Friday Question of the Day – Wildest Weather Related Experience?

popville friday question
Photo by PoPville flickr user Josh Bassett

Well I’ve got hurricanes on my mind so – wondering if folks have any wild weather stories? Anyone ever been in a for real hurricane before? I’m gonna go dig out my “I survived Hurricane Gloria” t-shirt. And in all seriousness if we do get one – please be careful and cautious.

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  • I grew up on the Jersey Shore. Many hurricanes passed through Point Pleasant Beach. Once myself and a couple of friends decided to drive up to the boardwalk to see how high the waves were, yes they were huge. But I will admit I wasn’t prepared for how strong the wind was…it pushed us from one side of the boardwalk railing to the other. Makes you realize that mother nature can produce some pretty powerful stuff. Happy our house survived Sandy but the shore as it was I doubt will ever be the same.

    • Happy your house survived. My grandparents’ place in Lavallette, where I grew up going in the summer, was not so fortunate. It hasn’t been in the family for a long time, but my grandfather built it – it was really sad to see the photos of it (and the boardwalk he had built up and down the lagoon for my family and all their neighbors) after Sandy.

      • Lavallette! We go all the time – my sister-in-law’s in-law’s own a place there. Their father wouldn’t leave during Sandy so they stayed with him – and watched the gazebo at the end of the street get washed away. they were lucky their little retaining wall saved their house. That beach was where my husband’s mother’s ashes were scattered, though, and where his sister got married. It’s sad every year to see such changes. And I don’t feel like Ortley beach will recover for another 20 years.

      • My mom’s house in Ocean Beach III just north of Lavallette was also destroyed by Sandy. We all thought the storm wasn’t going to be a big deal, but there was a wall picture my mom wanted to go down and get–it was an anniversary gift she had given my grandparents who have since passed–we talked her out of making the two-hour drive, thinking the house would be fine. Everything was ruined except for a few small things–the alarm clock in the back room, the frosty beer mugs on the freezer door, and some other knickknacks. To this day, she is still upset about it. They ended up selling the land to people who wanted to rebuild and were able to pay of the mortgage.. Small silver lining

  • DC has had some weird weather over the last several years. I think the derecho was the “wildest” of them all. Seeing some of the trees that were completely uprooted in the days after was incredible. I was lucky enough not to lose power – the heat following was horrible. My house turned into a cooling center for friends & family.

  • Suggested Caption: “Not even Pumpkin Spice Latte could redeem this day.”

  • I lived in South Carolina in the late 80s and early 90s. In 1989, Hurricane Hugo hit the state. During that terrifying night, a tree fell on the side of our house, right where me and my sisters were sitting on a couch. Luckily, the tree didn’t crash through the window or cause the roof to collapse, or else I might not be here today.

    • I lived in NC with Hugo hit and it was crazy. I was only 4 but I vividly remember camping out in the basement until it was over. I can recall peering out the basement windows but not being able to see anything but rain and flying tree limbs and lawn furniture.

  • I grew up in a trailer and every time there was lightening, sparks would shoot out of our smoke detectors. I don’t know why, but it was terrifying.

    A meeting planning colleague ended up unable to get out of New Orleans in time for Katrina and spent the storm in a bathtub with a coworker and a security guy with a mattress on top of them to keep the debris off.

  • Camping during a storm. Kids in one tent, adults in another 50 feet away. Lightning hit a tree that missed our tent by inches. Next morning the adults claimed that they slept through it.

  • skj84

    Summer 98: The family road trip from PA to Indianapolis. What should’ve been a low key two day drive turned into an epic ride as a tornado decided to touch down as we passed through Ohio.

    At first it seemed we were dealing with a gnarly storm and my parents decided we should ride it out at a Cracker Barrel along the way. As we finished lunch we received word that tornado had touched down in our vicinity. Management rushed everyone in the front of house to a training space in the back, which was pretty terrifying to my 14 year old self. How mortifying it would be to be killed by a tornado in the back room of a Cracker Barrel. Anyway once it seemed safe my parents gathered us up and hustled us to the car, determined to make it out of Ohio and to my grandmas. Alas, the tornado had other plans. No sooner than we were on the road again then the sky turned dark again. Rain pounded down as my Dad navigated the highway, weather report playing on the radio. As we passed a truck FLIPPED IN A DITCH the radio host announces another tornado has been spotted, and oh it’s pretty much behind us. Mr radio man is blathering on about “how he’s not going to panic like last night” which just about sends my siblings and I into complete terror mode. Somehow we made it out of Ohio unscathed and my parents managed to book us a room in a motel overnight.

