Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Post-Tornado Rainbow

Yesterday I thought it was just a typical windy Autumn morning while I was sitting in the Middletown Starbucks. What I didn't know was that most of Kentucky was on a tornado watch, that a tornado had been spotted just over the river in Indiana, and another one had overturned a semi-truck on the Watterson.

Meanwhile, in Scott County, a forming funnel cloud was caught on video, and in Hopkinsville, one tore the roof off a storage building. That may or may not be the same one witnessed by National Weather Service spotters near Pembroke, and then in Dunmor in Muhlenberg County. An enormous tree in Berea toppled in the storm, narrowly missing an entire apartment complex. In Middlesboro, the mall was damaged and the power was knocked out.

To my surprise, one of the baristas came to the center of the room and announced, "uh, everybody, your attention please, we've just been informed that funnel clouds have been seen in Anchorage, so I'm going to have to ask you all to move away from the glass windows and to the rear of the building, for your safety."

And so we all migrated to the back, everyone suddenly intently tapping at their laptops and handhelds, and within seconds, we were all sharing info with each other that we'd gleaned. One guy instantly had a real-time animation from the NWS on his laptop full-screen, and was showing us how it was estimated to be moving at 80MPH and thus would be past us very quickly. It wasn't that long ago that we'd all be huddled around a radio, listening for the latest wire-service news update from the DJ, but now, every citizen with wi-fi internet access is instantly better informed than even that radio DJ of yesteryear.

Though the tornadic front did indeed swiftly pass, the rainstorm on its coattails continued for hours more. But when it was over and blue sky began to peek out from the cloud cover, I caught an odd rainbow that only existed over a portion of very specific clouds - when those clouds shifted, so did the rainbow, and when that cloud system rolled away, the rainbow was gone. Though my eye saw an evenly ordered full spectrum in it, my camera surprisingly did not - at least, not as clearly.

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