Not feeling much like Wizard of Oz jokes at the moment.... April 17, 2011 12:19 PM   Subscribe

Any fellow Mefites affected by the tornadoes yesterday?

We just got our power back on. Northern part of my county looks like a bomb went off. Lot of devastation in NC.....people I know lost their homes. I'm thankful that me and mine are safe-but some family members had close calls....how bout the rest of you?
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies to MetaFilter-Related at 12:19 PM (69 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

Yikes. I read about the Red Cross mobilizing down there. Scary stuff. Glad you and yours are safe.
posted by rmd1023 at 12:33 PM on April 17, 2011


Hugs!
posted by NoraReed at 12:35 PM on April 17, 2011


Wind blew here, power flickered, went out for about 10 minutes. Constant distant lightning last night. All good here now. The damage was further to the west of me. Hugs to all.
posted by BeerFilter at 12:41 PM on April 17, 2011


Just lots of wind, making it dangerous to barbeque. Or more fun!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:44 PM on April 17, 2011


Ours all came through two days ago. My block was totally untouched beyond some minor debris, but there are trees down everywhere, and seven people were killed. Yesterday I went for a run one street over, and it looks like a tree cemetery. Roofs smashed, privacy fences flattened, the whole shooting match. Worst storm we've had in a few years.
posted by middleclasstool at 12:48 PM on April 17, 2011


I'm guessing that if someone WAS affected by the tornadoes directly, they aren't really going to be on MoFo for a while?
posted by hal_c_on at 12:53 PM on April 17, 2011


Damn it. I meant "."
posted by hal_c_on at 12:53 PM on April 17, 2011


I'm guessing that if someone WAS affected by the tornadoes directly, they aren't really going to be on MoFo for a while?

MotoFoltor - Commonoty Woblog.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 1:04 PM on April 17, 2011 [41 favorites]


hal_c_on: "I'm guessing that if someone WAS affected by the tornadoes directly, they aren't really going to be on MoFo for a while?"

Eh, it would be my first place to go to get some normalcy. We here in Oklahoma got off very lightly from Thursday's storms. People died, but a lot less than could have. There was damage, but a lot less than I expected looking at the forecasts and data Thursday morning.
posted by wierdo at 1:07 PM on April 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm guessing that if someone WAS affected by the tornadoes directly, they aren't really going to be on MoFo for a while?
posted by hal_c_on at 12:53 PM on April 17 [+] [!]


Damn it. I meant "."
posted by hal_c_on at 12:53 PM on April 17 [+] [!]


Well, some of my homies with a tree thru the roof were keeping us up to date on their smartphones. Not sure how easy it would be to access MF thru one.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 1:09 PM on April 17, 2011


I think there were one or two fatalities in our county but from what I have seen in local pictures that is flat out a miracle. The Lowes in Sanford (a town not far from here) was totally destroyed but from what I understand everyone survived. The manager saw the tornado coming and herded everyone into the back and apparently the back held up a heckufalot better than the front. Which resembled a pile of Lowe's colored toothpicks.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 1:12 PM on April 17, 2011


I'm guessing that if someone WAS affected by the tornadoes directly, they aren't really going to be on MoFo for a while?

Eh, it would be my first place to go to get some normalcy.


It has been for me on multiple occasions, but no natural disasters ... yet. (If you didn't know I'm living in close proximity to that American nuke plant that's in close proximity to a major earthquake fault.) But Wizard Of Oz jokes? Not many of us were in Kansas to start with.
posted by oneswellfoop at 1:20 PM on April 17, 2011


In Central Kansas, we had our scare on Thursday. There were several confirmed funnels in our area, but no injuries or major damage. We watched a vortex, still in the formation stages, pass over our neighborhood.

It's eerie to look up into the swirl, feeling relieved that you're not in danger but knowing that someone else probably will be soon, like a twinge of pre-emptive survivor's guilt.

Sending best wishes to everyone affected.
posted by amyms at 1:26 PM on April 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


Not the worst tornado that has ever hit Oklahoma, but bad enough. I was trying to find a video I saw with three tornadoes coming down at once from the same wall cloud, but no luck yet.
posted by francesca too at 1:29 PM on April 17, 2011


Was wondering about you earlier today Alia, I saw parts of your part of the state got it bad. Things are OK in my part of town, not so much in other areas of town.
posted by marxchivist at 1:49 PM on April 17, 2011


Very glad you're safe Alia. And so sorry to hear about those whose lives were upended or ended because of the violent storms.

francesca too This is the best vid I saw of the Tushka multi-vortex wedge | Tushka tornado, 3 funnels, more.
posted by nickyskye at 2:09 PM on April 17, 2011 [6 favorites]


I thought about you when I heard the news this morning, St. Alia. Glad to hear you're okay.

