Live blogging a tornado

Well, that was interesting. We are having turbulent weather here in Minnesota. The current low pressure system passing across the US is sitting on us like a bullet on a bull’s eye. Almost every line of storm activity is breaking into small blobs which in turn are spinning up wall clouds and twisters, mostly small, mostly only on radar, mostly not touching down.

Except the one that is currently bearing down on Coon Lake Beach and Forest Lake. It was spotted on a traffic cam earlier, seen by some spotters, damaged a shopping mall, and hit the small airport we have down the road from here. But what happened here, at our house, was kinda cool.

A large cloud which I believe contained the tornado to our east sat over head dropping one or two inch an hour rain (but no hail). However the wind velocity was zero. The leaves on nearby trees were quivering lightly from being rained on. I heard the freight train but the air did not move.

Then, just as the sound of the tornado going by faded into the distance, with the wind still at zero, leaves started to fall. I could see them way up in the air, two or three times higher than the tops of the perfectly still trees all around me, and the leaves fell, spinning or wavering a bit, but not much, straight down to the ground. And, when they hit the ground I could see that every one of the green falling items was a small fragment of a leaf or other vegetation. Debris carried high into the air, spread out from the tornado, and gently dropped on it.

As I write this I’m hearing that dozens of homes in one area have been damaged, people are using their own axes and chain saws to cut through trees sitting on people’s houses to rescue those trapped inside. No reports of injuries from that locality right now. I don’t know where the heck the breathless reporter was calling in from … oh, wait, North Minneapolis. People are trapped in their homes and cars. We’ll keep an eye on that.

UPDATE: They’re showing traffic cam film of a twister on the ground in Forest Lake now, a few miles away from the camera, which in turn is in the sun.

Comments

  1. #1 Benton Jackson
    May 22, 2011

    Which airport did it hit?

  2. #2 Greg Laden
    May 22, 2011

    I think the one in Blaine, if the reports are correct. I have not heard that the damage there is severe, but the news is focusing now on North Minneapolis which apparently had hundreds of housed damaged, some totally wiped out (but mostly garages wiped out)

  3. #3 Greg Laden
    May 22, 2011

    The damage in Minneapolis is considerable. Several hundred houses are badly damaged, scores of garages are totally destroyed, hundreds of large trees down, and a few dozen houses are 50 – 100 percent destroyed. The area of damage extends to Fridley and Mounds View. Waiting to hear from Mike Haubrich.

    There was a air show at a local airport, but they got the planes in the hanger just before the storm hit so damage there is minimal. The city will have a news convernce in a few minutes (ca 530PM local).

    The twister was probably an F2. It came down from very very low hanging clouds, and was about a half mile wide. It ran from Theodore Wirth Park or points west/soutwest of there, crossed Emerson at about 36th street, then the river (turning left, north, at the 94 according to one source, for a while), and then on to Fridley, then Mounds View. I find it hard to believe that the airport could have been hit by the same twister … that may have been a second one.

    People in the area are being asked to stay away to avoid traffic jams. Rescue workers are walking as much as 7 blocks through debris. There is no power in the area, with hundreds off segments of power lines donw.

    Residents are being told to go to the police station, where someone will give you a ride to a shelter if you need that.

  4. #4 Greg Laden
    May 22, 2011

    First report of a death.. a man in North in a van, struck by a tree and killed.

  5. #5 UPDATED
    May 22, 2011

    20,000 homes without power, just reported.

    North Memorial Hospital reports 18 injuries in their ER, generally minor.

  6. #6 Mike Haubrich
    May 22, 2011

    Sorry it took so long to let you know that we were all okay. We are only about a mile from the Anoka County Airport in Blaine, but there was no damage at all where I am. Not even tries down in our neigborhood.

    We went down in the basement for a while, but got an all clear and came up to survey the no damage. Feeling lucky about it.

  7. #7 Mike Haubrich
    May 22, 2011

    I was just wondering if the God of the LGBT-accepting Christian Churches did this because S/He is angry over the fact that we will have an Amendment to the Constitution on the ballot in 2012 that is hateful to His/Her people.

  8. #8 Crazyharp81602
    May 22, 2011

    Joplin’s badly hit! The weather channel great tornado hunt crew is on the scene now.

  9. #9 Greg Laden
    May 22, 2011

    Injury count is now up from 18 to 29. Most of North Minneapolis is now under curfew. Two location were looted, and that’s got everyone freaked out about major looting so the cops are everywhere with long guns and riot gear getting periodically rained on. The looting was of the two liquor stores on either end of Broadway, which have been busy looting the neighborhood for the last few decades, so I’m sure they can handle it.

    I am disturbed but not surprised to note that the racist remarks (North is something of an African American neighborhood though it is not as color-monolithic as those who fled the area a generation ago tell their children to this day) on the local news sites started before the tornado warnings were lifted by the weather service. Remarks about karma and secion eight housing. Truly, though, the majority of homes destroyed were probably owner occupied. Nonetheless, prepare, Minneapolis, for a Katrina like political circus. Good thing our mayor has his head screwed on right.

  10. #10 CherryBombSim
    May 23, 2011

    Ya. It can be strange afterwards, because everything is so….green. All the streets, all the sidewalks are just…green.

  11. #11 sandra stillman
    February 20, 2012

    man I hope that everyone left the airport in time, I have a friend in tornado country, thank goodness they have a huge basement!!

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