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May 19, 2010

Tornado Update

From Brent

That was a REALLY close one for us... wall cloud, probably a funnel, "tornado any second" passed right over our house. They are saying on the news that a "significant event" occurred a few miles past us. That's Oklahoma code language for "you better get your butt in a shelter".

It appears the weather is all east of us now and looking at the radar, it doesn't seem like anything is building up behind us. The whole state is getting hammered again with multiple tornadoes like last week.

Amazing and beautiful as you see the classic "anvil"
build up into gigantic super cell storms.

If you've lived in Oklahoma for long, you know
which cloud formations, storms and parts of the storm
are concerning... like this one as it approached.

It started to lower, clearly circulating and starting to tighten up.

At it tightest rotation I thought for sure it was going to drop
into a tornado at any second and it very well could have.

It continued to lower but began too loosen up like a funnel
in a draining bathtub is just lost it's definition.

Really falling apart now...

And then it all breaks up as it finally passes by.
We are in the clear but not people NE of us.

I'll go ahead and answer the question I'm about to get: what in the world was I doing out there? First, I'm a photographer and you know the stupid things photographers do to get a photo.

Second, Michelle and kids were in our house in our "tornado spot" all prepared for it. The storm was about a mile away and while tornadoes can turn on a dime and go any direction, I've seen a thousand storms and was pretty confident this was moving away from us even though it was obviously very close. I could have been in the house and hunkered down in about :15 seconds.

So... you get photos. It' my birthday today. If I want to take tornado photos, I get to.

(My wife must have forgot it was my birthday because she has some "advice" for me after I came inside)


Bill Steffen said...

Glad you were OK. Central Oklahoma gets more tornadoes per square mile than any other place on Earth. A couple days a year it's truly "run for your life!" time. God bless!

Bill Steffen - Chief Meteorologist
WOOD-TV, Grand Rapids, Michigan

Debbie said...

Great is in my neck of the woods now.

Happy Birthday.

Kay said...

We are allowed to do silly things on our birthdays............
Happy Birthday once again!

May you have many more but with less excitement than this next year!

Sweet Joni said...

And so you got "advice" instead of getting to eat your birthday cake & ice cream eh' LOL (have U checked your email?) :D

Grateful you are all SAFE!!!

whenpigsfly said...

We were praying for you all down there as we watched the reports and prepared for our own storms. We are safe too, but a neighbor lost his trailer completely. Charlie and Malachi are over helping now.
Did you get a big double rainbow after the storm ? We did!!!!
Glad you are OK and didn't get a tornado in your front yard for a birthday "gift"!

Holly said...

Bill Steffen reads your blog? Cool! He's our weather man. : ) Those pictures are awesome!! So glad you were all okay, and that you got those shots!

Are These Kids All Yours? said...

Love the photos, but I agree with Michelle's advice :) Glad you are all safe...praying for others in the path.

Happy BIRTHDAY Brent!!!!

DeanO said...

Great pictures. I so do not like Tornado season. Folks in GA tell us that our California earthquakes freak them out but my wife and I would take an earthquake to a tornado any day. What awesome power. I'm grateful no one was hurt

Mom to 9 Blessings! said...

Scott and Lexi agree that some advice might be in order.

I'm with you it's your birthday and photos when safe are TOO COOL!

Happy Birthday again!


We are praising God you and Linda are OK!

Julie said...

I'm not sure I could handle the worry of tornados all the time. I live in Minnesota and our once or twice a summer is more then enough. Love the pictures though.Thanks for sharing but always be safe, you have love ones that want you alive not dead.
Happy Birthday to you.
Take care and God Bless!!

Kelly L said...

Living in So. California we never get weather... It's crazy to think that people who do not live in CA are afraid of earthquakes.. quakes are nothing compared to tornadoes.. There's a very small chance we may be moving to Tennessee soon and if we do - I'm going have to do some research on cloud formations.

Great pictures and Happy Birthday!
Love to you
I've Become My Mother

Kimberlie said...

Ugh! I can't stand this time of year in OK. We just got the "all clear" up here in the Jenks/Tulsa area about 30 minutes ago. There was a lot of circulation in the clouds but no funnel ever produced.

Hey! Maybe your meteorologist friend Bill can tell us why these tornados seem to happen right at bed time when we are wanting to get our little ones to sleep (and not FREAK them out by hustling them into the closet when the tornado siren goes off)?

Marie said...

I love tornadoes. We don't really get them here, we did get an awesome super cell with hail the size of tennis balls but no tornado. Twister is one of my fave movies...I've always said if one came along, I'd be just like you out there with the camera!!!

Erin said...

Thanks for the photos, those are great. Most of us have never seen anything like it. And Happy Birthday!

