During an early fall fishing trip, Mike Mitchell, my son-in-law, and I were fishing in Jones Lake when we noticed a serious looking storm approaching from the northeast. We hurried in from the Lake and putted, a 5 MPH speed limit in the canals, around to our house and I got out and hooked the trailer to the Jeep, while Mike putted back around to the boat ramp at Louie’s Bait Camp.
A more recent picture of my Wife, Layla, the wonder Dog, Spike, our 1982, Jeep Scrambler, and with the old ranch house, now my office, in the background featured at the top of this post.
Several other anglers were in line and waiting their turn to retrieve their boats and I was fourth in line. Just sitting there and looking at this storm racing toward us, I knew from experience that it would get us before we got the boat on the trailer.
The storm hits us full force, a deluge of rain, lightning popping all around and the wind shaking the jeep. I see Mike head under the bridge over Highlands Bayou and for a degree of safety, using the boat’s motor to keep it headed into the wind. Several times we make eye contact and he is pointing up, overhead. I don’t know why he is pointing, so with only a bikini top on the jeep and the windows rolled up, I might as well be standing outside in the rain. The wind is rocking the Jeep, so I maneuver to point the Jeep’s hood directly into it.
Now as I glance upwards, I see what Mike was pointing at, a tornado curled up into the cloud above us. The ugliest, twisting, turning mass of weather gone berserk that I had ever seen. It resembled a black corkscrew, twisting up into a dark gray cloud and coming down out of the cloud, directly toward us. It hits the ground, marsh to be exact, about 200 hundred yards southwest of us. It hits like a bomb, knocking mud and water a good one hundred feet into the air and goes of skipping across the marsh, over the railroad tracks and then back up into the cloud.
The rain lets up, the wind dies down, out peeps the sun and we load up the Whaler. Mike gets into the Jeep and quips, “Dad, the seats are wet!”
My fourth ground zero, introduction to a tornado and this one was way too close!