Every year about this time, when the news fills up with stories about the spring tornado season and the destruction it wreaks in so many places, I think about the summers I spent with my grandmother in Illinois. I never saw a tornado, but spent more than one evening cowering in the basement as my grandma - a lifelong Midwesterner - sat out on the front stoop watching the sky turn green and spitting watermelon seeds onto the driveway. I find I prefer the unpredictable if ever-present threat of earthquakes preferable to the more frequent and (to me) more terrifying reality of tornadoes.

Best wishes to all those affected - please stay safe!
posted by rtha at 2:12 PM on April 17, 2011 [3 favorites]


Holy cow, nickyskye!
posted by rtha at 2:15 PM on April 17, 2011


I'm on the north side of Dallas, and the best we had was about 20 minutes of crazy hail and rain a few nights ago. I know Oklahoma got hammered, and some friends up on that side of the river said that some small towns looked like war zones. We have some friends who just bought a new house over east of Dallas, and they definitely had a little hail damage, which, in the grand scheme of things, isn't too bad, considering what could have happened.
posted by SNWidget at 2:36 PM on April 17, 2011


I have family in the Carolinas, and they got hit real bad.
posted by silentsender at 2:45 PM on April 17, 2011


Mississippi here, we had one go through Jackson on Friday and I'm still waiting to hear about friends and family of friends and family, but other than that, I think that we came through pretty intact. The sirens went off here four times and we spent a lot of time in the back of the office. It was some scary shit. I miss California.
posted by patheral at 2:46 PM on April 17, 2011


Just got done looking at more pics and videos. I am very very very blessed that all I had was a power outage. Neighborhoods literally ten or fifteen minutes away from me look like a war zone.

I'm really a bit shaken with just how quick it hit, too. I was on my computer when the tornado warning came over but I was confused trying to figure out if it was for the next county over which I knew had a funnel down-then our lights flickered, flickered again and then we lost our power. Since we have power outages in this neighborhood fairly often I wasn't too concerned. I had signed up for a tv station weather alert thing-they send me texts when we have severe weather-and I hadn't gotten a text yet.

I got the text an hour and a half AFTER the storm hit. If that tornado had been just a bit more south.....

(Like idiots we left the house right after the power went out-hubby wanted me to go with him on a work related drive. It is while we were in the car talking to his boss on the phone that we realized what was going on. His boss lived in one of the heavily hit neighborhoods, had a tree land on his house and his truck, and his neighbor's roof was GONE. We pulled over and we wound up talking to a lady who actually heard the tornado. Now I know just how dang close we were to it.)
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 2:50 PM on April 17, 2011


When severe weather is predicted, I'm constantly checking the radar. Whether I'm at home or out and about. But for those who aren't, please spend the paltry sum and purchase a NOAA Weather Radio.

I was also driving around in our weather situation. One of the local radio stations turned on the hype machine and everybody and their grandmother got out on the road to get home from work. Traffic jam city until the tornado sirens went off. Knowing where the rotation was, I wasn't terribly concerned since I was a few miles north and heading away, so I went and got some gas. :P

Yeah, I'm nuts.
posted by wierdo at 3:01 PM on April 17, 2011


Eh, it would be my first place to go to get some normalcy.

MeFi offers many things. Normalcy is not among them.
posted by jonmc at 3:17 PM on April 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


Jonmc for the win.
posted by hal_c_on at 4:14 PM on April 17, 2011


One of the reasons I love Oregon is that we don't have earthquakes or tornadoes here. All we have to worry about is the odd volcano.

Best wishes to everyone in the storm zone.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 4:46 PM on April 17, 2011


That the video, Nickyskye. Terrifying!
posted by francesca too at 4:57 PM on April 17, 2011


Here's footage of the calmest man in the world watching a tornado pass him in Wilson, NC
posted by BeerFilter at 5:16 PM on April 17, 2011 [26 favorites]


If that tornado had been just a bit more south.....

A bit north, in my case; it touched down two miles from our store, where we were nervously joking with customers as we watched the sky turn black and nearby signs and trees start bending horizontal. I kept the little kids calm; we were in a strong one-story building with a windowless back area mostly underground that we could crowd into if necessary. I grew up in Ohio so knew there's not much else you can do as you wait for a tornado to go by, although it didn't help when a customer announced a text message from his wife that the authorities were warning folks to stay away from our street and area of town.

Here's a snippet of time-lapse footage from a downtown TV tower of the tornado front approaching. It looks huge. Shaw University buildings took so much damage they're closing down early for the semester.

