Thursday, July 24, 2008

Mini tornado

Half of my neighbor's barn was knocked down by a tornado this past year. I spent part of a day a two weeks back clearing barn wood and roof tin out of his cow pasture that had been ripped from the barn and blown several hundred feet away from the barn.

Today I was ripping apart the neighbor's barn to gather wood for the chicken coop when I heard lots of banging around in the pasture, just out of sight. I looked up, and over the other barn I saw the twisting cloud of a dust devil, or mini-tornado. It disturbed the nice piles of wood and tin I cleaned up out there, and started coming my direction around his cow barn. Leaves and dirt were blowing in a tight twist, and hawks or turkey vultures were riding a drastic updraft right over the spot. Those birds were flying straight one second and then nearly straight up to 100 feet or so. Very odd looking.

So, I'm standing there next to a partially standing barn; the remaining portion of which is leaning towards where I'm working. The twister is heading my way about 500 feet away, when I lose sight of it. It seems to have just dispersed, but about 20 seconds later it hits another dust patch and kicks up a big cloud. It hit the cattle fence around 30 feet, I could tell not so much by the dust, as by the loud whistling coming from the fence. I ducked down at this point, hoping that if any of the barn fell I'd be partially protected from large falling beams by the foundation wall. It vanished from perception again, until about 10 seconds later when the ripped tin on the roof, 30 feet up, stared blowing around wildly. That was it. A bit of wind remained behind, but no destruction. No injury. Just a wild view.

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