Skip to comments.Surviving the tornado: Man withstands tornado and has the video to prove it (MA)
Posted on 06/08/2011 5:43:04 PM PDT by libertarian27
Ryan Donovan knows what everyone else with a daily commute out of Springfield knows well.
If you're just a few minutes behind schedule, you might as well not even try the South End bridge. The way traffic jams from Columbus Ave onto the bridge and moves slowly off to Route 5 or the Agawam rotary, you're much better off heading to the Memorial Ave bridge and taking your chances there.
That is, unless an F-3 tornado is barreling down that stretch of Route 5 and heading directly for the bridge. Donovan, a 25-year-old chemist from Westfield, learned that lesson the hard way but was miraculously spared injury last Wednesday when the now infamous tornado washed over him and his 2003 Ford Escape XLT. He actually has the video to prove it.
"I was running a little late and normally take the south end bridge," he said. "I decided to take Route 5 north and came over the Memorial Bridge and saw the funnel cloud developing in West Springfield."
(Excerpt) Read more at masslive.com ...
His direct YouTube link to his video - Amazing!
That last 20 seconds are frightening. That tornado looked like the Martians in the War of the Worlds remake coming over the trees!
home viewing bkmk.
This is the first video I’ve seen of this tornado coming directly at and over/through someone - amazing stuff, apparently he only received one scratch on his person - I don’t think his car made it.....
This tornado cell took a 39 mile swath across Massachusetts.
Our very own Freeper, kickstart, was stuck in traffic on I91 north as the tornado passed over his truck.
Cracked windshield, a few dents and scratches.
watch at home reminder
I'd have been curdling the air with invective, interspersed with prayers for forgiveness in latin, english and hebrew, and later, changed my pants.
I’ll bet Ryan was glad he decided against buying the Smart car.
I was thinking the same thing. At a bare minimum there would have been at least one “oh, s&#t!” when I saw it was coming straight at me.
I think I heard a faint S-word when he got into his car - lol
I wouldn’t have that much composure - if it was me I’d have to dub the whole video with music instead :>)
I'm pretty sure my audio would not be fit for children, women or sober sailors either.
You need to have a good lateral view of any tornado; they sometimes have multiple votices rotating about a common center. Also the "wind wall" extends out much farther laterally than is indicted by the "dust pick-up cloud" in the center. While he was focused on the dust/debris pickup, the windwall came in from the left and whacked him...
To get a look at the lateral "reach" of that same tornado, look at this YouTube video of it as it crossed the Connecticut River (and hit two bridges). Notice how it pulls the surface water into itself (starting to form a waterspout) and how far up and down the river it reaches out and disturbs the water as it crosses diagonally. (The video appears to have been made from a "towercam" atop a building high up on the east bank...)
I haven't georeferenced this video to a map, but Donovan was probably somewhere on the far bank of the river somewhere near the bridge on the right in this video. I sure wouldn't have wanted to be on either of those two bridges!!
See what I mean about the danger of developing "tunnel vision" as a tornado is approaching...?
Wow! That funnel sucked the water up right down to the exposing the river bottom! Imagine how far away fish were falling as that monster dissipated.
Kickstart! You made it! Yikes.
FWIW, look how the winds "reach under" the second bridge. That may give you an idea why experts now do not advise "taking shelter" under a bridge or overpass...
I have located the skyscraper with the microwave dishes where the camera that made the video linked in #17 was mounted. The bridge on the right is the railroad bridge, and the second bridge hit (at left) is the Memorial Bridge. In the foreground is I-91, 5 parallels the river on the far bank.
I've already plotted locations for the camera, the approx. position of the tornado at the start of the tape, as well as my guess as to Donovan's location. I can "ballpark" kickstart's location on I-91, and, if he wishes, he can help me refine that.
If enough of you think it is worth the effort, I can create a set of KML files including those positions and an approximate track of the tornado center. It is a lot of work (mostly because the camera zooms [uses different focal lengths] and pans) but I may attempt overlaying a couple of the camera views on Google Earth.
If I do the above I could create a set of KML files that I can publish as a link. Clicking on the files would start you off in Google Earth, centered high over the "camera skyscraper" with north at the top, showing an overview of all features. Then I would rotate the view around to the camera's first view azimuth, drop down to the camera's elevation, and tilt over to approximate the view at the beginning of the video -- with the video view from the camera's viewpoint superimposed on the Google Earth view.
No promises, yet, but if several folks use Google Earth and are really interested, I may give it a try... Any takers?
