Thursday, November 7, 2013

Tornado rips through Matagorda Bay, Texas

When we arrived at Matagorda Bay the weather was beautiful. The following day, Halloween, the weather decided to turn ugly. During he evening hours the sky darkened and it rained quite a bit all night. In the early morning the winds kicked up and we were alerted to possible thunderstorm activity. I went out and prepped our site by bringing in our chairs, pulled in the rugs and pulled in all the window awnings. The main power awning was already in. Once done, I settled onto the couch, opened the blinds and worked on my computer. Around 12:30PM the wind once again began gusting again and the rain became more intense. I was watching the flagpole near the nature center when I spotted a waterspout coming directly at the coach. We watched as it approached and lots of debris started flying everywhere. Our neighbors chairs, coolers and tables went flying, and their coach moved rapidly up and down. It was pretty intense, but short lived. We've been in 60mph winds in Wyoming and Colorado and the coach hardly moved. This incident shook the coach pretty well. We weigh in at 47,600 pounds. I went outside to see if the coach was ok and saw our neighbors coach had been knocked off it's stands and was partially off it's concrete pad. Looking the other way, I saw a 36' fifth wheel upside down. A woman was screaming frantically. Three people were trapped inside the trailer. I ended up prying open a rear window and we rescued all three adults. They were transported to Bay City hospital with non life threatening injuries. I would prefer less excitement.

This fifth wheel was in the site on the left. The wind flipped it over the electrical box, then onto it's roof then flipped it once more on it's other side.

As it flipped, it struck the trailer in the next site causing slight damage to it. As you can see, the door is underneath and the only access was through the rear window which is not a fire escape. I was able to slide my fingers under the frame of the small window in the center and pull it open.

My first concern was electrical shock as we were ankle deep in water. Feeling no tingling in my feet indicated the electrical had been tripped. Thank God the electrical system was fairly new and operated as it was supposed to.

The folks in the next site had their truck parked in front of their rig. It suffered damage to the passenger side. It could have been much worse.

Here's what the inside of a trailer looks like after it's been flipped three times. The injured folks were standing on the broken chair in the middle of the trailer.

Two ambulances, loading the injured parties. The sky was still threatening but no rain and only moderate wind.

If you looked at my last post, you'll see a much different looking sky. This picture is almost the same. The hose on the left was ripped from the neighbors trailer. The fifth wheel on the other side was knocked off the pad. Several other trailers suffered minor damage, mostly their jacks.

I was impressed with the Chaparral trailer and the way it held up. Since it hit on it's roof, the roof held firm. When they righted it the next day the frame held together and didn't come apart. All in all, a pretty sturdy vehicle...
Later that day, Mother Nature apologized by treating us to this sunset.

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