At about 5:30 PM on a sultry July 11 2017, a cloud appeared on the horizon. It looked like a pop-up rain shower. We needed the rain so I happily went out to roll up the windows on the truck. Watched it advance across the field, and it rained a nice downpour for a few minutes then it was over. But attached to the back of the cell was a dark, slowly rotating mass. Said to myself, looks like its rotating, will get the camera and watch it for a little while. Sure enough, a funnel cloud began to drop down, then back up, called for the children to come out, since the storm was moving away from us, That’s when the shutter began to click.
As the tornado reached the ground, my daughter commented how surreal it was that we were able to casually watch such an awesome and potentially dangerous event. Her observation put me in mind of Psalm 91, and how a thousand will fall at thy side and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee. As the called out, we have made Yahweh our refuge. We will not be afraid of the terror nor the arrow.
Still, we were astonished at the sheer beauty and majesty of the storm which came seemingly out of nowhere. My son took the photos and arranged them into a video collage showing the development of the storm. There were no reports of injuries as far as we know.
As we watched the tornado, the winds seemed unusually calm. A man who was interviewed by local news, and was within a quarter of a mile of it, also noted the calm nature of the winds. Now this whole spectacle could have easily gone unnoticed by us, except for a final glance through our large windows.
After the fact, and the excitement, a recall of a greater scope of happenings presaged this tornado event. About the time winter 2017 began to let loose, after getting up out of bed one morning, I looked out of our bedroom window and thought of a tornado. In the mind’s eye, it was on the ground, moving along north of our house, and out of harm’s way. Thought of it and how I much wanted to document it.
The thought of the tornado appeared more than once, though different than the first. Looking west and outside at the railing of our deck, a high point in the area, to the right is north and to the left is south. We stood in the middle as powerful storms passed on the horizon at either hand. After the tornado of 11 July, the realization came that the vision was fulfilled.
The storm to the south approached us in the night. At around 10:40 pm, my wife and I were at the rail of our deck with the camera and tripod to perhaps get a few pictures of lightening. We could see as the lightening flashed, a circular formation which was easily discernible even at that time. Long exposures were shot. Not expecting much, the photos were loaded into the computer, (they had a purplish hue, whereas the later storm had a bluish cast) and showed an ominous, what they call a super cell, moving along the southern horizon. After checking them all, one of the twelve pictures seemed to show the beginnings of a funnel cloud as it moved toward us. It was because of this circular cloud formation that I recognized and knew to observe the northern storm.
The King of the Universe often uses weather metaphors to communicate important warnings and events to us. My hope is that at some point a complete understanding of this will come.