I will move over 6 ft, and fire up a Windoze machine that has Google Earth on it if you post something like that. And trust me, firing up that old dog is a try on my patience.
Too bad Google Earth doesn't actually work on a Linux box. But they do like to pretend it does.
Thank God that he got through it okay. I sure was glad to that small car still there parked on the road, right side up.
Location was I91N just before the first on ramp and between Bliss St. and Howard St.
The building camera is on top of Manarch place in Springfield - it’s the Channel 3 Springfield camera - I watched it live (interestingly the warning siren and message on the tower didn’t kick in until after the tornado had gone southeast of it)
The guy in the car was at the W Springfield Bridge St Pumping station -(from the article) just north of the Memorial Bridge on Rt 5 - if you use google map satellite to see the area where he ‘thought’ he could safely get off of rt 5.
There should be tornado path mapping already of this thing - there’s aerial footage of the path on the net.
Here’s a TV interview with the guy at the location
(you have to see his scratch :) - lucky kid)
I have the tornado center passing about 1,000 feet in front of you -- which means you got whacked on your left side by its southern wind wall. My guess is that the damage was mostly on the left side of your vehicle -- and you got plenty wet. (As in... a good part of the Connecticut river got dumped on you!)
Were you one of the lead vehicles in that line of backed-up traffic that stopped just south of where the tornado crossed I-91?
If so, you were very lucky: the "wind wall ring" of that thing was wider than the river at that point -- and you definitely were in a max wind zone. Good thing you had mostly water to your left; Donovan (on the other side of the river) got whacked by the roof from an "ethnic" restaurant across Hwy 5 from where he stopped.
BTW, do you know what happened to those cars that were on the Memorial Bridge when the tornado (and half the river) whacked it? Or the cars that were on I-91 just ahead of you?
I know I'm doing this rather after-the fact -- but I just saw the Donovan video and the one from Monarch Place -- and decided to do a little "intellectual exercise" using Google Earth and Google Maps Street View to "place those videos in 3-D space". (Sort of "keeping in practice", as it were...) '-)
That thing was scary! Glad you weren't a quarter mile farther north!!
I was just trying to find out if anyone on the thread used Google Earth and could/would take advantage of whatever work I might put into creating a "show'n'tell" with it.
Looks like you are the only one interested - or with GE running (albeit on an old Wndz machine...)
I already have a set of KML files showing all pertinent locations -- and three viewpoints that approximate the camera views from atop Monarch Place. By using Google Maps Street View, I was able to "go to" where Donovan was parked by the pumping station -- and even identify the cell tower visible in his video.
For grins, I may try recording a "Google Earth Tour" of my results. If it doesn't satisfy me, I'll probably just upload a folder of KML files to my server and send you a link. Might just grab a few GE views and publish them as JPEGs for all to view. We'll see...
Botttom line: it looks as if it's not worth the effort of grabbing frames from the video and going to all the effort to match GE views to them (a real PITA...)
Who knows -- to paraphhrase Flip Wilson in drag, "What you'll see is what you get..." '-}
Looks as if few (if any) folks are interested in whatever I might create with Coogle Earth -- so I'll just do whatever pleases me -- and upload whatever "falls out"...
Too bad I "came late to the party": I might have even created a video and uploaded it to YouTube. Now, this is just "old news".
FWIW, I saw a few tracks online, but none matched the area covered by the Monarch Place video -- so I just went ahead and did what suited me. (The fun of the challenge is working with low-angle video; anyone could plot a track from directly overhead...) However, if you have links to some good track plots (or photos) of Springfield / West Springfield, I'd appreciate them.
There is lots of good info about tornado behavior in that river-crossing video; it is well worth studying closely.
As I said earlier, this is mostly an "intellectual exercise" for me; any shareable output will be a bonus. ¿Quien sabe? -- I may just share a few JPEGs of my results...
A tractor trailer truck was tipped over on its side on the bridge (just as you would exit the bridge on the W.Springfield side)- I was watching it live and it looked like that was the only real bad issue on the bridge- I could be wrong.
There's another video someone took going 91 north on youtube - they showed themselves driving away(northbound) and it did not look like anyone northbound was seriously injured or any cars destroyed as they went through where the path was.
See on the left side of the photo - just under the bridge there's a small square building there on the river side of Rt 5 - that's where he pulled off - just down the ramp off the rotary. The railroad bridge is on the far left - by the blue tarps on the houses it looks like it just touched the railroad bridge on the outer parts of the tornado. (more pics on link)