This video of it intensifying as it crosses the river is incredible, the motion of the water as it's drawn inwards towards the vortex is like something out of a movie:
I've always believed that this one should have been rated EF4, based on the anchor-bolted house swept completely away in the fourth photo, and the severe debarking it produced in the Brimfield area. I watched a presentation where the survey team justified the rating by showing examples of unanchored homes that were swept away along the path, but no mention was made of the well-anchored two story house that was reduced to a basement.
Yeah, the only other example of a tornado pulling people out of basements that I can think of currently is Parkersburg/New Hartford, IA.So, I've had an interesting week. I finished the Niles-Wheatland portion of my article a while ago, but there were two sections I wasn't satisfied with: Liberty Township (immediately east of Niles) and Coalburg (NNW of Hubbard). There's almost nothing out there about Liberty Twp. and not a whole lot more about Coalburg; I've kept trying to track people down, but I wasn't really getting anywhere.
Anywho, in the last few days I randomly got emails from two different people who lived in Liberty Twp. at the time, which was awesome. Even better, they both had really interesting accounts. The first one actually saw the tornado as it crossed Girard Lake. She said the surface of the lake looked "misty" and the tornado seemed to be sucking up so much water that it "looked like an upside-down waterfall." Not exactly the most intuitive description, but in my mind it immediately conjures up images of the 5/24/11 Canton Lake tornado (albeit not as wide).
The second person was actually directly in the path and they said their home was swept off its foundation and "torn to matchsticks." They'd built the house 10 years earlier and, at least according to them, it was well-anchored and well-constructed. Their relatives had a large brick home nearby that was only partially leveled, but it was also further north of the tornado's center. Apparently they also had an ATV parked in their yard that "disappeared" and was never found.
And then yesterday, I got a call totally out of the blue from the daughter of someone who'd lived not just in Coalburg, but in the exact area I was most hoping to learn about. Her parents' home was totally swept away as they sheltered in the basement, and she said one of the basement walls partially collapsed in on them. She didn't know whether it was cinder block or poured concrete, although I'd imagine the former.
Anyway, the wildest thing was that a neighbor of theirs (whose home was also obliterated, obviously) was actually yanked out of her basement by the tornado. I'd found a brief mention of the woman's story in a newspaper a while back, but there were very few details so I sort of dismissed it. Turns out she'd been crouching down under some sort of shelf or table or something and ultimately wound up tumbling across her driveway. She was hurt pretty badly but she survived.
Can't say I've heard of too many people getting plucked out of their basements, especially when the tornado was probably only overhead for a few seconds. I don't have any ground-level photos yet, but I've got an aerial view of the neighborhood. Kinda janky quality but it's incredible both how ridiculously narrow and how intense the swath of devastation is. Literally like F1 to F4-5 and back in a span of ~175 yards.
It's probably one of those things that has happened much more then we likely think but isn't documented that much as most people die in that scenario and so there's no way to ask them if they took shelter or not. That said, I'm pretty sure Jarrell likely sucked some people (perhaps entire families) out of their basements and I swear reading an article/online comment at least once that claimed an instance of that happening with Hackleburg/Phil Campbell. Likely will have to do further research to verify all of this; I don't have much proof at the moment.Yeah, the only other example of a tornado pulling people out of basements that I can think of currently is Parkersburg/New Hartford, IA.
Crazy thing is the same thing may have happened to two other people as well. A woman on Stillwagon Rd. in Niles was reportedly blown out of her basement, but I found another article that indicated she may have been at the top of the steps headed to her basement. She passed away a few years ago and I haven't been able to find anyone else to clear up her story.Yeah, the only other example of a tornado pulling people out of basements that I can think of currently is Parkersburg/New Hartford, IA.
Way back in the thread I and some others posted the few damage pics we could find from this thing:Coming into this thread way late, but... The April 26 1991 tornado outbreak focuses almost exclusively on the Andover, KS and Red Rock, OK tornadoes. They got the most media coverage and had the most striking imagery, so that's what everyone talks about. Most people don't realize another F4 did significant damage that day. I know because it plowed through my parents' neighborhood in Wesport, Oklahoma, west of Tulsa on Lake Keystone. I have been able to find only one photo of the tornado; it's not a good one, but you can see it lit by lightning and bearing down on Westport after crossing the Cimmaron Turnpike:
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Amazingly, there was only one fatality in my parents' area, a man who died when his car was thrown off the turnpike. The tornado caused massive damage on the north side of the turnpike to homes, a fire station, and an airport, and then it overran my parents' neighborhood to the east, Ridgemont Estates. A few homes were swept from their foundations; many, like my parents' home, took moderate to significant damage. My dad's bass boat ended up in a tree; one of his cars was flipped upside down; their roof was picked up slightly and set down again askew and was speared by debris missiles from other houses. (The house was in a hollow, lower than the houses to the east and west of them that took much more damage.) The tornado went across Lake Keystone and hit the town of Skiatook before lifting. The same cell put down another F4 a few minutes later that hit the town of Oologah.
I was living in Huntsville, Alabama at the time. I followed coverage of the Andover and Red Rock tornadoes on the Weather Channel, but heard nothing about the Westport/Skiatook F4. Late that night, my parents got through to me via the work radio in my dad's car (the one that got flipped); he was able to patch the radio through to make phone calls and the neighborhood was using it to contact family members.
As you can imagine, I am sad the people of Westport and Skiatook were, and continue to be, ignored becase the media couldn't look beyond the images of the other tornadoes that day. If I can get my parents to dig up the photos, I'll try to post some of them in a reply to show the scale of the damage.
National Weather Service summary of the tornadoes; the Westport/Skiatook tornado is B2: https://www.weather.gov/oun/events-19910426
Thanks. Have searched online for years and never really come up with any photos of the damage in our area. Luck brought me across the photo of the tornado.Way back in the thread I and some others posted the few damage pics we could find from this thing:
You mean the Golden Spur Mobile home park? I watched some videos and that's just piles and piles of debris which were completely torn apart and then re-mixed together when viewing from the ground.Just judging the debris patterns and the level of granulation,surely It was one of the most violent...talkweather.com
IN large outbreaks like this it's inevitable one tornado will get most of the coverage and many others will go unreported. Not saying that's right just the way it is.