Monday, May 23, 2011

below Joplin

or, to be more precise, at the Oklahoma Welcome Center (seen above with the windshield wipers working, and below, without), which, today, was largely welcome as a place in which to pull over in the torrential storm, which seemed to go on for ever, with lightning striping both  horizontally and vertically across the sky.   We'd just driven past Joplin, some twenty miles or so up the road.   It's not that I didn't take photographs, but they all seem to be of ravaged trees - so far as one could see anything through the driving rain - what they don't show is the sheer surreal effect of how a tornado hits a neighborhood and landscape.   One's just driving through normal, soggy, undamaged countryside - and then, suddenly, debris everywhere; road signs swivelled upside down; poles snapped off; houses with their roofs and sides shorn off, and other heaps of wood that must have been houses at that time yesterday.   From the Interstate, one couldn't see the part of the town itself that had been badly hit (or maybe one could, but it just wasn't there any more) - the strange part was the way in which the motels and the fast food restaurants on the outskirts seemed to be functioning just as usual.   The tornado had just made a clear path of destruction, as though a half-mile wide bulldozer had passed through.   Very shaking.

So for the rest of the day, we kept a close eye on the radar, courtesy of our iPhones, which is why we spent a long time in the Welcome Center, and why we're now only in Oklahoma City, and not in Amarillo, as planned.   

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