Monday, November 18

Life

I Missed All The Fun!

I was in the office in the city today, and missed all the fun at home.

Fortunately, the tornado* missed my house completely and clobbered the shopping district.

I didn't know about it until I got back to Hornsby station this evening and tried to go to the shops to pick up some groceries, only to find the whole shopping centre taped off with police and emergency services in attendance.

No-one killed, though six people were inside a portable building at the railway station that flipped over, and they must have had a hell of a fright.

My train home was a just few minutes late.  Awesome work by NSWGR and the SES, given that there was a tree on the tracks this afternoon.

Update: Found another picture of that portable building from a different angle, which allowed me to identify it.  Two observations: First, it didn't just tip over, it travelled a good twenty feet and landed completely upside down.  Second, I was standing right next to it three hours earlier.

It wasn't just my suburb that caught it today, either; this view from the Manly ferry looks more like a fishing trawler in a storm in the North Atlantic.

On the other hand, at least the fires are out.

Update Two: From the sound of things, the mini-tornado/storm cell took a path right through the centre of town.  It hit the big Westfield shopping centre, blowing out the roof of the cinema multiplex (and trashing the cinemas pretty badly), took part of the roof off the hotel across the mall, crossed over the public library (no reports of damage there), hit the railway station where it flipped that portable building and at least one car, then hit the local technical college, the police station, and the council offices.

The small number of injuries can probably be attributed to two things: First, it was a miserable day here and few people were standing around outside to get hit by debris, and second, where the glass roof blew off in two places in the shopping centre, it sounds like the wind came in through the doors and blew the panes of glass up and out rather than inwards.  In some pictures some of the misplaced panes are visible, resting on the intact ones.

Update Three: News report.  Apparently the library was damaged, possibly badly.

* Possibly;** witnesses have described a funnel and a debris vortex.  Whatever it was, it was highly localised and strong enough to flip cars over.  Possibly an earth elemental.  Or a really cranky stick insect.
** Now confirmed.  Not a stick insect.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 07:33 PM | Comments (5) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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1 I'm glad you're safe!

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at Tuesday, November 19 2013 03:21 AM (+rSRq)

2 In the states we call those "microbursts".  They cause extensive damage in a very small area.  Scary stuff.  Glad you're okay!

Posted by: Teresa at Tuesday, November 19 2013 09:35 AM (KhgAG)

3 I was wondering about that, since there were only a couple of videos of the event, and neither one showed the usual distinctive funnel.  But the Australian Bureau of Meteorology has now confirmed that it was a tornado, estimated to be an F1.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at Tuesday, November 19 2013 12:55 PM (PiXy!)

4 Glad you weren't hurt.
This sounds like the type of tornado we get most often in the southeastern US.  They're small compared to the Midwestern variety but still dangerous  and very sudden. They can really sneak up on you, drop a tree on your trailer and then they're gone.

Posted by: The Brickmuppet at Wednesday, November 20 2013 08:34 AM (DnAJl)

5 Ninja tornado!

Posted by: Pixy Misa at Wednesday, November 20 2013 09:42 AM (PiXy!)

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