Last night in Spearfish, S.D., we noticed the sunny day turn black, then green, which Claire said meant tornado. Hah. It did look funny though. So we turned on our little yellow weather radio (never travel the great plains without one!) and heard a line of violent thunderstorms were due to arrive in Spearfish at 7:45. Right. 7:45. Sure. At 7:43 a light rain began. I laughed. Some storm. At 7:44 the breeze picked up a bit. So what.
At 7:45 (I swear) exactly, we were hit by a downpour and 60mph winds, lightning and thunder. Turtle shook violently. I will never doubt our little yellow National Weather Service radio again. We were somewhat protected by Wal*Mart, but when some hail began to pepper us (we have a history with hail) we drove close to the wall of the building and were well protected through the worst of it.
Then we heard about a tornado bearing down on Spearfish. We are still debating whether we should have gone into Wal*Mart. I could see that huge roof sucked off and dropped back down on us in pieces; Claire could see Turtle sucked up the tossed onto the Yellow Brick Road.
Wal*Mart is on the far eastern edge of Spearfish. the tornado touched down three miles east of Spearfish, perhaps a mile or two from us. Yikes. Glad we didn’t know until morning.
The wind backed and stayed force six until about 2:00a.m. when we again moved to the lee of Wal*Mart so we could get some sleep. I think I like 107 degrees in Tucson better.
We met a nice couple from N.C. heading for Alaska in their View (like Turtle) and spent a couple of hours talking about little glitches, and how much we like our Skinny Winnies. During the storm, we looked like two white beetles scurrying around in the horizontal rain, looking for shelter.
Not the the two pictures, taken a couple of minutes apart, are not the same. Picture number one, a heavy Wal*Mart cart is being blown uphill, out of its corral; picture number two it is long gone; we never saw it again after it passed our stern at about 20 mph.