Madison Tornado 20090506

When the alarm sounded at work, it was still early – maybe 8:55am. This one was not a watch, but a tornado warning !! I was about to leave my desk anyway for a meeting at 9 – so I clicked up a quick radar image, grabbed my HT and went downstairs to our designated ‘Protective Area’. From there I can barely hear the 146.94 repeater, so I switch over to the EMA frequency that local law enforcement uses to go direct with NWS. I’m hearing reports of trees down and structure damage on County Line Rd, near Mill Rd, which is close to my house. More chaos and confusion – this apparently was more than just a warning, for sure. When we are released about 30 min later, there are still a few damage reports coming in on the ARES & SKYWARN nets, but nothing that might leverage an excuse to get out of my meeting. After the meeting I borrow someone’s laptop to check my webcam – no response. I ping my cable-modem – – – timeout

Uhh, Houston – we may have a problem here. I call a neighbor and he says that he watched the back side of the storm as it passed about a half-mile north of our neighborhood. He said it was suckin lots of rain in behind it. No visible damage on our street tho, but all the power was out. I talked to WB8ELK, who lives about a mile NW from here, and he said there was a lot of damage around him. A co-worker’s Mom lives off of Segers Rd about where the storm track starts and reported that ALL their big pine trees were down, but had somehow missed the house when they fell. Layin in every direction, you could hardly see the ground she said. No one was hurt, and the cats did finally find their way home the next day.

Other reports from KN4OK, N4BCD, and others helped to resolve the path across the map as the tornado crossed the main roads on it’s way across Madison. Here is a quick map I drew based upon those reports and the preliminary NWS report. Click for a bigger view.

Click for a larger map of the tornado path

Click for a larger map of the tornado path

I have also found this photo by Tommy Self that may well be the initial development of the tornado, taken from I-565 near County Line Rd. You can follow Tommy (@twisterchaser) on Twitter, or check his blog for more of his weather pics.

rain-wrapped tornado from @twisterchaser's blog

rain-wrapped tornado from @twisterchaser's blog

This may not be the juiciest storm story you’ve heard recently, but it was pretty close to home for us here in Madison… we are all thankful that it wasn’t any bigger.
/;^)

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