Has Anyone Here SEEN a Tornado?

I am fascinated by tornadoes for some reason. I even have frequent dreams about them.

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I have lived through a couple of twisters, but I never actually got a look at them. (One hit at night, and during the other, my parents had us hunkered down under mattresses.)

I did see a waterspout a couple of years ago at the beach. It was magnificent. I first noticed a spray of water kicking up from the ocean, and pointed it out to my friends. Then the spray got higher, and in the meantime, the cloud above it started dipping down toward the water. Finally, water and cloud met in the middle, and a good old-fashined waterspout formed. It was not too far from shore and for a while, it looked like it might be headed our way, but then it veered off to the right and finally dissipated. Total elapsed time: maybe 5 or 10 minutes.

Has anyone out there ever gotten a good look at tornado? Please share. I’m interested in any good tornado stories, but I am most interested in actual sightings of the critters. (And if anyone knows, is there any substantive difference between a tornado and a waterspout, or is a waterspout just a tornado over the water?)

I drove through a small one (F1) last year. We were too close to see the formation of the funnel, just saw the wind whipping and the lightning. It was very impressive.

I’m a weather fan myself. The coolest storm I ever saw was an electrical storm in California, followed closely by thunderstorms in Montana. It’s called Big Sky country up there, and they produce some great thunderstorms.

The Turtle Moves

I lived for a few years in Kansas but never saw one (we did have a few however).

Ironically, I have see two in the last couple of years right here in Utah even though Utah doesn’t have tornadoes. :slight_smile:

The first on was two summers ago as I was sitting under a blanket on my back patio watching a dark thunderstorm roll in off the Great Salt Lake (one of my favorite past times). I saw a couple of funnel clouds begin to form and slowly get longer and larger until one touched down into the lake. It was awesome but a little unnerving considering how close it was to my house.

Soon after, a second one touched down a few miles from the first.

Last year as I was working out in aerobic class during my lunch hour, someone commented about how dark it was getting outside. Afterward, I took the stairs to my office and just as I got to my floor my ears felt clogged and then I saw a tornado pass right outside the stairwell window. In some strange way it was quite beautiful, especially the pink color.

It did a lot of distraction, a guy I work with lost his house as did many other people, trees hundreds of years old were destroyed (my daughter help in the clean-up of Memory Grove and if I am remembering correctly so did Byz), many injuries and one death.

Both times were fascinating, but I don’t want to see another, thank you.

Pardon me while I burst into flames.

I was working in Alabama one summer years ago, and I was in the lounge of this hotel we were staying at, shooting pool.

I never saw the funnel clouds (there were two of them, I learned later). But the power blinked off and on, I looked up to see the bartender looking out the glass door, mouth agape. I ran up to see what she was seeing, and I saw the huge hotel sign, ripped up and hanging there, as a newspaper vending machine cartwheeled by the door.

“We are here for this – to make mistakes and to correct ourselves, to withstand the blows and to hand them out.” Primo Levi

Once, during one of our famous Florida thunderstorms, I saw a funnel cloud start to dip down from the cloud. Dad and I were about a mile away from it, and it never touched down, but I thought it was the coolest thing… I signed up for Skywarn a few weeks later. Of course, I haven’t seen anything since. sigh

Sheesh! You’d think Scotty would have an extra set of dilithium crystals in his toolbox. But noooooo…

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I have dreams about seeing tornadoes a lot, too; I’ve always wanted to see one, never have, though.

The closest I’ve come was several years ago. It was dark, I was driving home, and drove through an area where a tornado had come through about 15 minutes before. That’s about it, but maybe one day…

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When I was a kid in the suburbs of St. Louis we had a tornado warning and my mom put me in the corner of the lower level of our split foyer home with a recliner pushed against me and reclined over my head. Then she went outside to watch. :rolleyes: The tornado “bounced” off of another neighborhood where it tore off some rooves of my classmates and was on its way up when it went over ours. When it was apparent that the tornado was shrinking back into the clouds Mom called me out to look at it.

It was cool! Every adult in the neighborhood, as far as I could tell, was outside looking into the sky with their hands above their eyes like a salute. The rain and stopped and it was kind of bright in the sky. There where they were all looking was a black cloud with a twisty funnel coming out of it. The tornado wasn’t very big; only did roof damage with no deaths or injuries. Does that still count?

When I was about 5, my mother and I went to pick up my older sister at school. A tornado swept right across the street we were driving on. I saw the funnel all the way down to the ground, ripping the roof off a house and sucking everything up.

Very memorable.

I understand all the words, they just don’t make sense together like that.

Oh, and I’m not sure of this, but I think there is a significant difference between tornadoes and waterspouts. For one thing, tornadoes are generally much stronger. I think there are also some differences in formation, as well. Tornadoes generally form from “super cells” (or whatever they call those really severe thunderstorms), I don’t think waterspouts necessarily do. I could be wrong, of course.

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That’s the roofs of my classmates’ houses. I’m not sure what the sentence I wrote means. :slight_smile: Note to self: learn how to proofread

Back in 1985 several twisters moved across northwestern Pennsylvania where I happened to be living at the time. We were at a friend of the family’s house when the weather started getting very strange. You could feel the electricity in the air. It had an almost metallic quality, and the sky was greenish. We were looking out the window at the fields across from their house when we saw a portion of a huge thunderhead reaching toward the ground. I know why they call it the “finger of God”. It actually touched down about two miles from where we were observing it, and you could see the debris starting to rise. I was scared shitless, and my parents moved all of us into the basement. It was moving away from us so we never felt the effects, but it was still pretty scary. My dad actually went outside for a brief moment, and said that it indeed sound like a freight train as twisters have been said to do.