I spent the afternoon today biking around to see the damage on S. Saunders Street, where it tore a huge 60-foot segment of metal roofing off the top of Earp's Seafood and deposited it vertically against a house a block away. Scary shit. As was the gaping hole it ripped in the back of a cinderblock building - half the roof and back wall just gone. I saw thick iron gates twisted off their hinges just by the power of the wind, tons of downed trees, power poles broken and wires hanging everywhere, transformers crushed onto cars, pieces of metal wrapped around branches high in trees...it felt pretty apocalyptic except for the gorgeous weather and young folks without electricity sitting in lawn chairs jamming to their car stereos.

It's been years since I've been that close to a tornado. My friends all seem to have come through without serious damage, but my heart goes out to the folks who lost everything and to the families of the dead. It's always particularly horrifying when it happens in your neighborhood.
posted by mediareport at 5:18 PM on April 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


HOLY SHIT, Beerfilter. That video....it's...I'm....When he says "hang on I love you" as it passes almost right over him, then you see the flashes of lightning or electrical explosions in the rearview mirror in the corner...jesus. My chills still haven't stopped.
posted by mediareport at 5:24 PM on April 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


Beerfilter, you weren't lying. Dang.

Mediareport, your timelapse video for some reason was simply terrifying. Glad you are ok, btw.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 5:27 PM on April 17, 2011


Aerial photo of the Lowes. From this gallery.
posted by rtha at 5:30 PM on April 17, 2011


BeerFilter: "Here's footage of the calmest man in the world watching a tornado pass him in Wilson, N"

Perhaps slightly too calm. He should have repositioned himself a few hundred yards to his right. He's lucky he didn't get his head taken off by a flying 2x4 or have his truck flung a ways. Even weak tornadoes can send vehicles flying.
posted by wierdo at 5:32 PM on April 17, 2011


My uncle was in a vehicle in Sanford yesterday (where the Lowe's in rtha's link is/was) and the car ahead of him was picked up and tossed into a field. His vehicle "just" had the windows broken out of it.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 5:34 PM on April 17, 2011


I'm glad to hear you're all right, Alia. As for this place, during our fun with the earthquake, Metafilter was (and continues to be) the best place I've found for information about the earthquake, tsunami, nuclear disaster, and more than likely, impending rain of frogs, locusts, and rivers turning to blood. I checked in as regularly as I could, and you guys kept me safe, sane, and moderately relieved.
posted by Ghidorah at 5:36 PM on April 17, 2011 [5 favorites]


Here's footage of the calmest man in the world watching a tornado pass him in Wilson, N

"Ayup. Look like it's comin' right at me."

Oh, Midwesterner guy. Your glacial calm in the face imminent danger will never cease to shame me. I would be all FUCK SHIT FUCK GONNA DIE FUCK FUCK FUCK WHY DID I THINK STOPPING TO VIDEO A FUCKING TORNADO WAS A GOOD IDEA AAAAAAAAAAHHGGGG.

We weathered the storm with no appreciable damage, thankfully. Lost a few limbs off the trees but nothing hit the house and we didn't even lose power, which usually happens when anyone on our part of the grid sneezes near a transformer.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 5:49 PM on April 17, 2011


The NC Metroids are all safe and sound. My thoughts are with everyone affected, and I'm really hoping the rest of the season will be calm.
posted by Metroid Baby at 6:02 PM on April 17, 2011


Here in Cary we had lots of heavy rain and some strong winds, but that was about it. Luckily, most of our power lines are underground so no power outage. All in all, it was a five out of 10 as compared to living in Central Illinois and absolutely nothing compared to surviving Hurricane Fran back in '96. That was a fucking bummer and a half since I was without power for two weeks while living in the heart of Raleigh.
posted by NoMich at 6:24 PM on April 17, 2011


No storms in the mountains. They must have crossed us en route but aside from some pretty heavy rain on Friday night, nothing. I didn't even need to give Theo the paranoid meteorology dog one of his newly prescribed xanax or wrap him in his ThunderShirt (we just got it; don't know if it works yet. It seems to be helping plus he looks really spiffy so that's nice too.) and since the last time there was even a moderate thunderstorm he tried to dig a hole through the kitchen floor, that nothing really means nothing.
posted by mygothlaundry at 6:52 PM on April 17, 2011 [5 favorites]


I was wondering about the severity --- my poor mother (in Cali) gets so worried when the national news media starts screaming, "Storms rip through Southern states, causing major devastation!!"

