lieuYep, that’s the one. The pick ups and cars did get quite a bit higher, the frac truck didn’t get as much altitude.
I work in the “industrial complex” that was wiped out. We were in a different building back then, right by where the tornado developed, and watched it move through the industrial district and into town. That building was not touched. Even as close as we were (about 100 yards from where it passed by our business), it was hard to tell just exactly what it was tearing up. It was a lot bigger than the pics make it out to be, and in person it didn’t seem that big until you realized it was already a mile away. We moved into this building since, even though it was much larger, tornado damage reduced it’s value.
If you watch those tornado shows, you can hear the sheriff saying, “It’s heading right for [Duke’s Place of Employment]”, but it missed us. In the confusion, nobody thought to shut the sandblaster down. He blasted right through it all, oblivious to the fact that a tornado was just right over there.
Earlier that afternoon, I saw a long, thin rope coming out of the clouds and told a couple of the guys I saw a tornado. They laughed and told me I was full of it. When the main tornado started to form, it was at first about 4 or 5 little wispy tornados that then gathered into a big one. I was looking out my window and saw the wispy ones and told the laughers, “Not THAT’s a tornado”. About 30 seconds later, it was already huge and appeared to be directly on top of us.
The tornado followed a creek all the way from where it started, not sure if that’s common or not. It started pretty much right in the creek (Red Deer Creek) and followed it into town, all of the damage in town was along the creek, and it left town at the Country Club, still right on the creek. Another tornado formed between Pampa and Hoover, again right on the creek (it runs through Hoover) and moved on East.
After it was over, we all went to the bar. The power was out in town and they were giving away free beer while it was still cold.
A buddy of mine made a cameo on a different tornado film the same day. A chaser crew was filming at Hoover. My buddy had heard there was a tornado in Pampa and was racing home from work, coming from the east of Hoover. He was driving through rain and didn’t know there was a tornado right in front of him. He passed the film crew right at Hoover and you can hear them say, “That idiot’s heading right into the tornado!”. And he was, but it cleared off enough by then that he could tell he would likely miss it so he kept it floorboarded and got by.
Fun day. I was also on Lake Meridith the day the tornado hit Fritch in '92. We were picnicing on a beach on the far side of the lake from where we launched and saw the storm coming. We had already made it about half way back across the lake when the Lake Patrol ordered evacuation, and were luckily close to the front of the line at the boat ramp. We got out of there before we actually saw the tornado, by the time we got back home we heard Fritch was hit.
We get a lot of tornados, another big one in '82. None this year, so far.