It was “Tornado Tuesday” in Guthrie County last week, but the frightening storm moved onward quickly and it was snowing here by Sunday.
The media first began reporting a radar indicated tornado in the Greenfield area the evening of Oct. 9. It was imbedded in a small cell, not the usual super cell, and Guthrie County wasn’t in a tornado watch area.
Never-the-less, the small cell as seen on TV radar, kept moving almost due north at an ominous pace until the tornado siren went off twice in Panora, sending many frightened residents to their basements and asking for divine protection. This took place around 6:30 p.m.
With continual television coverage,it was somewhat like watching a freight training bearing down on a person stuck on the track.
As it turned out there was evidence of tornadic activity, if not a tornado itself.
The Panora Fire Department had spotters out Tuesday evening. “We saw some rotation, but no actual tornado,” said fire chief Matt Harmann. “It (the rotation) passed through the east part of town.”
That’s where a large ash tree some 40-50 feet tall was toppled at the residence of Carol Lee Trent, 701 E. Main.
The tree was torn off 8-10 feet above the ground, said Panora public works director Jerry Buttler, indicating it could have been tornado force.
Trent had no other damage to her property. “It was like the tail came down and caught the tree,” she said. Before going to the basement, Trent said he looked out and saw a great deal
of leaves flying through the air.
Across the street from Trent and to the east there was tree damage at two residences and a window being blown out at one of the homes.
The tree fell partly on Highway 44. Contractor Chad Rat-cliff pushed it off the roadway and city employees helped Ratcliff remove the ash.
Employees and customers took refuge in the restrooms at Casey’s General Store after a funnel was sighted. “We were hollering at people to come inside (from the drive),” said employee Shelby Wilkinson.
Once inside, the door was locked and, according to protocol, people
went in the restrooms, which have brick walls as does the building.
Wilkinson said prior to this it was windy, but suddenly it was quiet and leaves started swirling. She estimated 10-15 people were present.
The unseasonable weather seems like it’s over for now, though, according to the National Weather Service.
Highs are supposed to near 59, with lows that night around 45. Friday and Saturday will be similar, although the low will be around 34 Saturday night.
Sunday’s lows will stay in the upper 30s and Monday’s high will be back around 57. Sunny skies are forecasted through Monday, according to the National Weather Service.