Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The (Terrifying) World of Nebraska Weather

Elm Creek, Nebraska June 20, 2011
Early morning June 20, about 1:30 we were awakened by a super strong storm moving through the area. We turned on the weather radio and did not hear any tornado warnings nor were the tornado sirens sounding so we just watched the storm from the RV. It is amazing what you can see when it is pitch black outside but being on the prairie with massive amounts of lightning and no trees or buildings to block the view we could see the sheets of rain and the trees bending over – and the motorhome was bouncing around pretty violently in the gusts of wind - you get the picture. There was minimal hail which was a big concern but we made it through safe and sound.

During the early part of the day on the 20th we went to the Great Platte River Road Archway Museum – (see previous post.) The weather was what I think of as typical weather for the plains – cloudy and winds of 20-30 miles an hour with higher gusts but it was not storming. At lunch time we were in Kearney and when we saw two vehicles that look like this we should have taken the hint.

Late in the afternoon we were back at the RV in Sunny Meadows Campground. The weather was deteriorating rapidly and we were glued to the TV watching weather reports when I said to Monte “is that a siren I hear?” Right then a tractor-trailer stopped across the highway from us and we figured he was not stopping for the heck of it so I jumped up, looked out the windshield did not see anything so opened the door and stepped out and just about pooped my pants when I saw a tornado forming and heading for the ground – now we could hear the sirens. We shoved our feet in to some shoes, grabbed our cameras (go figure), put leashes on the dogs and hauled ass for the storm shelter. By the time we got outside – maybe 20 seconds from when I first saw the tornado, it had disappeared but there was another one and we could not tell which way it was going. We must have been quite the sight – trying to run to the shelter, control the dogs, and take pictures.

After we got to the shelter we could tell that it was moving away from us and I took some video of it. Look closely at the ground and you can clearly see a debris cloud.

As it turned out there were 23 confirmed tornadoes in the area with that front.

I'll take a good old Florida hurricane any day...


Darlene said...

Great blog Shelley. I am enjoying your travels. I'll take a hurricane ANY DAY!!!!

Darlene said...

Great blog Shelley. I am enjoying your travels. I'll take a hurricane ANY DAY!!!!

~Cheryl said...

You really got some great photos and video. I'm not sure I could have pulled that off. I get shaky just looking at these.

Shelley and Monte said...

Cheryl - my shaking was after the fact. Darlene - as always - so glad you are traveling with us.