Micro Tornado
Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Sunday (5.21.06) NOAA really got their forecast correct. That evening they talked about Monday afternoon high winds and hail. Sure enough we got hit hard with thunderstorms, lightning and hail all day. We heard from a number of drenched locals and soggy puppies. But the best / worst story has to be the tale of A.B. and C. Dale who live just down the street from flyingcracker headquarters.

Apparently Mother Nature had a bone to pick. She sent some kind of crazy micro-tornado spinning around the wetlands below the Dale's place. An email from Brian states:

"The cell struck approximately 250 meters downstream of the flyingcracker weather station and web cam. Its strength and path can be traced by the destruction. On the east Bank of the East River a fifty foot tall spruce was snapped at its base like a piece of uncooked asparagus. The cell then moved up the bank towards a neighboring house, toppling a sixty foot spruce tree which narrowly missed their greenhouse. Next door at the Dale residence a 75 lb. couch and propane barbie were tossed from a covered deck open on just two sides. These items landed 20 feet from there origin, giving the impression of an all-night frat party gone bad."


The spruce was quite healthy with lots of new growth everywhere. This was no grandpa tree waiting for the pearly gates, this was a vibrant specimen full of life and laughter, probably quite similar in age to the flyingcracker staff. Here's the base of the spruce, note the sizeable girth of the trunk:


We surveyed the damage at the Dale abode. Basically it was a frickin scary bunch of wind. The couch was tossed like a salad but four window screens lying loose against the house next to the couch were unmoved. The barbecue is a complete write-off (I believe the Dales are accepting donations for a new grill) but a small bottle of fertilizer immediately adjacent was still standing. Here is (a re-enactment of) what the deck looked like before the storm:
















Here is the couch and grill after the maelstrom (not a re-enactment, this is really where they lay after the storm). See what we mean about the frat party look? Frankly our first guess was that Hunter had a few friends over for tequila and random craziness.

















We're happy for the added moisture and we're not displeased the barbecue got trashed - that tool reached the end of its normal lifespan long ago. But we're sad for the demise of two mature trees.