Image: RARE photo of a tornado in Conway, Arkansas from the book "Weather Made Clear", 1965, A taken on April 11, 1945. I LOVE this picture!
In a previous post I stated it would be my late post about the story, but due to little weather through Thanksgiving other than weather like Saturday and Sunday I decided to conclude our talk of intrigue, as written below. The weather today will be a bit breezy and partly cloudy to mostly cloudy with a continued chance of an ocean rainshower, but for the most part should be a little nicer than Sunday as I think the 'worst' is over. VERY WARM on Thanksgiving day with a high in the low to mid 80s and partly cloudy skies. Very very little chance of rain.
Here is the last segment:
There came a tremendous jar, the floor slid
viciously under my feet, and I was almost thrown down. My hat, which I had not
removed,was yanked off my head, and all around objects flashed upward.
I sensed that the roof of the house was gone.As I gained footing another
jarring wham caught me,and I found myself on my back over in the fireplace,
and the west wall of the room right down on top of me. The "whams" were
just that. Instead of being blown inward with a rending crash of timbers, as
one would expect of a cyclonic wind, the side of the room came in as if driven
byone mighty blow of a gigantic sledgehammer. One moment the wall stood.The
next it had been demolished. The destruction had been so instantaneous that I
retained no memory of its progress.
I was standing, and then I was down, 10 feet away. What happened between, I
failed to grasp or to sense.
By a quirk of fate I was not seriously injured, and as soon as I had my
senses about me I clawed up through the wreckage, and crawled around and
through the hole where the east door had been. I could tell by the bluish
white light that the roof and ceiling of this room were gone also. I almost
ran over my four-year-old daughter, who was coming to see about me.
Grabbing her up I was instantly thrown down on my side by a quick side-shift
floor. I placed her face down, and leaned above her as a protection against
flying debris and falling walls.I knew the house had been lifted from its
foundation, and feared it was s being carried through air.
Sitting, facing southward, I saw the wall of the room bulge outward and go
down. I saw it go, and felt the shock, but still there was no sound.
Somehow, I could not collect my senses enough to crawl to the small, stout
back room, six feet away, and sat waiting for another of those pile-driver
blasts to sweep the rest of the house away.
After a moment or so of this, I became conscious that I was looking at my
neighbor's house, standing unharmed 100 feet to the south. Beyond I could
others, apparently intact. But above all this, I sensed a vast relief when I
saw that we were still on the ground. The house had been jammed back against
trees on the east and south and had stopped, partly off its foundation.
The period of relief I experienced,however, was a very short one. Sixty feet
south of our house something had billowed down from above, and stood fairly
motionless, save a slow up-and down pulsation. It presented a curved face,
with the concave part toward me,with a bottom rim that was almost level, and
was not moving either toward or away from our house. I was too dumbfounded
for a second, even to"I was looking far up the interior of a great tornado
funnel. . .it. . .seemed to be partly filled with a bright cloud,which
shimmered like a fluorescent light."
I tried to fathom its nature, and then it burst on my rather befuddled brain
with a paralyzing shock. It was the
lower end of the tornado! I was looking at its inside, and we were, at the
moment,within the tornado itself!
The bottom of the rim was about 20 feet off the ground, and had doubtless a
few moments before destroyed our house as it passed. The interior of the
funnel was hollow: the rim itself appearing to be not over 10 feet in
thickness and, owing possibly to the light within the funnel, appeared
opaque. Its inside was so slick and even that it resembled the interior of a
glazed standpipe. The rim had another motion which I was, for a moment,too
dazzled to grasp. Presently I did. The whole thing was rotating shooting past
from right to left with incredible velocity.
I lay back on my left elbow, to afford the baby better protection, and
looked up. It is possible that in that upward
glance my stricken eyes beheld something few have ever seen before and lived
to tell about. I was looking far up the interior of a great tornado funnel!
It extended upward for over a thousand feet, and was swaying gently, and
bending slowly toward the southeast.
Down at the bottom, judging from the circle in front of me, the funnel was
about 150 yards across. Higher up it was larger, and seemed to be partly
filled with a bright cloud, which shimmered like a fluorescent light. This
brilliant cloud was in the middle of the funnel, not touching the sides, as
I recall having seen the walls extending on up outside the cloud.
Up there too, where I could observe both the front and back of the
funnel,the terrific whirling could be plainly seen. As the upper portion of
the huge pipe swayed over, another phenomenon took place. It looked as if
the whole column were composed of rings or layers, and when a higher ring
moved on toward the southeast, the ring immediately below slipped over to
get back under it. This rippling motion continued on down toward the lower
If there was any debris in the wall of the funnel it was whirling so fast I
could not see it. And if there was a vacuum inside the funnel, as is
believed, I was not aware of it. I do not recall having any difficulty
inbreathing, nor did I see any debris rushing up under the rim of the
tornado,as there surely would have been had there been a vacuum. I am
positive that the shell of the twister was not composed of wreckage, dirt or
other debris. Air, it must have been, thrown out into a hollow tube by
centrifugal force. But if this is true, why was there no vacuum, and why was
the wall opaque?
When the wave-like motion reached the lower tip, the far edge of the funnel
was forced downward and jerked toward the southeast. This edge, in
passing,touched the roof of my neighbor' s house and flicked the building
away like a flash of light. Where, an instant
before, had stood a recently constructed home, now remained one small room
with no roof. The house, as a whole, did not resist the tornado for the
fractional part of a second. When the funnel touched it, the building
dissolved, the various parts shooting off to the left like sparks from an
The very instant the rim of the funnel passed beyond the wreck of the
house,long vaporous-appearing streamers,pale blue in color, extended out and
upward toward the southeast from each corner of the remaining room. They
appeared to be about 20 feet long and six inches wide, and after hanging
perfectly stationary for a long moment, were suddenly gone.
The peculiar bluish light was now fading, and was gone abruptly. Instantly
it was again dark as night. With the darkness my hearing began to come back.
I could hear the excited voices of my family in the small backroom, six feet
away, and the crunching jars of heavy objects falling around the house. The
tornado had passed. There the edge was doubtless high off the
ground and went over without doing any damage. Quickly, real daylight
commenced to spread in the wake of the storm, and how good it did look!
And how astonishing! I had come to believe, in those few long minutes, that
the tornado had struck in the nighttime.
It was now about 3:06 p.m.Luck was with us that day. The only injuries
sustained by the family were a severe gash in my boy's arm and a scalp wound
on my own head. The rest of the district did not fare so well. The tornado
cut a swath through the southern part of the city, killing and wounding
upward of a hundred people, and doing property damage of over five million
Hope you all enjoyed this.