Thursday, July 23, 2009

Tornado or just Really Windy?

Last Saturday we had a storm blow through. It was around 8:00pm and we heard the thunder rolling. It had been kinda dark and lightening in the distance for a few hours. We were all sitting in the living room and all of a sudden a downpour of rain and hail started. The hail was only pea size but there was a ton of it and the wind was blowing SOOOOO hard. I even made a comment that if we lived by an ocean I would think we were in a hurricane. The leaves were being ripped off the trees and plastered to the front window and the screen door. After a just a minute we could not even see out the window due to the driving rain and the leaves on the windows. It only lasted about 5 minutes and when the storm stopped our electricity went out. We walked outside to see if everyone's electricity was out and discovered that the 5 minute storm did A LOT of damage! The whole neighborhood was outside assessing the damage and discovering all the trees and limbs that had been ripped down. I called channel 4 to see if we had just had a tornado but they said the radars showed no rotations just straight winds. Living in Oklahoma, tornadoes are a common occurrence and the damage we sustained is consistent with tornado damage except that all houses were still standing. The next day I drove around and took some photos of the tree damage. It is amazing what the wind can do.
notice all the leaves in the road
in front of a house down the street
on the corner
this is the house they just filmed a movie in last month
in the street
half this tree is missing
limbs barely hanging on
already chopped and ready for pick up
the rest of this tree was in the road
luckily this house is empty but for sale
a school sign ripped from the cement stand
the rest of the school sign
the tree in my back yard
our tree hanging over the fence and laying in the road before I cut them loose
other limbs beside our fence.
I know some of these pictures are pretty fuzzy but we took them from the car. We had even more limbs in the back yard that I did not get pictures of. There are still about 3 branches that are broken but still hanging in the tree. Only problem is they are about 20 feet up so I am not sure how we are gonna get them down yet. The wood chipper truck came through today (AT 7:30 AM) and picked everything up so the streets are back to normal.


SAHMinIL said...

When the National Weather Service does a storm damage survey they distinguish between straight-line wind and wind produced from a tornado. Straight-line wind damage will push debris in the same direction the wind is blowing (hence the creation of the term straight-line). Tornado damage will scatter the debris in a variety of different directions since the winds of a tornado are rotating violently. This type of survey can be used to determine if straight-line wind occurred instead of a tornado or vice versa. Straight-line wind intensity can be as powerful as a tornado. Because of this some people in the general public will believe a tornado occurred when it reality one did not occur.


I can't really tell from the pictures, but I'm sure you would know what the debris looked like better. Did it all seem to be laying in the same direction, or was it all helter skelter?

Hope that helps answer your questions!

char said...

I think it was straight line winds. Most everything was blown to the south. I know if it would have been a tornado we would have likely had stuctures damaged as well and it was pretty much just trees and signs and an electric line or 2. We have both situations here pretty often but what has thrown me about this time is the pure AMOUNT of debris and the fact that it was all within about a 10 block area-the east side of town didn't even know it was happening(although they got the rain and some hail but NO wind) and we are not a big town! Thanks for the link, it is interesting to see how they decide these things.

SAHMinIL said...

You're welcome!

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