall cloud once on the way back from Disney World, and that's the story I'll relate here.
On the way home on I-4, it had been storming like crazy all day- we pulled over a few times. My mom was driving, I was up front (watching for hail or anything else that could wreck our car), and my little sister was in back. Suddenly, at about 1:30 PM, the rain just stopped. We didn't know why. The sky got darker than it had been, but still light enough that we could clearly see what was going on outside, and several "fingerlike" clouds extended from the flat base. They were ragged, but we watched them out of curiosity. They continued to lower, and we thought maybe it was hail, as hail does take the appearance of a cloud from far away. The sky lightened up just a bit, and I kept watching the clouds, which were now about 3 miles ahead.
I saw something then that made me scream "SH*T!" at the top of my lungs. The clouds, which now extended to about 100 feet above the ground, began rotating around a central point, and slowly coming together. My mom immediately looked at me, shocked, (I was 12 at the time), then saw what I saw. Instead of doing the smart thing and getting out of there, she said "Hold on," and floored it. She then opened the screen that covers the sunroof, and we were treated to a great view of rotating clouds. We passed right under it, and the inside of the would-be funnel looked amazing. It was now light enough that I could see up, and our sunroof was not tinted. The base was risen by several dozen feet, I would assume, and there was a very dark cloud inside of the opening the rise in the cloud base had formed. After we passed under it, we kept an eye on the fingerlike clouds to see if anything would drop, but they started almost immediately to rotate more slowly and pull back up into the base. I had been leaning on the cell phone's send button with 911 ready to go to report a twister, but nothing happened, and I packed the phone up. It rained basically the rest of the way home, and there were some severe storms that we passed through on the way, but nothing topped the experience of driving under a would-be tornado.

That said, has anyone out there actually seen a tornado form from finglerlike clouds that reached nearly to the ground and rotated around a central point? We're convinced it was a twister in the making, but I've never really asked anyone qualified about it. I might do that with a storm chaser, but if there are any meteoroligists/ professional chasers in here who could help me, I'd appreciate it.
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RE: Ever See A Tornado First-hand?

Fri May 04, 2001 5:42 am

The range to the tornado I saw up in ABE was about 1.5 to 2 miles wasnt terribly large, but it was a tornado...about 30 minutes after I saw it we left the area by car and there was downed trees and poles everywhere...

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RE: Ever See A Tornado First-hand?

Sat May 05, 2001 5:44 am

I've witnessed a few, One in Hialeah,FL, one in Salt Lake City, Utah, One in upstate NY and the big one was in OKC last year, and a big waterspout in Miami. The one in OK was so big, I think it was an F4, it scared the Sh** out of me. We were driving home from a friend's house and we were ready to spend the night in Oklahoma City for our return flight back to JFK (on TWA MD-80 to STL, MD-80 to JFK.) When we approached OKC, we were battered by hail and quickly took shelter at a gas station (I think it was Mobil) When we got out, I saw the Wall cloud, the mesocyclone and some great mammautus clouds. Then, I turned around,(And if you've ever been in one of these, you know how creepy it is to be under a black-green cloud and see the sun setting behind the clouds) and there was the bastard, swirling. I started cursing and ran over to the Gas Station and with adrenailine screamed "THERE'S A TWISTER RIGHT OUTSIDE!" My sister started crying and the Gas Station's owner and I ran outside with my dad just in time to see a big, black tornado....knocking down the power lines across the field, I hadn't noticed it but the hail had stopped. We just watched as this F4 crossed the interstate (It was creepy to see all of the lights of cars under overpasses!) and I just stared in awe. The tornado went on to be one of the many F4 and F5 tornadoes that struck the midwest (OKC vicinity mostly) those two days. In all of the tornado-like weather phenomenon I've experienced throughout my 15 years on this planet, This had to be the worst!


RE: Ever See A Tornado First-hand?

Sat May 05, 2001 6:14 am

Considering that a lot of people on this forum live in trailer parks (judging by the way that they act like rednecks), I am just surprised that they haven't been more forthcoming in describing what the tornado sounded like.

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RE: Ever See A Tornado First-hand?

Sat May 05, 2001 6:27 am

I once read about this girl who was swept up by a tornado and deposited on this road in the middle of nowhere. The amazing thing is, the road was made almost entirely out of yellow bricks.....
I used to think the brain is the most fascinating part of my body. But, hey, who is telling me that?

RE: Ever See A Tornado First-hand?

Sun May 06, 2001 2:22 am

Not a tornado, but I did witness a waterspout live once. I was about 10 or 11 when my family and I were in a hotel in Destin, FL. It was about 9:00 A.M. and we had just gotten up. A waterspout maybe 1000ft high was brewing about 2 miles out from the shore. We watched it until it disappeared. It was something to see the waves whirling by the winds around the area that the funnel had touched the ocean. (I think the year was 97'.)

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RE: Ever See A Tornado First-hand?

Sun May 06, 2001 2:34 am

I saw a tornado over San Diego, CA in 1986. It did look like a big, pointed finger extending downwards out of the clouds, which were grey-green and UGLY. I was at school, and some of the teachers told the kids to go outside and check it out. It was far off, and not moving towards where we were; it ended up touching down and causing a bit of damage, but not much.

I live in Wisconsin now, which gets a few tornadoes every spring. I haven't seen one yet, only saw a rotation in the sky over Milwaukee in 1998. It looked like someone was stirring the clouds with a stick, and then I saw the clouds kinda start to move downwards, like someone was spinning them onto a funnel. No tornado actually formed, though.
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RE: Ever See A Tornado First-hand?

Tue May 08, 2001 2:11 am

Never seen one first-hand
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RE: Aviatsiya

Tue May 08, 2001 3:25 am

If you're talking about me, you obviously don't know what the hell you're talking about. You see, a tornado is not a very shocking thing where I live, NO, not in a trailer park, in a very nice apartment. Just last night, we were in a Tornado Warning in my county, and the weather guys said some things about rotation in city I live in. I don't really like being from TX, because some people may think I am a hick or a redneck, but you couldn't tell a difference if I lived in most other states. All that BS about rednecks and a bunch of hicks in TX pisses me off, because it has changed a lot. Sure, there are many dumbass rednecks in Texas, but that gives you no right assume that everyone is. In downtown Austin, if you go there, you may think differently, try Dallas as well, you just might like it.

BTW, in the simplest way I can put it, here is a tornado sound for you:

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RE: Ever See A Tornado First-hand?

Wed May 09, 2001 6:40 am

I will back up Boeing747-400. Dallas, where I live is nothing like a trailor park and the area I live in has NO hicks in it. I personally have not seen a tornado first hand, but I see warnings and them on the local news all the time(had a few the other night)
Give me a break, I created this username when I was a kid...

Boeing 747-400

Wed May 09, 2001 7:40 am

Go to my post again and TURN YOUR SPEAKER VOLUME UP!!!

Take humour in your stride man...geeze.

RE: Aviatsiya

Wed May 09, 2001 7:59 am

Whoa! Sorry about that! My speakers weren't turned on!  Smile
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Wed May 09, 2001 7:22 pm

When I use to live in the mountains behind Byron Bay I was on my verandah and around Lenox Head (80ish km away) I saw 3 massive water spouts.

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