January 16, 2008
The Near Miss
Neighborhood destruction, BellaVista Ar. I was unable to take many photos of the extensive damage as the police asked me not to, "as an effort to stem looting". "Only those holding press cards were allowed into the area."
entry started 1-12-08
"Hoku, look at the NOAA site and check the weather map, you need to get out of there and get home sooner than 0100, there is some very bad weather comming your way"
"History Guy," I said" We have drivers all over the US in trouble the weather is hideous,"
"Trust me, you need to get home. promise me you will leave soon"
History Guy wasnt kidding. He is a history and curent events instructor that works nights and weekends for thisplace. He studies weather as well as Civil War battles... The weather system streaming up from Texas was very powerful and was streaming over Benton County insted of passing above it like it usually does. We had been sighting constant lightning all evening, and steady rain but not heavy.. So my cube mate and I we stayed on and worked, even worked late. There just seemed to be one problem after another... It was 1230 in the morning when I walked out to the parking lot to my van.
The weather had been unusually warm, in the 70's. When the storm kicked up I knew we were in for it. As I pulled out onto the bypass, I could see the curtain cloud with its bright flashing of lightning streaming up from the southwest. Awesome beautiful and terrible all at the same time. I drove home slowly and carefully as the leading edge overtook me and it began to drop soft pea sized hail intermittantly.
more damage on Camden Drive Bella Vista AR. The press, as I have come to find out were not allowed in either and there was little reporting of the damage to our town. There is an investigation into the whole restriction of information collection, and who is behind it and why going on now.
By the time I swung into the town and up Camden Dr. the percipitation had ceased and I saw no damage, just a huge amount of water, streaming down hillside culverts and the Lake Avalon spillway into Tanyard Creek...water flowing so hard I could hear the roar with my windows rolled up. I crossed running water only once and that was at the base of the hill, near where I fell and broke my foot in September. I crossed carefully and made my way up the hill to our little circle and parked my trusty van in the garage. It was 0130
At two I was in bed, The wind was blowing, and I had presence of mind to crack my bedroom window. It faces due north. I got into bed and as i reached for the light swithch, there was a noise like a freight train roaring through. The house went black and I could hear the snapping of tree limbs and felt a change in the air pressure. The lightning was non stop...
The house I was thinking of buying last summer. Ruined. I know that the owner is still trying to sell, but has moved to MO to be near her folks who sold their home next door, also damaged by the wind.
I thought that was it and for the most part it was. We continued to have rain and wind but no more cyclonic bursts like the one at 0220. The next morning was bright sunny and cold. No power, but the gas log sort of took the chill off and Woody and I made plans as to how we were going to handle no hot water... not opening the fridge and thankful that this wasnt summertime. I had a 11 am hair appointment so I got the garage open and drove out not seeing any damage in the immediate area.
By the time I had gone but a block or two I saw why we had no power. These photos were taken less than a 1/4 mile away where a catagory 1 tornado or "straight line wind burst" of over 100mph (the weather people are still not sure what it was)It whatever it was went right over us and hit these folks. Its going to take months to fix up the damage.
LakeAvalon Spillway into Tanyard creek
I went on to the appointment and shot this picture of the Lake Avalon Spillway. The levee has some damage and we have had officials out to look at this. I know that the new city council is really concerned, and I believe that a news blackout was declaired so as to not panic people. The waters have receeded and I have seen shoring crews up there working on the clean up. There was house debreis possibly blocking the waters path diverting it this way, making it look worse than it was.
A week later and there was very little reported locally. Our neighborhood is somewhat back to normal. Our power was restored in 24 hours for which I am grateful. Isnt it amazing how much we take for granted, and how much our lives depend on electricity?
I have lived on earthquake faults, seen my house torn apart by one. Endured flooding,drought and lived on the flank of the worlds most active volcano, Kilauea. I am finding the weather here more and more intimidating, and never take it for granted that "the mountains will protect you" The dry line is just above us and the big storms can hit at any time. I am just glad that the freak tornados of this strange winter missed us, and took no lives as they went through.
Thank you Lord, no one was killed or injured, and that I didnt buy this one!
Labels: Bella Vista, weather