Monday, April 28, 2014

Beautiful But Deadly

Ordinarily, I would use the photo on the left to illustrate a scene that I might consider darkly pastoral, and perhaps, even beautiful. This picture however, is much more than that. If you look into the distance at its center you can see a tornado, which only moments later, destroyed the River Plantation housing division southwest of the central Arkansas town of Mayflower. The photo was sent to KATV 7 News in Little Rock by an anonymous photographer.The event occurred a little before sunset on Sunday, April 27.

Shortly after the storm destroyed the housing division, it continued into Mayflower and later, the town of Vilonia, bringing almost total devastation to both. Currently, the death toll from the storm stands at 16, but the count could easily rise as rescue workers continue searching for victims.

A friend and active participant in our local Gothic community missed being caught up in all the devastation by only a few minutes as he was traveling back toward Little Rock on I-40. He explained his experience this way:

"... it was about half a mile ahead of me on the freeway... There were blankets in rather odd places in smashed cars, demolished buildings and cars. I didn't take pictures of out of respect."

He did however, manage to get a couple of photos of the general devastation from his vantage point inside his vehicle. With his permission, I'm providing a couple of photos that he took while passing through the devastation

Although it was somewhat dark, you can see what appears to be a large truck that overturned while the tornado rolled along the interstate.

This photo gives the viewer a better idea as to the extent of the destruction.

To be quite honest, I'm relieved to know that this valued member of our local Gothic community was slightly behind the storm. Still, countless others were were not so fortunate. Many were hospitalized and upon release, will likely return to a community in which the home they once knew no longer exists.

The storms are moving eastward and this afternoon, Tupelo, Mississippi fell victim to a tornado described as being a mile wide. According to The Weather Channel, that city has been put under a state of emergency. There are yet other communities lying in the projected paths of these dangerous storms.

A thunderstorm hit here on East Mountain a little after 10:00 pm last night. I lit a couple of candles, turned the light off and stared into the night that existed just outside my screen door. I watched the flashes of lightning and listened to the rolling of thunder. I could hear the sound of hail as it slammed upon the leafy trees, the honeysuckle and even the glassy windows. For a short while the rain came down in torrents.

 Looking out the door from my candle-lit cottage, I had a sense of gratitude for the dark beauty that a thunderstorm flashing away in the night offered me. At the same time though, I had been reminded that these storms--so capable of capturing the human imagination, can turn deadly almost on a moment's notice. It's an interesting proposition indeed!


  1. We've been hearing about the devastation up here on the news. Just awful. Very glad you're safe though, Nightwind! :)

  2. Thank you, Insomniac! That makes you and me both! These are always scary affairs; and although the weather people at times make predictions that don't materialize, they have to be taken seriously.

  3. That's awful! I'm glad that you're okay though.

  4. Wow, those pictures are tremendous reminders that Mother Nature is NOT a pussycat!! So glad you were not in danger from it! I feel so bad for all those whose lives have been turned upside down, and sorrier for those who lost loved ones.

    1. You're right about that: Mother Nature really does act up from time to time. Here in the Ozarks we were under a tornado watch and the storms do head in this direction, but there is something about these hills that seems to send the twisters either a bit to the north or to the south of us. Still, they're unnerving because one never knows for sure. I feel for those who have lost so much as well.