I'm a long time lurker to this site, and I've never actually posted before, but because this was such a big woo woo event for me, I thought I would
give you guys a personal account of what happened. My house was ground zero for one of the tornados that formed in Oilville, Virginia yesterday
First off, while this is a personal account of being inside a tornado, I understand that the physics of the tornado isn't something that strange. What
is strange is that I am currently living in my childhood home (my wife and I are children of this new great depression, though the parents live in
Virginia Beach, so it's nice having the place to ourselves). I am 27 years old, and I have lived in this house since I was 7 (well, I spent five years
traveling the world, and I just got back, but still). I've seen many strange things out in the country, but I tell you this is by far the
It started with my wife, my childhood friend, and his girlfriend hanging out on the side porch having some beers after work. My neighbors keep horses,
and there are plenty around. For a few hours before the actual storm hit, you could hear the horses going crazy and my neighbors yelling trying to
keep them under control. It started raining and we chalked up the crazyness to the weird weather. We went in to keep from getting wet, then my wife
had to leave to go to choir practice. For some reason, I was overly concerned about her driving by herself (despite the church being only two miles
away), and I tried to keep her from going. She thought I was just overreacting and went out to church anyway.
Fast forward about fifteen minutes (it's about 7:45 now), and my buddy and I are playing the Wii getting down on some Lego Star Wars. He stops the
game and says to me, "Dude, we need to get downstairs. Can you feel the electricity in the air?" I agreed with him and we went downstairs and outside
to the side porch to get a better look at what was going on.
So we're on the side porch again and the rain really starts coming down hard. It sounds to me like the rain is getting even heavier, and I look over
the side to see golf ball sized hail pummeling my yard. I call my wife to tell her to wait to drive home until it's safe. The thunder was pretty
strange too, as it was rolling, never stopping. It sounded like a freight train in the sky.
Then the weirdness started. The hail stopped, the rain stopped. It was eerily quiet. One of my neighbors houses sits about 100 meters across a field
from my porch, and we heard this big "woosh" sound. Suddenly, the field is full of this fog that is coming towards the house (this is strange because
the storm itself is moving in the opposite direction). The fog reaches the porch and smells of ash, and we thought this was really weird. Why had the
ash and smoke been sucked up from my neighbor's chimney?
It was a few seconds later I realized. I moved farther off the porch to get a look above my house when I see a circular cloud hovering under the black
clouds over us. I joked that the cloud kind of looked like a UFO. That's when we put two and two together, and realized we were at the very center of
this giant bullseye cloud painted above my house. We were at the very center of the vortex!
We rushed inside and grabbed pillows from the couches to cover us, and ran into a hallway bathroom with no windows. Hearts pounding, the three of us
huddled in the corner of the bathroom with a makeshift pillow fort for protection. That's when we heard the drains start making sucking sounds and the
whole house started shaking. I looked at the door we had thrown stuff against waiting for hell itself to come through.
We got lucky, though. As quickly as it had come, all the noise stopped. We sat there in silence for a few moments before any of us dared to venture
outside. When we finally did, we went back to the porch to see the tornado has just touched down right past my neighbors house I mentioned earlier.
More scary for me, it looked like it was heading towards our church, where my wife was!
I know it wasn't very smart, but all three of us ran to my friend's car to make the drive to the church to make sure my wife was alright. Luckily,
they had a much different picture of what had happened, and even though we were only two miles away, they saw the tornado travel harmlessly across
their field of vision, never coming very close. I got there totally freaked out, and all the other church members thought I was getting worked up over
In any case, like I said, I have never seen anything like this happen in Virginia. It's totally unprecedented. I've seen tornados before, but nothing
this big. I'm not a meteorologist, but it looked like it was at least an F3 to me, though given my situation, I wouldn't be surprised it I was
exaggerating it. Still, scary stuff.
It was quite a ride, I tell you that. I'm hoping that all of my fellow Southerners are doing alright. Certainly some high strangeness going on
edit on 28-4-2011 by Jeremiad because: fixed some typos =P