Karen had most of the stuff she usually carries to the shelter already in a tote bag. I wasn’t quite as ready – not at all prepared, in fact – but most of what I grab is normally close together.
Laptop, two external hard-drives – both drives have all of my digital photos – , laptop power cord, wallet, phone…
All set. Wait…. wearing shorts, so grabbed a pair of jeans and a sweatshirt jacket.
We made it to the shelter before the sirens down in the valley started sounding. We get our alerts from Channel 7 meteorologists in Little Rock almost as fast as the National Weather Service declares a tornado warning. That actually gives us extra time. We’re generally in the shelter before the sirens go.
Our shelter is actually inside. It’s nice and clean. While it has a light and an electrical outlet, we take a LED lantern with us, since we won’t have power if we are hit by a tornado.
No tornado resulted from that storm cell and the main part of it tracked west of us. We were in the shelter for about 20 minutes.
Unfortunately, about 50 or so miles to our east, another storm cell turned extremely violent about 2 hours later.
A destructive tornado was produced, with the tornado tracking through Mayflower and Vilonia (both in Faulkner County) before apparently dissipating (according to radar) near El Paso (White County). The tornado has been given a preliminary rating of at least EF3 (136-165 mph winds). (National Weather Service) (Update 4/30/2014: The National Weather Service says the Mayflower/Villonia tornado was a high end EF4. There’s only been 1 EF5 recorded in Arkansas, so this storm was one of the very strongest ever in the state.)
The image above is some of what Interstate 40 travelers would see of Mayflower, Arkansas, before Sunday, April 27. The business was Mayflower RV. The same location is seen on the right, from a camera on a drone, very shortly after the tornado rolled through.
A week ago, I posted Tornado Season?, talking about the weak start for 2014, among other things.
In the last few days there has been over 100 tornadoes and it looks like there will more before this system dies away. Even so, the number of tornadoes is only 42% of the average annual trend for this point in the year.
I made a weather related forecast in the Tornado Season? post. I wrote:
My forecast: If an extensive tornado outbreak occurs or if there are tornadoes that cause widespread significant damage, there will be attempts to connect them to climate change and/or global warming.
It didn’t take long.
A Google search on the words tornado and warming for the period of yesterday and today yields multiple stories connecting this single tornado track and the later outbreaks elsewhere to global warming.
Even the IPCC doesn’t go that far.
According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), there is “high agreement” among leading experts that long-term trends in weather disasters are not due to human-caused climate change.
Storm chaser Brian Emfinger used a drone to get the following video of damage at Mayflower soon after the tornado hit there. Interstate 40 in that area has a two-way access road on the east side of the interstate. (Warning – the volume ramps up suddenly part way through the video.)