Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Taber Tornado 2012

So this is the second part to the post I made earlier. I was able to snap those shots of the Venus Transit just before the sky clouded over from a severe thunder storm that was quickly making its was up from Montana. So after supper I decided to go out and take some pictures of the storm as it rolls in.
I drove out past Barnwell, which is just west of Taber, and snapped some pictures of the giant storm front. At this time I had the distinct impression that I should head back. The storm appeared to be moving pretty swiftly. I passed the thought off, and then continued on heading further west until I came to the small community of Cranford. By this time the storm was directly above and it was starting to hail, stones that varied in size from large marbles to golf ball, so I decided to head back. As I drove, I watched the clouds move in all different directions. The lower clouds where moving at a rapid pace from south to north (the news said the storm was tracking north at about 50 kilometres per hour) swirling and twisting like the flesh of some big unseen beast, and the upper clouds being driven by a cold strong north-westerly wind that ploughed heavily into the giant storm beast with great force. The panoramic picture I took at this time just west of Barnwell looking east towards Taber. I thought to myself, “I need to get home before this gets any worse.” I continued on in my little Ford Escort along the divided highway that skirts the little town of Barnwell to the south and continues on to Taber. As I rounded Barnwell at the point farthest south on the highway, the sky went black as night and the entire eastern horizon was brown from mud being scooped up by the powerful storm. My car was shaking from the wind as I slowed to a crawl and noticed other motorist stopping on the highway, and some where driving into the ditches. I finally decided to stop just before the highway straitened out and headed directly into Taber. My path was completely blocked by a giant wall of mud; that to my dismay was heading straight for me. As it struck, my little car shook violently and felt like it was being pushed sideways across the road. I was scarcely able to see the headlights of the car that had pulled up just behind me through the mud and grass and debris being picked up by the storm. I was scared out of my mind. I like to chase storms from a very safe distance. And it was plain stupidity and not listening to the prompting of the spirit which got me into this mess. My next prompting was to get out of there. So I turned around, going the wrong way, and made my way back to Barnwell. I quickly drove out of the flying mud and found a place to cross onto the right side of the highway. When I entered Barnwell I quickly took shelter behind the LDS chapel like many others. My heart was racing and I could feel it throbbing in rapid secession in my throat as I vowed to never ignore another prompting from the spirit.
(I did not take this video) I waited there until the skies lightened up and the worst of it had passed. After careful consideration, and thinking of what just happened of the highway, I decided to take a different road home. I drove north of Barnwell to Huckleberry road and turned east towards Taber. The skies where defiantly brighter, but the gale force wind blew and whipped the heavy rain across the road making the visibility nearly impossible. At a point just about directly north of where I turned around was a Pivot that was picked up and twisted like a cork screw and strewn across the field. As I slowly made my way home the sheer force and majesty of the storm was made known to me; large tree limbs strewn across the road, mettle siding torn from building and twisted and scattered through farmer’s fields all around. It was a harrowing experience I do not care to repeat.
When I did finally got home, power was out to most of the town, and I found my mother visibly shaken and hiding in a storage closet with a single candle. My heart broke for her as tears of relief started to form in her eyes. And again I vowed to never ignore the prompting of the spirit.
The Lord taught me a valuable lesion here that I shale not soon forget. Always follow the promptings of the Holy Ghost.


  1. My goodness C what an amazing experience!

    I am so glad you and yours are OK, hopefully all your townsfolk came through it alright. The whole storm imagery is such a metaphor for so many things in our lives.

    It reminds me of one of my favorite scriptures, from Alma 26:

    6 Yea, they shall not be beaten down by the storm at the last day; yea, neither shall they be harrowed up by the whirlwinds; but when the storm cometh they shall be gathered together in their place, that the storm cannot penetrate to them; yea, neither shall they be driven with fierce winds whithersoever the enemy listeth to carry them.

    7 But behold, they are in the hands of the Lord of the harvest, and they are his; and he will raise them up at the last day.

    This is the promised blessing to those who heed His words and follow His counsels.

    You have been in the hands of the Lord too. Don't be too tough on yourself for not following the prompting immediately, you recognized it for what it was, and in the end you followed it to safety. Further you can see the powerful way the Lord both protected and gently taught you an important life lesson.

    I am always humbled and awed by the Lord's ability to take a really adverse situation that naturally occurs and can turn it to a blessing in the lives of those who place themselves in His hands.

    Thanks for sharing this incredible experience with us. Lovingly, Laurie.

    1. Amazingly enough there was very little property damage from the storm and apparently no injuries either. It could have been a lot worse. We were lucky, and as our town mayor said in an interview, “We dodged a bullet with this one.”

  2. Wow, what an experience! Where we live we have to deal with tornado/waterspout warnings on a fairly regular basis (one tore up a neighboring town 10 years ago), but fortunately they don't touch down very often. My son & I got caught in a near miss a few years ago on our way to the Aaronic Priesthood campout. So we went home and had a bike ride and a pizza instead. ;)