Archive for August, 2010
Saturday July 24, several waves of severe storm crossed Lake Chautauqua. At 5pm, a tornado warning was announced. The view from this dock in Jamestown, at the southern end of the lake, was impressive. A huge wall cloud, miles across, blew across the sky to the north.
The picture of the wall cloud below is a panorama, stitched together from 9 frames that I took handheld with my Canon G9. If you click on it, you’ll get a much larger image (hint–click on that image to see it full size–you’ll need to scroll back and forth). My guess is that the nasty gray knot at the far right is whatever is left of the F2 tornado that crossed the north end of the lake, touching down 10 minutes earlier, 15 miles beyond the sail boat in the far left. Somewhere in this wall cloud is the remnant of that twister.
From our vantage point on the dock, we had a perfect view of the squall line, watching the wind, rain, and white caps approach from 5 miles away. It hit hard, with strong winds and heavy rain.
A local television station has some impressive video footage of the actual tornado and map from the National Weather Service.
Here’s a statement from the National Weather Service with more details.
Edited video by Jim Grimaldi on YouTube showing the tornado and some of the damage.
If you can’t view my video, here’s a version in Shockwave.
Driving down Whites Ferry Road on the Maryland side of the ferry, it was clear to us that this was an exceptional storm, which had made a huge amount of damage. We carefully picked our way from side to side of the street to avoid fallen limbs and trees. One large branch fell down in front of us.
Our original plan was to head west towards 15 to look for a place to eat in Frederick, but all the roads were blocked by fallen trees.
We tried 2 different roads towards the west, but couldn’t get through. We saw a transformer explode. Finally, we reached a point where Whites Ferry road was blocked, too, so we decided to cut our losses and head back across the ferry.
The Potomac was calm again, but covered with floating leaves and branches. We chatted with some of the other people on the ferry and learned that River Road was partially blocked, but probably still open.
I was concerned that we’d be stuck on the other side of the river. Although there were some trees down, which slowed traffic, the road was open. The traffic light at route 15 was out, but we waited it out, and finally ended up in Leesburg for a late lunch, about an hour and a half after the storm came through.
[an alternative version of the River Road video in Shockwave.]