Vortex Confusions

Commonplace Capers, No. 9

A week to remember. Walking last Saturday from my place of employment to meet up with my spouse when she would get off of work. (We are a one car family).

The phone lit up: tornado warning! Texts started pouring in. Where are you?

Now mind you, it was not raining but the clouds did have an ominous feel, not green, but ominous.

Anyways, then Judith called, she was at the cafe in town where she waitresses. The fire department had just been through and told everyone to shelter in place.

Now mind you, I am simply walking the two miles I often do into town to meet her. Hmmm. This is odd, we are in the Catskills, not Kansas.

Then over my left shoulder I heard the sound, just as the preparation warnings foretell, it will sound like a freight train. And it did: but a freight train amplified x 10, and not at all mechanical, if that even makes sense.

By the time I registered the true threat over my left shoulder, it was gone. I did not have time to even consider jumping into a ditch. But the drenching began, and in seconds it was as if I had jumped into the deep end of the pool with all my clothes on. I was soaked to the bone.

The hard rains continued as I ran the last quarter mile into town, and found Judith unharmed, but shaken. The car unharmed, but shaken. No life was lost, the property damage, mild compared to the twisters down south and in the mid west. But barns were flattened, roofs were lost, and cars destroyed.

NOAA says it was a T2, 115 miles an hour winds. It’s path about 15 miles long, 300 yards wide.

All I know is it was scary as scary can be.

The confusing part from the experiential perspective was this. I thought it came over my left shoulder and headed into the town of Roscoe down the valley to were it also touched down in Callicoon Center. It turns out it was the complete opposite. I was at the tail end. It came up the valley from Callicoon Center, hit in Roscoe and bounced over the hill to my left. But because it was spinning counter clockwise, I experienced the winds heading back toward town, even though the twister was leaving and heading north.

So, yeah. Eyewitness accounts can get things totally backwards, without fault or blame .

52 thoughts on “Vortex Confusions

  1. Wow! I once watched a tornado pass overhead (many years ago) … will never forget how frightening that was. I’m happy that you and your wife were unharmed.

  2. Wow man, I’m so glad that you and your wife are safe, Richard! So scary. In 1968, I was 8 years young and heard a tornado nearby, it was the same sound you heard. Be well! 👍🏻🙏🏻

  3. So sorry this happened to you both and so glad you’re both okay. Mother Nature is angry with what we have done to the earth and rightly so but sorry you both were in it.

  4. Glad to hear you lived to tell the tale Richard. That must have been so scary. I recall the one that went through our city in 1987, killing 27. Stay dry and stay safe. Allan

  5. Wow that was scary. I am so glad you are both fine. Catskills seems like a weird place for a Tornado. Three years ago a Tornado (F3) destroyed our neighborhood. Our house had damage that cost $50,000.00. But north Texas, where we live, is in Tornado Alley.🌪🌩

  6. So glad you guys came out of it unharmed. We do not have tornadoes here in Germany, strong winds yes, but nothing compared to the primal power you have over there.

          1. A small community like ours, in our own local rural town, has spoken of past traumatic events too. Some reflections lasting months to years. It helps provide a comfort factor of how you all react and have familiar emotions regarding the experience. Helps you make sense of your reactions and helps healing I should imagine. All the best Richard.

  7. Oh, wow, Richard! That must have been terrifying at the time. Thank goodness you, Judith and all of your neighbours were all okay and that you didn’t sustain any lasting damage to yourselves or your home and car. What a fright, though, and it must have left you all very shaken up. In the UK, we don’t have hurricanes or tornadoes of that force; the strongest winds I have experienced have been about 80mph, although I believe other parts of the country had it worse.

    I’m sorry I’ve been absent from your blog this and some of last week. I’ve been in London protesting to the government about their inaction regarding the climate emergency. There were 90,000 protesters, all very peaceful and with no trouble, but there was an almost complete lack of coverage in the media and the press. You can bet if there had been trouble, that would have made the headlines. As it is, the government hasn’t responded at all! It makes me fear for our futures, particularly those of the next generation 🌎.

    However, I noticed on returning to WordPress and checking my emails that you hadn’t written anything during that time. Now I know why. Take good care of yourselves, Richard, 💙.

  8. tornadoes are rare in Philadelphia, where I used to live, but I remember being on the phone one day with my sister in SE Michigan and she calmly said, “Oh, I have to go. the tornado siren is going off.” I was caught in a tornado in northern Michigan when I was a child; it was terrifying and taught me the destructive power of tornadoes. Glad you are safe.

  9. Wow, Richard, this sounds incredibly harrowing! I am trying to imagine having that experience on foot. I know I definitely would have run as fast as I could. I am so glad you both are well, my friend.

  10. It is so strange, the same nature that make growing possible, make fall and fury all the same. And with the same beauty… seen from afar I mean.

    Prenez-soin de vous, et soyez prudent.
    💌💌

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