My turn to go weather watching

I suppose there's some irony in the fact that, just before the release of Storm Chaser, I went out on weather watch and spotted some rotation that apparently formed a funnel cloud a short time after I saw it. No touchdown, though, and nothing much bad happened.  Please keep all the people who've lost homes, jobs, and family members in the recent storms in your thoughts and prayers -- and, since it's Memorial Day, you know who else to also keep in your thoughts and prayers.

Like Allie Craine (see icon!), I had a camera with me when the storm came in; unlike her, my pictures and video don't show what it really looked like:

     Storms did widespread, but minor, damage across Noble County Sunday afternoon, with storm spotters reporting cloud rotation near Albion and Avilla. No injuries were reported.
     Most of the damage came from wind gusts blowing down trees, with over two dozen weather related incidents reported to the Noble County Sheriff's Department. Area fire departments were called out on storm watch after National Weather Service radars detected possible cloud rotation near northwest Noble County, and put the area under a tornado warning at around 3:40 p.m.
     A crew of Albion firefighters, keeping watch near CR 100 N and River road, reported rotating clouds directly over their position at around 4:15 p.m. A short time later another AFD weather spotter reported rotation over the south side of Albion, in the Orange St. area.
     Not long after, two similar reports came from Avilla: cloud rotation on the east side of that town, and a funnel cloud passing over the Avilla Fire Station.
     There were no reports of a tornado touchdown, but strong wind gusts hit the area, along with areas of heavy rain and some lightning. The wind snapped both railroad crossing gates at Albion's Orange Street CSX crossing, and brought a tree down on a house near South and First streets. Elsewhere, a tree limb was blown onto a parked car in Ligonier.
     CSX crews repaired the crossing arms later that night, joining electric linemen, highway department personnel, and volunteer firefighters in coming out on a Sunday to tackle the damage. Workers cleared trees from several roadways, including US 6, Albion road, and two different locations along CR 600N, among others. Albion and Cromwell firefighters were among those who helped clear roadways, in addition to their storm watching duties.
     A DNR Conservation Officer is credited with getting a swimmer to safety at Skinner Lake. When the tornado warning came in, the officer coaxed the swimmer in, to notify him of the danger and get him to safety.
     In addition to trees, wires were blown down in several places, resulting in scattered power outages. Police replaced blown-down warning signs at the 7th Street CSX crossing in Albion, which is closed for crossing work, and roadwork signs were also blown down on Allen Chapel Road near Kendallville.
     Wind gusts and fluctuating power are believed responsible for setting off four automatic burglar alarms around the area, including one at Truelove Brothers in Albion.


  1. Storms like these show we are not as strong as we've always believed. Great article.

  2. Thanks -- and yes. Even a relatively light storm has the capacity to really disrupt our daily lives.

  3. Not funny for a humor writer...but very informative. We've had some of the craziest wind out here in the West that I've ever seen. It felt worse than the Caribbean hurricane I somehow survived.

  4. Hey, I don't *always* write humor! :-)

  5. I've always been fascinated by the power of nature. Just last week, a funnel cloud was spotted very close to my home. Collin and I were actually able to watch it on TV as it were happening.

  6. Hopefully it was moving away from you, Norma! I'm with you, though -- there's something fascinating about what nature can do when it's riled up.

  7. Interesting stuff. Weather Watching over here would be very different.

  8. What we do on the fire dept. is usually called weather spotting around here: We station ourselves in one place, in the path of the approaching storm, so we can give warning to people further out before it reaches them. That's not the same as the famous storm chasers, who actually follow the storm in search of good science/images/video/thrills. If the storm passes us by, we don't go after it!