There were thunderbolts-and-lightning in ATL, but nothing nearly as bad as the pictures I've seen online (and here.) I am from earthquake country, and it's much the same - we all want to express the fear and anxiety when something so *potentially* devastating happens right near us. :(

Godspeed!
posted by polly_dactyl at 6:57 PM on April 17, 2011


Here's the one that hit Jackson, MS... Stormchasers caught it.
posted by patheral at 7:18 PM on April 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


Glad everyone here is okay. I'm in Raleigh, on the north side of town, and we got quarter-sized hail that piled up in the front yard but no serious damage. I have friends who live near downtown whose neighborhoods were hit really hard.

We didn't even know there were tornadoes until after the fact. After six years of being disappointed in North Carolina's weak thunderstorms, I had sort of discounted the possibility that we could have truly severe weather here and it didn't even occur to me to take the forecast seriously. I grew up in Tornado Alley, where there are sirens to alert everyone about tornado warnings, and I didn't realize how important they are until yesterday. Really feel like we dodged a bullet.
posted by something something at 7:30 PM on April 17, 2011


Perhaps slightly too calm. He should have repositioned himself a few hundred yards to his right. He's lucky he didn't get his head taken off by a flying 2x4 or have his truck flung a ways. Even weak tornadoes can send vehicles flying.

Well the thing is, the path of a tornado is highly unpredictable and as you can see from the video they come up on you frighteningly quickly. It could've gone much worse for him if he had been going at top speed when he encountered a 400 mph crosswind, or baseball size hail through his windshield. Staying put was probably his best course of action.

/armchair survival expert
posted by TungstenChef at 8:26 PM on April 17, 2011


Like something something, we didn't know how lucky we were until after the fact. My daughter and I were out shopping when I got a text from my wife saying that a tornado had come within a mile of where she was at work. After returning home we talked to the neighbors and found out that the twister that hit Sanford so hard was headed right for us until it veered north. Scary stuff. I'm from blizzard/nor'easter country, so it looks like I'm due for a bit of an education about tornadoes.
posted by Rock Steady at 9:18 PM on April 17, 2011


Chocolate Pickle: One of the reasons I love Oregon is that we don't have earthquakes or tornadoes here. All we have to worry about is the odd volcano.

I would have to point you to Cascadia Subduction Zone if you think Oregon has no earthquakes. Researchers believe a quake in this region caused a tsunami in Japan 300 or so years ago, and the next big one ( > 9 Richter) is expected within 50 years. You may want to move.
posted by hariya at 1:06 AM on April 18, 2011


One of the reasons I love Oregon is that we don't have earthquakes or tornadoes here.

In 2001 or 2002, Portland felt an earthquake that was centered in Olympia or something. I remember because I, a native Californian who went through constant earthquake drills as a child, immediately dove underneath my desk whereas my colleagues at work were just sitting there wondering what was happening. IIRC it knocked chunks of masonry off of some buildings. And next time Portland might not be so lucky.
posted by cmonkey at 1:52 AM on April 18, 2011


My daughter, granddaughter, and son in law spent the night with us after they were safely evacuated from their apartment due to the wildfires just west of Austin. Gov. Rick Perry, who just a few months ago was telling the feds to stay out of our business and talking about seceding from the union, is now asking for Obama to declare Texas a disaster area and supply federal aid. What a schmuck.
posted by Daddy-O at 5:04 AM on April 18, 2011


This is one of those times that emphasize that "Raleigh-Durham" (or Durham-Raleigh as we say in the Bull City) is not a single unified place. Here in Durham we basically had thunderstorms, while Raleigh seems to have been torn into little pieces. Glad to hear everybody is doing okay.
posted by hydropsyche at 6:18 AM on April 18, 2011


Well, some of my homies with a tree thru the roof were keeping us up to date on their smartphones. Not sure how easy it would be to access MF thru one.

Easdt as poe!

:: Sent from my DroidX ::
posted by quonsar II: smock fishpants and the temple of foon at 7:53 AM on April 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


They tested our sirens here in Minneapolis last Thursday evening--usually they're tested once a month in the daytime, so my kids pretty much shit their pants when the sirens started blaring at dinner, given that it was coincidentally fairly windy outside. It gave us a nice opportunity to discuss how they should just haul ass to the basement first in the event of a real emergency and worry about blankies and Nintendos and such later.
posted by padraigin at 7:56 AM on April 18, 2011


Yeah, Texas is pretty much on fire. anybody in the Austin area needs any help, hit me up.
posted by Devils Rancher at 8:13 AM on April 18, 2011


As a side-effect of the storms, the Surry Nuclear Power Plant in Virginia has shut down after being struck by a tornado, and losing its external connection to the electrical grid. The diesel generators have turned on, and are apparently located in a safe place.