    • I know that must have been terrifying, but you told it in such a funny way! Painted a very vivid (and bizarrely comic) picture!

      • Lol. Yeah, it one of those stories we all look back and laugh about now. Terrifying when it was happening, but the sheer absurdity of the situation is funny now. It’s actually a running joke in the family.

        • I’m from a tornado-prone place, and have had several close calls myself. They’re no joke, and were way worse years ago when the radar/technology wasn’t as good and you’d only get a few minutes notice. In a real twist, there’s now discussion in the meteorological community about giving *too* much warning these days. People blow off the warnings because “they have time,” or do stupid things like try to drive out of the path of the storm and get stuck in traffic.

    • Allison

      Lol, I can’t help it but I laughed at “How mortifying it would be to be killed by a tornado in the back room of a Cracker Barrel.”

  • Got caught in a hurricane in the Outer Banks in 1999 and had to be evacuated by National Guard. They had evacuated Hatteras the day before and but had not given the evacuation order to Nags Head. Some locals said we could ride it out with them at the shelter but the thing came in earlier and stronger than they said it would and things deteriorated rapidly. As my friends and I were scrambling to pack and run, the wind and waves came in and imploded the swimming pool of the house next door to us then moved to the house next to that one and smashed up underneath it sucking out all three floors. Luckily no one was renting it at the time. The beach was completely underwater. The front of our house was groaning and moving like a snake but it held. By the time we got the cars loaded the ocean had breached the sea wall and you couldn’t tell the road from the water. The Guard (so cute) came in and made sure all the houses were empty and locked down then led a convoy of cars out of there. Some people had to leave their vehicles behind.

  • Blithe

    I was living in Baltimore when Hurricane Isabel hit. My apartment building parking lot dead ended on the water. I had a scary night as the rain and wind battered the windows. At some point, the power went out — which meant no heat, no hot water, and no stove. There was a point when I looked out at the rising water and realized that I couldn’t leave — even if I had wanted to. When it was finally light enough to see, I realized that my apartment building had become an island. The streets that edged the building on three sides were flooded for several blocks. The street in front of the building looked like an extension of the harbor. The cars that had been parked out front were covered by the water. All of the first floor apartments were flooded. What had been a courtyard became a pond. Even the cell phones were out. FEMA workers paddled a boat into the courtyard, searching for people who might have an urgent need to be evacuated. During the crisis, neighbors shared food, flashlights, and toilet paper. Some even shared their apartments. As the cell phones began to work, we passed them around as well. For the first time in my life, my days were ordered by the sun. I was startled by the deep, deep darkness, and by the quiet.

  • Visiting my parents in Georgia on March 12-13, 1993 and being able to experience the Storm of the Century. The first time ever that a blizzard warning was issued for parts of Georgia by the National Weather Service.
    Howling winds, falling pine trees, blowing snow…got it all on video and to this day you would swear it looks like North Dakota, not Georgia.
    Once in a lifetime event!

    • We got something like 3′ of snow in that storm (*much* further north), and then it was in the 60’s a day later. I remember playing in the snow in a t-shirt!

  • Ally

    I’ve been through tropical storms and hurricanes and even a little tornado (I’m from Florida; weather has been trying to kill us all off for years!). But the oddest weather phenomenon I ever saw was when we were driving home in a particularly bad Summer storm — so bad that we had to pull off the road because we couldn’t see to drive — and ball lightening came down and exploded the power line over our car. If you haven’t seen it, worth looking up. Giant huge sphere of lightening. Interesting stuff.

  • being raised in rural Alaska, we have some crazy weather, but the craziest was a normal activity. Landing on a runway… sideways due to the 30+ winds and rain pelting on your small bush plane’s windows. Nothing like looking out and hoping the plane turns to hit the runway in time 😀

  • 2004 Hurricane Charlie. The eye went right over downtown Orlando where I used to live. Didn’t have power for 10 days after.

  • 1. Not weather, per se: minor earthquake while on a ski lift. A little crazy feeling. Glad I was with my dad and REALLY glad it wasn’t more than a minor earthquake

    2. Headed overseas from Dallas and we had already pulled out from the gate when one of those crazy Texas lightning storms came out of nowhere. We were stuck on the plane for 3 hours in really strong winds with lightning everywhere. The plane was swaying back and forth and we couldn’t see the terminal it was raining so hard. Apparently we couldn’t go back to the gate because they’d already put another plane there, so we were stuck. Glad we hadn’t taken off right before that happened.

