Fun with tornadoes...not so much!

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Stealth Camper
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Fun with tornadoes...not so much!

Postby Stealth Camper » Wed Sep 28, 2016 10:55 am

If I am repeating myself with any of this, please forgive...I know I haven't posted much of it yet....

I have a full time temporary home for a job I have in Oklahoma City, while trying to also live in the northeast part of the state. Have been full time rv'er for 10 years, so one has to like camping to do this. I also have the bus project that I make tiny little bits of progress on from time to time, but will mostly wait for a little while longer to pay more attention to it. 6 May, 2015 we - being the people that I live with in the full time temporary place - had a tornado come through and blast it into oblivion. This type of experience can be traumatic, and while I came out of it unscathed compared to many, I do have a tough time 'revisiting' it in terms of looking at pics I took at the time. Hence the delay in this post. I used to keep many of them on my phone and shared with friends/family not directly involved. Just looked at them again for the first time in several months and thought I would share some of it....small pieces at a time - mainly 'cause it takes so long to edit the pics for showing.

First - we had tornadoes a week before this one came through, and SWMBO and I had been out to dinner and on the way back, a small tornado (F2 or so) had caught me out of the car taking pictures of the storm, so I got caught in the debris cloud just a little bit. It was literally like walking into a full body sandblaster. Less fun than one would hope... Got back in car and drove away fast, but it kind of jangles the nerves and sets the tone for the entire spring storm season. A week after the 6 May storm, we were back at our other less temporary home, and had another F2 come through less than a mile from the house. I am now convinced the Storm Gods are actively searching for me!! I feel that search continues today!

May 6.

Weather reports said storms likely afternoon through the evening into the night. Few things around here more exciting than tornadoes after dark! I work at the edge of a small town that houses the National Storm Center - Norman, OK, so they should know, and they said these could be severe with likely tornadoes! About 4:00 pm, everyone left the office to go to their homes, and I decided to go south a few miles and just sit this one out and maybe get some pictures from a distance. So far, so good. Went to a little town called Goldsby and found a truck stop parking lot to watch had a great view of the first storm of the day. By the end of the day, the rv park had 19 people in the hospital, 9 critical condition, but NO deaths!

So, with big thunderstorms, lightning, hail, tornadoes, and extreme winds moving into the area, what would one expect people to do to prepare for that? Take cover, perhaps? Find a storm shelter? Avoid large metal objects that might attract lightning? Well, in probably every other state of the union, that might be the preferred approach.

The only problem with that is you might miss seeing something very cool !!

So, get a ladder. Put it against a nice tall metal box and climb up to see!! Lower left hand corner...see the Okies! I do have to confess, I really wanted to go climb up there, too! The center of the pic is where the first tornado of the day is located. It was an F1, about 1/4 mile wide. Under the wall cloud slightly to the right, you can see a little lighter area with a rain burst going to the ground. The funnel was rain wrapped and centered behind that tan building in the center.

This is the one that went directly over the plant I work at and took out some power poles, lots of trees and pulled part of the roof off the building. So far, so good...not too bad.


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This picture is the same storm about 5 minutes later, moving east as it headed toward Norman. Little blurry, but the edge of the rain/funnel is center of pic, and is the entire dark area to the left.



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This shot was taken at the exact time it was over the plant tearing stuff up.




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I 'followed' the storm as it went on by, heading north to go home. Still plenty of storm, and more cells building on my left. I think they said we had about 15 tornadoes in the area over the next 4 hours. More than enough for me.



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Re: Fun with tornadoes...not so much!

Postby Stealth Camper » Wed Sep 28, 2016 11:18 am

So for the next 4 hours I played bumper cars with some large storms that came rolling through. I had just evaded the 5th tornado on my path and by 8:30 pm, I was ready to go home and settle in. Wife was at other home watching news and called me to say there was another funnel crossing I-35 at I-44 - two interstates in OKC. I said that was about 10 miles from me, so no problem. She called back 30 seconds later saying no, it was 44 street and had damaged hotel, mini-storage, and rv park. Turns out they were pretty well obliterated.

I got back and parked two blocks away and waded into what looked like a war zone out of "Apocalypse Now". I only stayed a few minutes, realizing I could only get in the way of the emergency workers already there, so I left. Came back the next morning to start the "picking up the pieces" part of this.

First view as drove up to the place.



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Second view. Wasn't getting any better....



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This was my front room. As you will see, it really wasn't that bad at all.



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Looking down the road....


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Kinda tough to pick them out, but there are 7 large 5th wheel RV's in that pile. Not counting the bus on the right.



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Re: Fun with tornadoes...not so much!

Postby Stealth Camper » Wed Sep 28, 2016 11:19 am

Enough for now. More later....

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Dennis The Bus Dweller
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Re: Fun with tornadoes...not so much!

Postby Dennis The Bus Dweller » Tue Oct 04, 2016 11:58 pm

Wow
Peace along the way
Dennis the bus dweller N.Y.

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Dennis The Bus Dweller
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Re: Fun with tornadoes...not so much!

Postby Dennis The Bus Dweller » Wed Oct 05, 2016 12:00 am

Wow
Peace along the way

Dennis the bus dweller N.Y.

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Re: Fun with tornadoes...not so much!

Postby Stealth Camper » Wed Oct 05, 2016 11:13 am

Good to see you back, Dennis!

Oklahoma is a rough neighborhood in recent years! Add earthquakes to the list, now. Fun and games. I took a couple hundred pics of this - and no, don't worry, I am not gonna inflict all that on here. Just some of what I thought were the most memorable - ones that stick in my mind, knowing the history of what went on.

