Tornado Warning

Hail ProtectionOk, I have a confession to make: I love storms. One of the things I miss the most about South Africa is the extravagant lightning storms we were treated to. The full black clouds hanging ominously overhead, while fork lightning strikes the ground to the dissonant rapport of the thunder. I also love the sound of wind and rain, especially if I am cuddled up warm in bed.

Imagine my delight, then, when Mark from a few doors down ran out of his apartment and yelled at me: tornado warning for here, right now, best get inside!

What was I doing outside in the first place? Well, I was taping blankets and foam onto my beautiful car so as to prevent hail stones from damaging the exterior, of course!

Radar image of Tornado storm

That morning, as I drove off to work, I saw my neighbour had used duct tape to secure what looked like some of his bed linen to the boot of his car. I thought maybe it was sound proofing or something, or maybe he was growing pot in is boot and wanted to keep it warm. It didn’t explain the bubble wrap on the roof though. It turns out there had been a hail warning in effect, with the possibility of a tornado later in the day.

The image on the left shows the doppler radar image of the area at around 6:30pm, when the storm system was at its closest. The wind howled, the thunder rolled and the lightning flashed, but we didn’t experience any tornado. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t just a little disappointed at that.

Me & my windup radioWhile most sensible people were inside considering exactly where they would hide should a tornado strike, I was outside taking video footage of the whole ordeal, it was fantastic. I also got a chance to use my coveted wind-up radio. The wind-up radio is a fantastic and fascinating device. You simply wind it up and a dynamo charges it. You can then use it as a radio or a torch. It also has special preset settings for weather and alert stations. As an added bonus, it also allows you to use it to charge your mobile phone. It’s one of those geeky things that I just love. What I really want, though is a general purpose wind-up battery charger, or a wind-up battery, that would just make my day.

LightningThe radio was broadcasting a very interesting message, if you listen carefully to this video clip, you’ll hear my county (Rockwall) mentioned as a site for a tornado warning. I especially love the bit about leaving mobile homes and, if all else fails, lying in a ditch and covering your head (they missed out the bit about kissing your ass goodbye).

One of the most extravagant things in this storm was the thunder and lightning. I have a number of videos containing lightning. I also managed to catch the light from a lightning strike on film (well, digital media, anyway). The image on the left is not of sunrise or sunset, it’s lightning.

If you like storms as much as I do, you may be interested in this video out the back (overlooking the lake). There’s also a video out the front, looking towards the direction the storm was heading.