  • Not relating to any particular storm, but, when I was a kid I was absolutely terrified of thunderstorms. One day, my dad decided the best way for me to overcome my fear was to station me at a window to watch a storm with the threat of getting my butt whooped if I moved before he said so. Of course, within five minutes, I watched as lightning struck the tree directly in front of window. I took the spanking and am still afraid of storms. #parentingfail

  • Last year, we were driving out to Snowshoe for a short ski trip on President’s weekend. When we started, all was well. Started snowing halfway there, and got progressively worse. For a time we were behind a plow – then it turned off. The last 45 minutes were harrowing – nowhere to stop, and roads progressively getting worse. The drive up the mountain at 10 at night in a blizzard, guessing where the road was, was really something. Great skiing, though! Also, four summers ago, I also had a lightening strike hit about 50 feet from where I was walking.

  • We were on the Cape for Hurricane Bob in 1991. We had tried to move inland, but traffic was so bad on the Sagamore bridge with evacuees, my dad decided it’d be a good idea just to get to the nearest shelter. New England wasn’t exactly hurricane-ready, but we stayed in a nearby basement (I think of a school) for 2 days – at the time I was terrified, but I look back and it wasn’t so bad. I was also in Haiti right before Hurricane Sandy. While I was absolutely lucky to get a ticket out the day before, it was absolute insanity at the Port-au-Prince airport. It was a very tough experience.

  • I encountered a lot of crazy weather when I was stationed in Montana. One day, while working on a missile site, the wind was hovering around 65-70 mph *sustained* with gusts probably much higher. It ripped the screws of the door latch right out of the truck bed and the door maybe could have killed someone it swung closed so fast.

    Another time, we got stuck driving home in a blinding blizzard. I was driving the truck, and I literally could not see ten feet in front. The only way I was able to stay on the road was by following the faint tire tracks of the car somewhere in front of me. White knuckle driving for 3 hours after working a 16 hour day, not fun.

  • I can’t say that I’ve encountered anything truly terrifying, though I do have vague memories of being a fourth grader going home from school on the bus and trying to keep other kids calm as we drive through a tornado and narrowly missed getting crushed by a falling tree. Wildest would probably be getting caught in a vicious hail storm while hiking in Colorado. I’m not a runner, but holy crap I hurried my butt to the car to get out of that. I guess earthquakes don’t count, but being woken from a dead sleep by an earthquake in New Zealand would truly have to be the most wild, unsettling natural phenomenon I’ve ever experienced (what do you want, I’m from the East Coast, I’m not used to quakes!)

  • binpetworth

    I lived in the Middle East for several years and remember strongly the dust storms. One in particular occurred when I was out for a picnic with friends. We were lucky to rush into the car and wait it out; there was no visibility beyond the windshield for roughly 20 minutes. I could never own anything white in those years as it always would be covered by fine particles of dust; the dust was everywhere. Made me have a more profound appreciation for my grandparents deciding to tough it out during the Dust Bowl of the 1930s.

  • I grew up in central Florida, so have been through a lot of hurricanes. The craziest season was in 2004 when three major hurricanes passed directly over my town and another just to the west (Charley, Frances, Jeanne, and Ivan). I was in high school and we had weeks off at a time. Luckily, my house never lost power but most of the county was out–some friends didn’t have power restored for months. Needless to say, we had lots of company!

    • Emmaleigh504

      I moved to central Florida right after that in 2005. I was so glad I missed it. Then I missed Katrina b/c I was in Florida and the Floridians were such ASSHOLES about it. Talking about don’t rebuild b/c they deserve it. Never mind that parts of Florida get rebuilt all the time. I hate Florida. #stillbitter

  • Emmaleigh504

    I got nothing.

  • Growing up in Northern NY we saw many blizzards and ice storms. The craziest one I remember happened while I was in elementary school (so late 80s/ early 90s). We got hammered by a weekend blizzard that was immediately followed by an ice storm. So many feet of snow topped with 1.5″ to 2″ of ice. A snow drift formed and pilled snow up to our roof completely blocking the door. To get out of the house my dad and I rode a toboggan out of a second floor window to get the shovels and snow blower out of the garage (after tunneling into the garage).