Now, granted, this wasn't the strongest trailer in the world to start with, but dammm... Was at far southeast corner of the park, flew over the entire 5 acres or so, landing 550 feet away at the northwest corner of the park, disassembly in process throughout the trip.




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Welcome to Oklahoma!! We always keep the welcome mat - or sign - out to greet!



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Last edited by Stealth Camper on Thu Oct 06, 2016 7:26 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Fun with tornadoes...not so much!

Postby Stealth Camper » Wed Oct 05, 2016 11:44 am

Walt and Nadine are two people who have been there almost as long as I have - about 1 year less. Older, less healthy. Walt got out of hospital after surgery on Tues. Storm hit on Wed. They couldn't get to the park tornado shelters, so rode it out. Behind the white camper truck is what theirs looked like afterward. They were both in hospital for another week or so. Both healed up and are back at the park in a nice new trailer. I visit with them regularly.



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More chaos....



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These people were just passing through. They had picked up the new white pickup and a new trailer in Dallas on Tuesday. Got to OKC. Wed night, this is what it looked like. Their trailer was upside down just to the right of the truck - one foot stand can be seen upside down to the right.



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Re: Fun with tornadoes...not so much!

Postby Stealth Camper » Wed Oct 05, 2016 12:00 pm

Early in this, I showed a pile of 7 large 5th wheels. This is the back side of that pile. The brown truck had been thrown up against a trailer, then the red one was lifted and leaned against the brown one. There was a guy thrown out of one of those and kind of flung around like a rag doll. He was apparently up in the air some amount, but came down on the ground right at the left side of that brown truck. Just in time for the red one to be placed strategically over him.... At least it kept some of the rain off of him after that! Not really. He went to the hospital with minor scratches/bruises. That has to be one of the luckiest guys in the world !!

To the left of the red truck, out of view is another trailer. A 17 year old boy was in another one even more to the left of that one, got flung out when it started rolling and disassembling. He got pinned under the first one to the left for a couple hours. Broke both legs, some ribs, one arm, and was in very serious danger of drowning - did I mention the park was also flooded with about 18" water through all of this?? Even with all this, we as a group were a bunch of very lucky people!



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Couple of miscellaneous piles of debris.....



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Front view of Walt and Nadine's trailer....Avion. It was originally about 40 feet to the left, 2 spaces over from there.




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Re: Fun with tornadoes...not so much!

Postby Stealth Camper » Wed Oct 05, 2016 12:19 pm

My little corner of paradise! The green Dodge is mine - the Road Toad - and to the right, there is a Lance laying on it's side. That came from the left side of the road and slammed into my home - can just barely see the front of it above/behind the side trailer. I had lots of damage to the trailer and it was totaled, but was not disassembled like most of these. I threw away a lot - almost everything inside except clothes - washed them and they were ok. And a television that now has a black spot in the middle but I keep it anyway. Memories, I guess. Not sure why...

Total of 68 RV's destroyed. Some people hurt. Not that bad. The tornado I mentioned that was a week earlier didn't hurt many, but destroyed a school and about 100+ homes. Both were small tornadoes.

In 2013, there was a massive F5 that swept through Moore, OK, about 5 miles south of this and cut a massive swath through the town. Imagine what you see here, only 3/4 mile wide and about 8 miles long. Killed a few dozen. Hundreds of homes, several schools - one elementary where there were about 8 or 9 little kids killed ! Tragic!! One the balance side, that school had 450 kids that went home safe and sound - minor injuries. Some around here 'second guess' the safety procedures and the way the schools respond, but those procedures saved 450 kids that day!!


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Also in that 2013 storm, there was a small farm destination experience called Orr Family Farm. They were destroyed but have since rebuilt. There was one remaining little bit to this story - after that F5, there was a strange thing occurred near my neighborhood. 1 block away, there is a small little neighborhood of houses. About 4 of those houses also got destroyed in this storm. Very run down. Very poor people. A male peacock showed up day after the storm - I think he was from Orr Family Farm. He apparently blew in from somewhere on the winds and took up residence. Some of the people have adopted him and I get to see him on the way to work and back home fairly often - sometimes he is off doing his own peacock thing, but always shows up sometime. This hit so close, I and the neighborhood thought that maybe he was gone. Two days later - guess who shows up?

Good to see he made it! This time of year they molt, so he is looking a little ragged now, but I saw him last night on the way home. Nice.



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Re: Fun with tornadoes...not so much!

Postby stuartcnz » Fri Oct 07, 2016 3:17 pm

I suspect that if you have not been through an experience like that, there is no way of really understanding what it is like.
I've never experienced a tornado, nor am I in a hurry to do so.
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Re: Fun with tornadoes...not so much!

Postby Stealth Camper » Sun Jul 16, 2017 1:03 pm

Just came here to look and I can still see all these pics. Are they phasing this in? Or are they blocked for everyone's view except me?

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somewhereinusa
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Re: Fun with tornadoes...not so much!

Postby somewhereinusa » Sun Jul 16, 2017 11:56 pm

I can see them. Do you have a paid photobucket account?

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Re: Fun with tornadoes...not so much!

Postby Stealth Camper » Tue Jul 18, 2017 9:56 am

somewhereinusa wrote:I can see them. Do you have a paid photobucket account?


No. It is the free account. Not sure why they still show up. Maybe just haven't gotten to me yet.


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