We are not in Kansas anymore

Molly, back on Terra Firma

Maybe they should rename her Toto, or Dorothy.

And if a donkey could click her heels together and bray “There’s no place like home” that would be Molly.
The four footed resident of Askewville N.C., according to published reports (The New York Times, no less) was seen ‘lifted into the funnel cloud when the storm hit” as 165 mile per hour winds and possibly two tornados touched down in the Bertie County area.

Reports are that 11 people perished in the fury of Mother Nature in Bertie and nearby Bladen County but that Molly, who stars in the town Christmas pageant when not flying was found the next morning, on her back in a drainage ditch with, in the words of a TV reporter, ‘all four feet up in the air.’

Molly’s owner, Jake Dunlow was asked by a reporter how Molly handled her ‘plane ride.” The Askewville resident looked down and said “I dunno.”

Doubt it? Consider the following from the Tornado Project:

Could a person actually get sucked up into the tornado?
Most people killed by tornadoes have been blown sideways, with only a small vertical movement. “Sucked up” is not really an accurate description of being caught in air that is rushing towards the vortex. As soon as debris is carried upward, it is usually spun out of the vortex. Centrifugal force throws things out. To get lifted high, something would have to stay in place through the 100-200 mph winds at the edge of the vortex, and whatever was holding it in place would have to release it at the point in the vortex of maximum upward velocity. Only a very small percentage of all debris is carried aloft, but in rare cases, as in the the Pampa, Texas video, cars and trucks can find their way into that maximum uplift area. It is messy business inside the naturally occurring blender that is the tornado.

How likely is that to happen? Has anyone ever gotten lifted up and carried a ways?


How far?
The longest distance is about a mile.

Did they live or not?
The man died shortly after rescuers found him. This happened on May 1, 1930, in Kansas.
What about animals? Have they ever gotten sucked up and carried?
Animals have had similar fates. Again, the term “sucked up” is not correct–the animal would be blown upward by air rushing into the vortex. Most likely they will be blown outward near the ground for anywhere from 10 to 400 yards.
It is not unusual to hear about fish, frogs, toads, and salamanders falling from the sky on occasion. When a tornado passes over a body of water that has these animals near the surface(during the breeding season, for instance), they can become “entrained” in the circulation, and may be lifted and carried a short way before dropping to the ground.

How far do things get carried if they are lifted and carried?

The furthest distance a 1 pound object can be carried is about 100 miles. The furthest known distance a photo or piece of paper was carried was a little over 200 miles. In the Great Bend, Kansas tornado of November 10, 1915, debris from the town was carried 85 miles. After passing through the town, the tornado went through or near Cheyenne Bottoms, now a wildlife area. Hundreds of dead ducks fell from the sky 25 miles northeast of the end of the path. And after the Worcester, Massachusetts tornado of 1953, chunks of soggy, frozen mattress fell into Boston Harbor, 50 miles to the east of where it was picked up.

Oddly enough in our search for more information on the incident we came across this in the Golf Talk website:

Justin Dunlow of Askeville along with his three-year old daughter and five-year old son sought shelter from a doublewide mobile home which was ripped and shredded by the winds. Their very own mobile home nearby was also destroyed.

“I just started praying, and the wall fell on top of us and that’s what kept us there,” he said. “I can replace the house, but I can’t replace my babies. And that’s what I thought about. I’m alive. My babies are alive.”

Milton McKoy of Bladen County thought his mobile home in Ammon was out of the path of the storm before he saw pigs and other animals lifted into the sky by the tornado.

“It looked just like The Wizard of Oz,” said his wife, Audrey.

The laundry room served as the couple’s shelter as trees were snapped by the tornado all over the neighborhood. When they looked next, they realized that their home has been twisted around by the twister and they were already in the backyard.

Molly was in her home pasture the next day, apparently no worse for the wear.

Rant D’Jour

Two words that should send chills down the spine of ex-smokers everywhere… more


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About James Rising

A recovering radio addict wrestles with the written word.
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