  • Our wedding week was a host of natural disasters. We got married on the Saturday that Hurricane Irene was blowing through DC. Most of the day getting ready was fine, but the weather that night was atrocious. It did cause a number of situations that are rather humorous looking back now (can’t list them all; that would make it a TL;DR post). That week was also when the earthquake hit, and then there were bad storms/microbursts on that Thursday that destroyed my in-laws deck. So in the week leading up to my wedding, there was an earthquake, damaging microbursts, and a freaking hurricane. Good thing I don’t really believe in signs.

    • That was the week before my son was born – racing out of my office building at 39 weeks followed a few days later rushing to Sibley in the middle of the hurricane for what turned out to be false labor. Crazy week in DC 😉

  • Lining up with other classmates in one my elementary school’s bathrooms as a tornado passed through town. A little awkward for the fourth-grade girls being in the boys’ room. Old Missouri, fair Missouri.

  • I Dont Get It

    Growing up in rural southwestern Indiana, tornadoes were a fairly common occurrence in the spring and summer. One summer day when I was 15, I was out in the old station wagon with my mother learning to drive in the next even more rural country. The sky was bright blue and the sun was shining but there was one small dark cloud. All of a sudden I saw a tornado funnel spinning downward from the cloud. “I don’t recall this being covered in Driver’s Ed!” I thought. I wondered if I should tell my mother but finally pointed out the tornado to her just as it hit a cornfield and corn stalks exploded into the sky. We were southwest of it so felt fairly safe (you do know that most tornadoes travel from southwest to northeast, right?) but since the tornado was headed northeast WHERE OUR HOUSE WAS we drove around for a while and then returned home not sure what we would find. Everything was fine of course but this explains why my mother didn’t allow me to drive again until I was 21. Just kidding…a rite of passage then in Indiana was that on your 16th birthday you showed up at the DMV to claim your first step into adulthood.

  • My favorite weather related story is from my mom. My family was living down the Jersey Shore – my mom was 8 months into a high risk pregnancy, my oldest brother was 6 and their house was 8 inches below sea level. In ’85 a noreaster blew in and caught everyone out – their home flooded to the 2nd floor. My brother made my dad go downstairs and “free” his goldfish so that he could enjoy the waves.
    The best part was the evacuation – my mom was one of the first evacuated by the national guard due to being 8 months pregnant and high risk. As she’s on the boat getting interviewed by a TV crew, the interviewer asks her what her plans are. My mom says “we love this community, we love this area, we’ll come back and rebuild…we’re strong” etc. etc. As she’s saying this, as it’s being broadcast on national news, my brother is pulling on her shirt. He interrupts her and announces to the country “Nu uh Mom – you said we’re getting the hell outta here as soon as possible”….

  • Mount Pinatubo exploding in the phillipines while I was on a resort island with my family (at age 8). woke up to 4 inches of ash coating the ground, looked just like snow. couldn’t leave the island for a week because the atmosphere was too clogged with soot and ash.

  • Not especially wild but pretty ridiculous, in Snowmagedon I fell into a storm drain (legs up to my hips which broke the fall a bit) because I couldn’t see it under the snow when I stepped down. I pulled myself out and had some great bruises to show for it!

  • Not strictly weather related, but I spent several years of my childhood in Southern California and one year was a bad wildfire year. I remember walking around school (which didn’t have hallways, it was all outdoors aside from the classrooms) and being told to put my shirt over my face to breathe because the ash was so bad. It looked foggy, but it was just all the ash in the air. We had the car packed for evacuation for several days, a neighbor could see the flames from one fire from his roof and the helicopters would come collect water with those giant hanging buckets from the reservoir park down the block. The next year, there were bad mudslides and several roads had to be closed. We were also there for the Northridge Earthquake in 94 but far enough from the epicenter that we didn’t have any major damage.

    I also lived in rural Texas on the coastal plains (flat land with no trees and big sky) and you could see blue northers roll in for miles. It’d be 80* and sunny and off in the distance a blue wall of clouds racing towards you. When it arrived, the temp would drop 20-30* in minutes. I always like those though, and the thunderstorms out there. I miss that sky.

  • I was a kid in Massachusetts during the blizzard of ’78. It snowed two feet one day, then another three feet two days later. The governor put a ban on non-essential driving, and we were without power for days at a time. My sisters and I would walk into town with my dad, pulling the sled to bring groceries home with. We had three days of school that February. My sisters and I loved it, of course, but looking back, I’m amazed my poor mother did not murder us.

