Sunday, April 24, 2011

Good Friday Storms

No art today, more of a weather report and storm aftermath. You in the US may have heard this on the news, but since I happened to be in it I think it definitely deserves a mention here.

First let me say we're fine, no problems here. But just a mile or so away large trees were snapped along with huge hail. We got extremely lucky here.

Late last Friday afternoon (Good Friday) we had a storm front move through, actually two big storms that met up in St Louis. They really started picking up strength west of here in Warrenton, maybe even as far west as Hermann, and tore through well into eastern Illinois. I don't know exactly how far that is, but I would think it's a good 100 miles.

These weren't your normal everyday thunderstorms. They were big and it seemed they were just about everywhere. Rain, hail and tornadoes were all there, and not just the run of the mill version. Hail the size of soft balls (that's about 4 inches for the non sporting), inches of rain and a confirmed E4 tornado (the scale goes to 5) An E4 tornado is defined as having winds from 166 to 200 miles per hour, that's big and rare. E5s are practically unheard of. Just to get an idea of how rare these are E4 and E5 tornadoes make up less than 1% of all tornadoes. It wasn't entirely unexpected. Stormy weather had been predicted for several days. There were even storm chasers in town waiting for them. They were probably still here from Tuesday when another good size storm rolled through about the same time of day. Well, they got a good show. One of the bigger cells went right over the regional weather bureau which isn't very far from here.

If you've never been a big storm complete with tornadoes consider yourself lucky, but they are extremely fickle. By that I mean one place can be totally leveled while someplace else just a few hundred yards away can come through unscathed. That's what happened here. There was a lot of destruction in New Melle just a few miles away in a straight line from here. Just a mile or so there were 12 inch trees broken down and egg size hail. Here, some hail, mostly pea size with a few piece slightly bigger. One gust of wind maybe, but nothing out of the ordinary. Didn't even blow over the trash can. Like I said we were really lucky this time.

Pictures are worth a thousand words so here are some pictures just to give you some idea. I stole most of these from the local news stations. If you'd like to see more google fox 2 news or kmov.

This is what it looked like coming in. Storm sirens are already blaring.

I forgot to mention some rather spectacular lightning.

Here's one of the tornadoes. I don't think it's one of the big ones that did most of the damage, but it's big enough. Most of the tornadoes we get around here are rain wrapped making it hard to see them. Not your classic plains tornadoes here.

That's some big hail and it was pretty widespread.

Now look at some of the damage. While you're looking at this keep in mind that there were no deaths and not even any serious injuries as far as I know. Apparently the warning systems work pretty well and I think there was a fair amount of luck involved too.

The airport was hit really bad too. There are a lot of big reinforced glass panels there that were mostly blown out. Most of the roof on one section is gone. The windows in the control tower that are supposed to be able to withstand a wind of at least 100 miles an hour were blown out. And then there this picture of a shuttle van that was apparently picked up, and is now just dangling off the side of the building.

The area in general is quite a mess. Tornado damage, flooding from the storms and normal spring floods with more rain coming today, tomorrow maybe Tuesday and Wednesday too. We'll get through it though, always have before. Nobody died so it's not that bad. One last view.


Jeanette said...

Now that's a storm. We never get anything remotely resembling that here and likely just as well!

I can't imagine the tension that goes with waiting out a big storm that packs such a punch. Amazing.

Dave B said...

It was pretty impressive. We were sitting around watching the TV. All that was on was weather warnings and radar scans and rightfully so. You just watch it coming right at you. In my case this time I'm watching, and it's coming, then it's here and nothing's happening. It's a pretty decent storm, but nothing severe. But there are reports all around me of tornado damage, huge hail, all kinds of mean, nasty things. And these were close. I mean like a mile or less close.

One really amazing thing about this particular storm was that it just kept going. Usually they get to an urban area that is drier with all the concrete and stuff and lose intensity. This one just kept going. It lasted all night right out of the local new viewing area.

The weather's really been bizarre here. Normally we get 10-15 tornadoes a year in the area. Earlier this year we had 22 in one day, and storm season is really just starting now.

Well, thanks for looking in. Was there any feedback from the newsletter?

Billie Crain said...

I can't imagine living in an area with storms such as these. Incredible photos, Dave. The pic of the lightening flashes...WOW!!!! Thank God you're okay.

Dave B said...

Thanks, we're fine, the sun even came out. Not used to that anymore.

After all the really big, killer storms they had down south these don't seem like much now. I guess it's all relative because these were plenty bad for me.

I think this post has had more hits than any other post. Maybe I should turn this into a weather commentary blog.