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.