    • My aunt and uncle were getting married the weekend right after the blizzard, in Providence. My aunt was supposed to pick up her wedding dress at the seamstress across town. My uncle worked for the city’s emergency management department at that point. Somehow the mayor’s office heard about the situation, and they called the seamstress to tell her to be outside the shop with the dress. She thought they were insane but agreed. The mayor was taking a helicopter to that part of town, and while there his staff picked up the dress and got it back to my uncle. My aunt and uncle made it to the church and, but none of the rest of the family was able to get there. My great uncle tried to cross-country ski there from Cape Cod but didn’t make it.

  • Working the front desk of a hotel – by myself – during a tornado.

    I was young (early 20s) and no one had told me what the protocol in the hotel was in the event of a tornado. Guests were calling down, asking what they should do I was like “uuh…stay in your room? go into the hallway? come downstairs? Do whatever feels good.”

    I did what every rational human does and called my dad.

  • Growing up in Rochester, Minnesota. Many inches of rain fell in a just a few hours in the evening. When the rain stopped hours later, a friend and I decided to drive across town to go to party we’d heard about. But the streets were really wet and the water was a little deep. When the water came up to the car doors we reversed and parked. We got out and started walking in the dark through the knee deep water toward the river to see what was going on.

    As we did, we saw a school friend and his family walking toward us through the water. They were carrying their cat in a box. He told us that the basement had just caved in and the house was about to collapse. They got out with nothing but the car. We drove them to another friend’s house where they spent the night.

    It was very freaky.

  • Ice storm in Dallas, Texas, 1978. electricity went out for thousands, school was canceled. I remember my mom getting cabin fever and putting my brother and me in the station wagon to just go somewhere and we were the only car on the roads.

  • While sailing in a storm in the Coral Sea the mast of our sailboat got hit by lightening. Traveled right through, so no shocks, but huge crashing sound, weird vibrating feeling and all the rigging smelled singed. Also I was working in Antigua when a hurricane was on the way, predicted for a direct hit. We had prepped for days. That morning the ocean was absolutely flat and eerily green, the sky almost black, then the storm made a 90 degree turn. Two hours later all was sunny and normal.

  • Well, not as crazy as most the stories but very different… I went to high school in the high desert – where it is way hotter than DC in the summer and many times colder than DC in the winter. We have very strong winds – and yes we have tumbleweeds. Once there were so many blowing around that it was basically like a blizzard with tumbleweeds. They covered most the roads and we couldn’t get to school for a couple days due to the tumbleweeds. As a kid, thought that this was normal, but most people here have never seen one!

  • My freshmen year of college (Loyola New Orleans) Hurricane Katrina hit. If I remember correctly, the day it landed was supposed to be our first day of classes. The friends I had made during orientation were all from the city and had survived many a hurricane without ever evacuating. Instead, it was custom to have “hurricane parties”, where basically you stock up on food and liquor and ride out the storm. Well, our campus had forced us to evacuate until after the storm (side note: if you had nowhere to go, Loyola sent you to the Superdome…) so my friends and I partied at the house of an upperclassmen for a couple of days until the morning that Katrina landed. I was woken up around 5am to my friend screaming in my face “It’s a category 5! It’s a category 5!” I knew this meant we had to go, and quick. We had all only packed enough clothing for a couple of days, thinking we’d be returning to campus once the storm passed, so we were able to get out the door in about 10 minutes. Outside was chaos. It was the closest thing to armageddon that I hope to ever see. And not the weather, the sky was clear and sunny, but all rules and social norms had been abandoned. People were in survival mode. Everybody was crowding the gas stations and fighting over a space at the pump. Three lane highways became free-for-alls with cars taking up every last inch of space available to get the hell out of Nola. About 10 of us caravanned to a friend’s parent’s 1 bedroom condo in Destin, Florida and the 4 hour trip took us no less than 15 hours. We all huddled together that night to watch the coverage of their city being destroyed. It was heartbreaking.

  • May 3rd floor in New Orleans in the 1980’s. First time I remember water up to my knees and learning the value of walking in the road not the sidewalk.

    Snow in New Orleans on Christmas even in 1989 or so. We really did feel like hell was freezing over.

    The the big one up here – snowmageddon and before there was a winter in 1994 or 95 that was the ice winter from heck.

  • My family was caught in a dust storm in west Texas in the mid-90s. The dust storm itself wasn’t particularly notable, but the 6 foot tumbleweed that rolled into our car was.
    A couple of years ago in late December in Dallas/Fort Worth it was in the mid-70s. Then a cold front blew through and we woke up to a white Christmas. I have pictures of roses that had just bloomed covered in snow.

