Thursday, June 09, 2011

Devastating Tornado in Minden Ontario

Yesterday, a devastating tornado touched down in a retirement community just South of Minden Ontario. Here are a few images captured less than 24 hours afterwards.

Although Environment Canada hasn't actually admitted that it was a tornado, the residents know it was. One elderly gentleman, who told me he was a padre in the Canadian Forces during the Korean war and is an 80-year old retired cleric said he was in his back yard and saw it coming. It tore up the street one over from his house and although he said he couldn't see a twister per se, there was no doubt in his mind that's what it was. This house was a few doors away from his:

Just across the street was this house. The gentleman who owned it told me that his wife, who was hearing impaired, was laying down on a couch when the storm brought a tree crashing through his roof which threw her off the couch. As far as he knows, her injuries are limited to some minor contusions, but she is recovering in Minden Hospital.

These workers are working out how to seal the damaged building from the weather. It's likely that the insurance company will write off the house, but the contents still need to be protected.

By the way, most of the residents here are elderly retirees. The houses are typically modular homes. Some people were very aware of what had transpired, such as this scooter-enabled gentleman who shook his head and told me, "third time in 3 years".

This lady, though was not the only one for whom life went on. Somewhat in a daze, she was out doing her gardening; pruning her lilac tree and raking the debris on her grass. Her house was spared, but she was oblivious to all the devastation around her.

This was not on the same order of magnitude as the recent tornadoes in the American midwest, nor of course the Japanese earthquake and subsequent tsunami. Despite the fact that there was no direct loss of life, these people's lives were uprooted along with their precious trees.

An interesting sidebar: I live about 15 km North of this site. I had actually taken my camera and tripod down to the lakeside when I saw a line of heavy rain, presumably accompanied by lightning, approaching on the Intellicast weather map. I did NOT get any lightning pictures and although it got windy, it didn't even blow the big umbrella I had brought with me inside out. Just a few kilometers south: a tornado. By the way, the trees that surround my property are the same as the ones torn down in the photos. I have a few of them over 50' high and more than 4 or 5 feet in diameter. If one came down, my house would be gone. Sobering thought...

You can see the entire sequence of images on my Smugmug site in this gallery. I prepared them for submission to various news agencies, so they have been reduced in size. Also there has been ABSOLUTELY NO POST PROCESSING or manipulation: they are exactly as they came out of the camera.  Enjoy!

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