Also, extensive flooding is being reported in Georgetown, DC.
posted by schmod at 9:06 AM on April 18, 2011


Glad to hear everyone's okay.

Heavy rain in Chapel Hill, but no real damage. The record store where I work flooded (as it is apt in heavy rains). The wet vac, my coworker and I performed a surprise Record Store Day set with something like twenty-six twelve gallon encores. Amazingly, this didn't actually keep customers away.
posted by thivaia at 10:18 AM on April 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


In Focus has pictures of the damage, some are pretty close to home. I was really lucky yesterday, just wind, rain and hail. No power loss. A big-ass tree fell on the State Archives/State Library building in Raleigh, luckily it didn't even dent the place.
posted by marxchivist at 2:15 PM on April 18, 2011


cmonkey, that would've been the 2001 Nisqually earthquake -- I was in Lakewood & had much the same experience: under my desk before I was even totally aware of the quake, while my (German) intern was staring out the window in bogglement and my Washingtonian co-workers were shoving each other trying to run outside. (A friend of a friend who was living in Olympia ended up salvaging a tiny piece of the 4th Ave bridge for his garden, IIRC.)

I used to argue with a Texan friend about quakes vs tornadoes & hurricanes. I prefer the short duration of a quake; she liked the advance notice of storms.

Also, glad to hear St Alia & all the southern/midwestern MeFites are doing ok.
posted by epersonae at 4:15 PM on April 18, 2011


I'm in Fayetteville for work* and they seem to be pretty hemmed up with mashed up houses and closed neighborhoods. This bar seems unaffected though, except for the cheesy acoustic singer dropping a tornado reference into his version of Margaritaville ('wastin away again in fukin fayetteville').

*FYI for any robbers reading who might want to burgle my shit.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 5:42 PM on April 18, 2011


cheesy acoustic singer dropping a tornado reference into his version of Margaritaville

Potomac Avenue, that's so perfectly Fayetteville. Now I'm all nostalgic.
posted by Kloryne at 6:15 PM on April 18, 2011


Wow, all kinds of Metafilter Fayetteville action, I'll be there this Wednesday. Won't have much time for sight seeing though, just doing some training and picking some stuff up.
posted by marxchivist at 6:29 PM on April 18, 2011


Downtown's not affected at all. If you need to get on to Fort Bragg you are in deep kimchi. Folks I know who live on post are having to deal with major traffic snarls seeing as at least two roads into Bragg (Reilly and Yadkin) are the ones heavily hit and closed off.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 6:30 PM on April 18, 2011


(If any of you Fayetteville people need any local info PM me.)
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 6:31 PM on April 18, 2011


We're fine here. Power went out a bit to the north and south of us, but we didn't lose but a shingle. Cinder block house: the wind can huff and puff all it wants.
posted by EarBucket at 7:28 PM on April 18, 2011


Yeah, 90 percent of Possum Kingdom Lake Park has burned down here in Texas in addition to all the sirens, wind damage, etc. :(
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 9:41 PM on April 18, 2011


Beerfilter, that video is strangely hilarious. "There goes a roof." He's really lucky that debris didn't go through his window or something.

I've never heard the sound of a tornado recorded that close to the actual storm. I've always heard the noise described as a freight train, but that video makes it sound more like 500 horses (or is that the sound of hail?).

My condolences to everyone who was affected.
posted by longdaysjourney at 5:05 AM on April 19, 2011


Here's an interview with the Calmest Man in the World.
posted by longdaysjourney at 7:44 AM on April 19, 2011


Round Two's currently smacking Arkansas. Here's hoping it's tamer than the last.
posted by middleclasstool at 6:34 PM on April 19, 2011


I woke up this morning to news of the death of a baby from storm-related injuries-- that makes 4 children dead in one family who were living in a mobile home in Raleigh. How any mother can possibly cope with such a tragedy is beyond my imagination.

Me? I was taking a nap during the worst of it.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 6:58 PM on April 19, 2011


Our one fatality was an elderly lady who lived in my parents' community. According to the story she had just put her makeup on when the storm hit. Her daughter and her husband were in the trailer with her and they were trying to coax her out of her chair to safety...a picture of the daughter, her face terribly bruised, was on the front page of our paper this morning.

So sorry to hear about the infant, and stunned to hear the baby was part of the family that had already lost so much...
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 7:28 PM on April 19, 2011


I hope everyone in St. Louis is doing okay. This is helicopter footage of some of the damage from yesterday's tornadoes.
posted by rtha at 5:47 PM on April 23, 2011


Seconding rtha.....
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 7:23 PM on April 23, 2011


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