Monday February 27 I found myself at my father’s house taking photos of a gorgeous sunset. The warm temperatures reminded me that Spring was right around the corner. Suffice it to say I was also reminded that severe weather is also around the corner. Barley a day into March and tornado sirens echoed throughout the valley. The season’s first tornado was upon us and what an impression it made.
As schools released students for the day property owners surveyed damage inflicted by the initial wave. The spike in calls placed a burden on the local service provider’s network resulting in recorded messages informing callers that “all circuits were busy”. Not being able to contact my family only added to the angst. Finally, after countless attempts, I made it through! The family was ok. This would be enough to carry me through the rest of the day.
As I drove home the roads were relatively free of debris and traffic was much lighter than normal. Periodically, strong gusts of wind crashed into the side of my vehicle resulting in a noticeable rocking motion. Like a child playfully swinging the traffic lights swung back and forth to the rhythm of the breeze. Eventually I made it home and the first thing I did was greet mamma and the boys! Afterwards I surveyed the house and was thankfully that everything was still intact. After sitting around for a few minutes I made the decision to survey the damage around Buckhorn.
With the camera in hand Zachary and I headed out. As we approached the school the first cluster of damage was to a house on the side of the school. The front yard was littered by mature trees and downed power lines were strewn across the lawn. Even with a tarp covering the majority of the roof patches of roofing paper and plywood were visible. I reached for the camera but couldn’t bring myself to take a shot. Something just didn’t feel right about it. I sat the camera back in the passenger seat.
As we continued North we saw more damage inflicted by the tornado. A slight amount of damage was done to Buckhorn while major damage was inflicted on a farm house across the street from the school. As we passed by we saw drivers stop to take photographs of the field of debris. We also witnessed the presumable property owners somberly walk the property. The cinematic image will be forever burned in my mind.
A little further up the road I noticed a wall cloud had formed and approximately 30 minutes later we were parked on a side street witnessing another funnel cloud developing. This time it was easy to pick up the camera and shoot the scene. We watched in anticipation as the funnel cloud developed. As the rotation became more apparent it abruptly lost its strength and dissipated. Thankfully it dissipated as it sat just above a neighborhood.
While I managed to take several photographs of the formation none summarized it better than the photo above. Talk about a change of weather pattern. Monday I’m shooting a beautiful sunset in a short sleeved shirt and Friday we’re taking cover from the season’s first tornado. It looks like we’re going to have a wild spring. Either way stay tuned, I’ll have the camera.