When I lived in KS '76-'78, there was one time I saw three of 'em at the same time. I gaped for about 30 seconds before my mom hustled me and my sister into the closet.

When I was at camp in upstate NY (~'72?) a small tornado passed about 30-50 yards away from me. It was too close to actually see (and I had no idea what was happening or what to look for), but I’m told it’s a miracle I survived; I don’t remember even feeling a breeze while I watched a half dozen trees get uprooted and pulverized.

Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana.

About 5 years ago I was living in Minneapolis and I saw one forming over downtown. Even got pictures of it. The tornado touched down a few minutes after I took my pictures.

The Stanley Cup: A repeat is in the STARS!

Yeah, WIGGUM, I have experienced that locomotive sound myself. In fact, I was awakened by that sound one night in my apartment. It sounded just like a locomotive bearing down on me.

I scrambled out of bed, and went into the living room. The sliding glass door there was rhythmically bulging inward and outward. I thought it was going to shatter at any moment. I ran back into the bedroom and threw on some clothes. (I had a quick vision of me being pulled out of the wreckage in my skivvies on network television.Yikes!)

The storm passed, and I never got any confirmation on whether it had been a tornado (though I can’t imagine anything else could have made that sound).

Okay, my co-worker and I were returning from Saskatoon and driving through one of the weirdest summer storms I had ever seen. The sky was green and it was really quiet. I joked to her, “we better watch out for funnel clouds.” About five minutes later we round a bend in the road and there’s a tornado ripping up some farmer’s field off to our right. We didn’t make anymore jokes, we did take some panoramic pics of it. Hit the rainstorm part of the storm later, all in all pretty impressive little bit of weather that was.

I live in Iowa, and that should be enuff said!
But, you are looking for great stories and I have a few!
One year on mothers’ day when we were sitting at grandmas’ house looking through family albums my mother looked up and realized that the sky was green-grey and hazy looking.
Well, alright everybody head to the care we are going home! Not a long drive, but scary enuff.
One the old highway there are corn fields on both sides. Imagine that! Anyway my brothers and sister and I were all crammed in the back of my moms’ toyota celica and looking out over the fields when lo and behold they started moving!
First it was all dusty, and then you could see the funnel. My mother actually passed a police car that day!
We pull up in front of the apartment building and start spilling out of the car like clowns when my mother froze in her shoes. I am standing at our door now frozen myself because she is not moving!
Her girlfriend picks her up and carries her in about the same time my younger brother is dragging me down the stairs.
Little damage in our neighborhood, but it is something I will never forget.
Story two…
I went to pick up a friend of mine from where we worked and it was getting ready to storm.
My SO at the time called and said that they had the sirens going off where I lived and to hurry up.
Now, I had brought a friend with me who just happened to be pregnant, and the girl I was picking up was pregnant but nobody but me knew that yet.
I helped them close the resturant down and we wished everybody safe driving and went on our way.
A bit down the road the street lights on the new highway go out and there is lightening flashing everywhere. That is the only lite that I am now driving by since it was raining so hard that headlights were pointless.
Out of the back seat the girl I went to pick up makes mention that wouldn’t it be cool if in the next flash of lite we saw the outline of a tornado?!
We pulled up to one of the standard land marks for the area, and there are trees and all kinds of debries all over the place.
When we got home a few minutes later everybody in the apartment building was outside waiting for us to pull in!
We had followed the tornado from town. It is so calm on the backside of a tornado it is almost creepy.
Okay, so there are two of my stories. I hope they were vivid enuff for you. I have more any time you are ready.

Mistress Kricket

Are you stuck on stupid?

I have been in one. Or next to it, or under it, or something. The roof of Woodson High School dropped about fifty feet in front of my car, and all the telephone poles in fell over in front and behind me. (The one closest hung up, halfway down, stretched between the ones in front which fell to the left, and the ones behind which fell to the right.) Scared the crap out of my family and me. I drove away. I never saw it, didn’t know it was a tornado until I heard it on the news. I didn’t drive to anywhere, just away from whatever it was.

It wasn’t loud at all, in fact, just before it happened it was eerily quiet for a minute or so. The stuff fell out of the sky, and poles started slapping the concrete. I would never go outside to look at one. Never. No. Thanks, I will cower in the basement.


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Not necessarily. A waterspout can be a mild whirlwind effect over water (I’ve seen several over water or frozen water). The terrestrial equivalent is “whirlwind” or “dust devil”. However, a waterspout can also be a tornado over water. The difference in energy between whirlwind and tornado is the same over land as it is over water, it’s just that waterspouts rarely cause damage or casualties, compared to tornadoes.

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My wife and I were driving across the Varina-Enon Bridge (beautiful suspension bridge across the James River between Chesterfield and Henrico Counties, about 300 feet in the air), trying to outrun a serious thunderstomr, when our Tahoe was flipped over by a twister. “So this is how I’m going to die,” I thought. Won’t drive over the bridge to this day. Same twister hit the city of Petersburg and killed several people at a Walmart. Peeled the roof back and looked like a sardine can.

“Smithers, release the hounds.” -C. Montgomery Burns

MMMmmm…tornadoes! Lovely aint they?

In 1989 the tornado warning went out all over the hospital here in Denver. I wasn’t responsible for any patients so, of course, the first thing to do is run outside and actually see this thing. Man, am I glad I did!
It was about one mile away twisting and swirling in the sky to the east like a dirty washrag being wrung out. The tip sort of appeared and disappeared as it ran through easily lofted stuff. Near the base were small rectangles lazily drifting in the wind. (I later discovered that those rectangles were 8x8 ft. fence panels). Something I remember clearly is the amount of activity near the ‘shaft’ of the twister: pieces and little twists of clouds that whipped around as they were created by then sucked into the incredible field of energy the storm had created. See one if you can!