4 Little Men and Girly Twins said...

Happy Birthday!!!

Glad you are all safe... and I totally get the photographer thing. :)


Laurie said...

Glad you guys are OK and happy birthday. I'm on Arkansas and I would be outside taking pics too. I think it's in our blood! :)

Rachelle @ "Mommy? I'm Hungry!" said...

Happy Birthday!
Wow, great photos, but I am scared to death of tornados (I think watching Wizard of Oz when I was young did it?). I will stay here in CA with our Earthquakes. Be safe over there!

Christine said...

Wow--- how amazing! Cool pictures!

Otter Mom said...

We're in Broken Arrow and it looked like the storm cell was coming right for us, with the wall cloud it had at the time. It turned at the last minute and went south of us, but we could see it in the lightning flashes. It was not as close for us as yours, but it was very close and we were huddled up in our storm room for quite a while. Thank God nobody was hurt and that it didn't develop, but this is Oklahoma and it is springtime after all. There are times when I want to move back to S. Texas, and they are always in tornado season.
Happy Birthday a day late.

Ellen said...

I'm sure her friendly advice was given because she wanted you to live to see another birthday !
Hope it was happy !

Redeemed1 said...

Great pictures!
Happy birthday.

mapsgirl said...

First off, Happy Birthday!! That was probably a bit more excitement than you were looking for. But those pictures are amazing!!

Very glad that you are all safe.

Alex and Sam said...

glad to hear you are all safe.... & have a happy birthday!!!

Debbie said...

I like to travel to OKlahoma and visit. But I'm not a big fan of it's probably not a state that I would feel comfortable living in. I'm glad that the tornado broke up and you all are safe.

wy-not said...

Happy Birthday Brent. Stay safe. Edmonton (Alberta) got our most memorable tornado on July 31, 1987, and it scarred the psyche of an entire city. Google it to see the photos - but then, you're from OK, so you know scary tornado stories by the dozen(s).

Have a safe weather day!


Shannon said...

Happy Birthday!!!!!!!! Those photos are awesome! We live in earthquake country...not so great for pictures :)
Hope you have a great birthday!

Carey said...

I almost forgot! Happy Birthday!!

Carey said...

LOL! Not at all laughing at the tornado. So glad you guys are safe. Praying for others who are not. But laughing at you. My hubby would have done the same thing, and I would have been down the basement getting very hot under the collar thinking such things as..."what does he think we'd do without him?!?" And such like that. You can let Michelle know she's not the only one!

Haupi said...

What absolutely amazing pictures these are. I had never seen the formation of a tornado's fuel as clearly as you managed to capture it....and it's a bright white. I thought it would be dark. You must be a professional photograph to have taken these shots. I'm so glad I decided to poke my head in today to see what the Riggs' were up to - because I got this priceless gift. Thank you. Unbelievable. Hope you're all okay but I hope your wife gives you holy hell for being out there like could have been killed!

emsres said...

Happy Birthday!

You're just like my husband. We don't get many tornadoes here in Delaware but the one time we had one right by our house (slab construction no basement) the kids and I were hunkered down in the bathtub and he was outside to get a look at it. Men .

That said, the pics are fabulous.

Wendi Taylor said...

Glad you are safe. I saw a funnel very similar to that as it dropped on the highway RIGHT IN FRONT OF OUR RV once. We were just outside of Atwood, Kansas. Scariest day of my life LOL!

Courtney Kay said...

I love watching storms :)

LaVon Baker said...

The very second I heard the word "(your town)" on TV, I said a prayer for your safety!

No kidding? Is the 19th really your birthday? Today, 20th, is mine!!

Thank You Jesus, for your love and protection!!

Jim Pankey, USN (Ret.) said...

A good sailor is blessed with a 'weather eye' and can virtually read the atmosphere with his nose. Seems that you'da been a good sailor.

miss~nance said...

Great Photos. I don't live in a tornedo area so this was quite a new to me. Glad you were all ok.

Hope you had a great birthday

South COast NSW

Anonymous said...

We don't get them where I live for the most part. Never have seen one or what it can do up close but...

I have always wondered why if you have to get in the basement they don't build houses with the bedrooms and main rooms etc in the basement.

Heather said...

We have been in the cellar more times in the past two weeks than I have my whole life. I am in central OK also and got some of the same storms. If it weren't for the kids, I would have been out taking pictures too. We got some baseball size hail on Wed night.

Bobbie Bailey said...

oh wow! we were treated to some amazing picutes thanks to you, brent!!! that is the closest i ever want to be to a tornado!!! you are an A1 photographer! very interesting as you described each photograph. i learned something about the formation of tornados today! many thanks brent! and...a happy belated birthday to a great guy! God bless you & your sweet family! bobbie b.