2009-08-08 Saturday (as recounted by Steve)

We helped serve spaghetti dinner at church until 730 and got home at 8.  The western sky was darkening after a sunny, hot and humid day.  We’d noticed the towering cloud banks approaching as we’d driven home.  After being in their room for the past 3 hours, the dogs were anxious to get outside and Robin obliged them by throwing tennis balls for them to chase.  Quickly though, a sprinkle of rain brought them up the deck stairs and into the house.  The sprinkle quit quickly after they’d gone in and I stayed on the deck enjoying the view.  There was obviously rainfall occurring just to our northwest but the lake was placid.  A couple of small boats were still on the bay. Robin, noticing that the rain had quit, came out to sit with me as we watched a slow roiling of the clouds immediately to the west.  We saw a rotation become evident and as the humid, warm air rose from below, the moisture would condense and become a visible wisp of cloud only to be pulled into the slowly rotating mass.  The weather warning sirens began to wail.  Although we were no more than ¼ mile distant, we felt no wind save a gentle breeze rustling the leaves but by now, the wind rotation over the lake was obvious.  As we watched swirling leaves being held high aloft suddenly there was a noise – a large boat motor?  No, not that kind of noise.  More like a large generator – a roar, steady and constant – unvarying in tone or pitch.  Is that what a tornado sounds like?  Air molecules moving very fast and colliding violently making that sound?  Wow! Realizing what we were seeing – the tornado was moving diagonally to the NE and therefore no threat to us – a dense mist began to rise from the lake surface as the lowest pressure area passed by.  We stayed on the deck as the mass, visible only by whirling leaves continued NE toward Graham Hill.  Two sharp and short wrenching noises – like metal scraping metal were heard as it continued on.  And then it was quiet.

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