Nature's Fury Caught on Film
What an amazing experience!
As frightening as it is to realize the dangers and destruction that comes in the path of a tornado, I have to admit that it was truly fascinating to watch the formation of this tornado yesterday from my back yard from its beginning through its path of destruction through our town May 2, 2008.
I am as much in awe of the miracle of no fatalities in our area than the amazing site of watching this tornado actually form. Some in Arkansas weren't so fortunate. During the path of storms that tore across the Mississippi River, there were 8 fatalities at last count in the state of Arkansas. It was a long night for us and many of our neighboring states.
Along with this tornado that we caught on film, we were awakened between 1:00 and 1:30 a.m. with a second one, which brought with it flash floods and hail. We lost power a couple of times through this and didn't have internet for most of the day after. However, when I look at what so many others around us lost, I feel blessed that we were only inconvenienced in such a small way.
Dark Clouds Forming
The picture to the right was early in the evening before the formation of the tornado. To look at this, it would appear as any other storm cloud. However, it would only be a matter of minutes before the clouds would take on a life of their own.
In this picture, you begin to see what appears to be tiny tails of clouds dropping down from the large, dark cloud above it. These tails would drop a short ways, then go back into the clouds, then drop a little further each time for several minutes.
Here you can see how these tails came together to form the beginning of the funnel cloud. At this point, the tornado is just above the trees as it keeps forming.
This is the same cloud just a few seconds later. Notice the difference in the color of the atmosphere. It is getting a bit lighter at this point. The next few seconds were astounding, to say the least!
Notice that as it gets closer to the ground, it is still becoming a bit lighter outside. Almost a blue haze in this shot.
On the Ground
You can see in this photo how the lowest part of the tornado is now behind the trees on the ground. The area that it touched down was about two miles past the Wal Mart Distribution Center where my husband is dispatched from. The destruction in this area is beyond description of mere words. The slide show at the end shows the damage left behind.
Here it is plain to see the amazing change in the color of the sky just before it got to our area. It is almost as if it has a purple/blue haze. For the next few seconds it becomes a darker and darker shade of purple haze.
As you can see, within a few seconds, the purple haze begins to deepen. I have been in a few tornados before but have never witnessed such a beautiful color in the sky before. Normally, from what I have witnessed, the color is more of a yellowish grey, similar to mud. This was an amazing sight to see.
Losing the Purple
In this photo, the purple begins to fade and what we saw over the next few seconds was fascinating, to say the least. We were in total shock over the sudden, drastic change to follow.
As you can see, within seconds, the sky went from a beautiful purple haze into a frightening, dark color. The time frame was simply amazing!
The ascention begins
Here you can see that the darkness is beginning to surround us but the grass and other objects seem to be magnified against the blackness at this point.
Daytime or Night?
As you can see, it only took seconds to become as dark as midnight. However, this was about 2 hours before sundown should have occured.
On the Move
The tornado followed straight along highway 30 through New Albany, leaving splintered trees and debris behind where homes and other buildings once stood. Look between the trees.
After what seemed like forever but was only a few minutes, the tornado began to lift back into the cloud to await its next target a few miles away. This particular tornado was just one of several that we watched that day, although this one was the only one to touch down at that time. We were, however, awoken between 1:00 and 1:30 a.m. by another one that hit the downtown neighborhoods and left even more destruction.
The AftermathClick thumbnail to view full-size
The next morning brought beautiful blue skies that would normally be an enjoyable spring day. For many, it brought a day of saddness, loss and the realization of having to start their lives over.
While the pictures you see are of major destruction, much of the damage is not captured here. Out of respect for the victims, we did not take pictures of some of the worst damaged homes because many were there trying to salvage what they could of their lives. We chose not to capture that on film.
There were many more areas that were blocked off to the public that we could not access in the heavier hit areas. These pictures are just a small portion of the destruction left behind. But we have witnessed the strength of this community and will do what we can to help them rebuild and recover.
While so many have become a victim of nature's fury, they are, at the same time, grateful for the miracle of life. Many were trapped inside homes and buildings that are grateful to be unharmed considering the aftermath they are witnessing. Our thoughts and prayers will be with all who suffered loss in our community as well as in other states.