Yesterday afternoon a tornado -- or possibly a tornado -- touched down in my neighborhood. I'm fine, my street is fine, my residence is fine, and while lots of people can't say the same about their property there do not appear to have been any injuries. But in this modern age, everything gets documented and sometimes that's cool.
So, for example, somebody downtown managed to take this photo, which was online within minutes. In this photo the funnel is just south and east of where I live and moving north and west.
Today somebody put up the following on YouTube. It is a video of the damage eight blocks south of where I live.
This next video was taken only three blocks west of where I live. The person who put it up wrote: "security camera footage from my work, you can see the tornado spin up, drop a tree on the van in the upper right and then empty the little pond."
As my friend Charles Wells points out: "Notice that at 40 seconds the wind was blowing left to right and at 1:10 it was blowing right to left. That's a whirlwind."
It was all very dramatic. I've been buried in my office all day so I don't know how things are going in the cleanup and electricity restoration, but they were moving pretty quickly yesterday on all counts.
There's often a tendency to talk about how you "just missed" something awful. As in "If I were one foot over I would have gone over the side of the road." To which I always think, "And if you were one foot over in the other direction you'd have no story at all here." In other words, as a rule I find "just-missed disasters" to be of little interest as stories. But sometimes we really do just miss a disaster. Most residents of the Twin Cities could easily have been on that bridge that fell. And in this case -- well, as I say, that first video is pretty much my neighborhood. We are probably all lucky that nobody seems to have been hurt.