Sunday, September 23, 2012

There was a touchdown in Cleveland, and the Browns game had not even started yet

Picture taken with my iPhone from the top of the east ramp to the upper south concourse at Cleveland Browns Stadium at about 12:30 pm EDT today:

Tornado (waterspout) on Lake Erie about a mile east of Cleveland Browns Stadium. In the foreground is the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum and a windmill. Just behind them is Burke Lakefront Airport. Taken from the top of the east ramp to the upper south concourse of Cleveland Browns Stadium.
Lemme tell you, if you have ever been curious like me and actually wanted to see a tornado, but without the massive death, destruction and terror that often accompany one, this is the way to do it. Tornadoes over large bodies of water -- waterspouts -- are generally not nearly as dangerous as their land-lubbing brethren.

I had seen a tornado only once before -- a rather disorganized job glimpsed for only a second or so between the trees as it went down a road about a half mile from my house. I was at work when a decade ago, almost to the day, one went tearing through my subdivision, leaving my house -- fortunately made of brick -- with very, very minor roof damage. I saw this one from the beginning, walking up the ramp to our seats at Cleveland Browns Stadium on a weird weather day in Cleveland -- windy, dark clouds but also, as you can tell from the picture, sun. Saw a weird tongue of cloud of a type I had never seen before, looked sort of like a spinning straw, much straighter and sharper than I've ever seen from a cloud. Saw it keep extending and thinning up. Thought it had dissipated and I turned around to leave, but I turned around again and it had touched down. The result was this.

I gotta tell you: it's pretty cool. At least when you can watch one like this, where there is little if any danger to anyone.

No reports of any damage or injuries that I am aware of and it dissipated after a few minutes. A big crowd of us had gathered at the top of the ramp to watch and photograph it. An example of the awesome power of nature, all too common in its most destructive and deadly form, but here in a harmless form few of us are lucky enough to witness.

Just absolutely fascinating. That my Browns got outcoached and outplayed -- again -- could not compare to this.

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