  • When I was very little we lived in the Miami area. One of my earliest childhood memories is watching the pine tree across the street being blown almost horizontal by hurricane winds. Many years later, in 1992, Hurricane Andrew pretty much destroyed that neighborhood.

  • Mid-70s Ann Arbor MI. Still not exactly sure how all these things were possible in quick succession, but it went something like this: 18″ of snow topped by an inch of rain, following by temps plummeting to -20F with 50+ MPH winds and wind chills in the -70F range for over 24 hours. The result was that EVERY road had eight inches of solid ice for over a week. Snowplows were useless, and intersections were sometimes cleared with pickaxes.

    After several days, I went to pick up my VW Rabbit from a garage where it was thawing from the weather. The roads were still nothing but ice and thus weren’t heavily traveled. When I saw the car in front of me start to lose it on the ice, I went into full winter ice-driving mode with downshifting, brake-pumping, you name it. I was feeling really good about how well I controlled the car to avoid the collision by a great distance when it occurred to me to look in my rear view mirror.

    The bright orange Firebird was so well controlled. It did a full 450 degree spin (that’s one full rotation and a quarter of a second one) before the side of the Firebird hit the rear of my Rabbit. The norm in big car vs small car collisions is that the big one always wins, but my karma was good that day. A good part of the side of the Firebird was crushed in, but you had to hunt under the corner of the rear bumper to find the tiny dent in my car.

    Then again, I was driving on a suspended license. The other driver was happy to accept my suggestion we forget the whole thing. I guess I still remember, though.

  • justinbc

    I’ve been in 4 hurricanes that I can remember. The worst was my freshmen year of college at UNC-Wilmington, right on the coast, where we always had hurricanes coming close but for one particular one our RA dared us to get a keg into the building for a hurricane party. Of course we pulled it off, all got drunk, and then we find out that the school is evacuating everyone. So now you’ve got dozens / hundreds of 18/19 year olds fleeing the city at 2AM entirely too intoxicated to be driving. I remember at one point driving about ~130MPH up I-95 to Raleigh in 100+ MPH winds and rain so hard you couldn’t see more than 3 feet in front of you. Danger compounded by more danger, easily one of the stupidest things I’ve ever done (and really poor planning by the university).

  • I mulled over whether to tell this story (it still terrifies me to think about it), but I suppose I will in the name of “wildest weather story.” I was something like 19, volunteering with a youth (day) camp for the summer, and we had taken our “campers” out to a big park with various nature programs for the day. The weather called for the possibility of thunderstorms, but the chances of any rain were actually pretty low, and nothing severe was expected. As luck would have it, a storm blew up in the afternoon, and we all ushered our kids into the pavilion (open sides, but a cement floor and wooden roof/frame) to wait out what we thought was just going to be a random, moderate thunderstorm. After a few minutes, it became clear that this was not just any storm, and as the sky turned green and hail started to come down, one of the other volunteers looked at me and we, without speaking, said to each other “holy crap, we are about to be hit by a tornado, and there is nowhere for us to go!” We had the kids sit on the floor in the center of the pavilion, providing as much cover as we could, and started them up with rounds of songs while we all nervously kept watching out in the direction of the storm. The funnel cloud (it, fortunately, didn’t touch down where we were…it ended up touching down about 3 miles away) ended up knocking down about a half dozen trees just a few hundred feet from the pavilion, while we tried to keep the kids from panicking through the winds and sounds of trees being cracked in half. In the vans back to “camp,” we could see the path the funnel cloud/tornado cut as it passed so, so close to us. When we got back to camp, even though the parents weren’t expected to pick their kids up for a couple more hours, we were met by literally every parent, who thought we were all likely dead since they knew we were out in the open RIGHT where the funnel cloud/tornado came through.
    Not gonna lie, I’m glad I don’t live in “tornado alley” anymore. That was the scariest experience I had (mostly because we had no way to take good cover), but not, actually, the most dangerous, and certainly not the only one (I’ve been within a mile of a tornado or funnel cloud that is dangerous/causes damage *5* times in my life, including one F5).
    Also, for all of you wondering why I keep using “tornado” and “funnel cloud” as separate things…a tornado is making contact with the ground, a funnel cloud is not. Funnel clouds are *generally* less dangerous than tornadoes, but can still cause plenty of damage and danger, particularly as funnel clouds can fell tall trees and toss some debris from that felling that can cause additional damage and danger (which is exactly what happened to us…the funnel cloud was not yet in contact with the ground, but the strong winds knocked over big trees and tossed around some debris, both of which presented a danger). This is actually a great explanation:

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