Clean-up is proceeding around town as additional photos and videos continue to be posted. YouTube has lots of video, including the newscast that was airing during the tornado. You can hear the trepidation in the weatherman’s voice as he notes that there was a touchdown on Manhattan’s west side. You can’t see very much since it’s dark. I think if it had been daytime and I was watching this video I would probably #$%^#@ in my pants.
Here’s a map of the tornado route from the local paper that I enhanced to show the location of Hale Library and my house: http://www.flickr.com/photos/kstatelibrarian/2580365867/ The last touchdown was probably about a mile from my house as the crow flies. Library staff were extremely fortunate. Several live within a block or two of areas that were in the direct path of the storm but none had any serious damage other than snapped tree limbs, debris, and power outages. The library missed getting hit by only a few hundred feet. Our branch at the engineering complex had water damage.
Here are photos from a professor in engineering showing damage in and around the engineering complex on campus: http://picasaweb.google.com/aeolopile/20080611TornadoImpactKStateCollegeOfEngineering
I saw the Waters family on Saturday evening at their home east of Salina, Kansas. The Waters own the hardware story that was flattened here in town. A different twister went through Salina on Wednesday night and took out part of house that is next door to their home! They are out in the country so the other house is about a 1/4 mile away from theirs but still! Whoa! This could’ve been a double disaster for them. There were huge pieces of twisted metal in the farm fields as we drove to the house. We had to take a detour within sight of their home because of work being done to remove debris in the road, and the one lane dirt road we took was almost blocked by dozens of trees that had been uprooted as the tornado crossed it.
One more weird story from Scott Waters, manager of Waters Party & Wedding: he is able to make many of the deliveries despite the devastation to the family business. On Friday, he called a wedding customer and left voice mail for them that the delivery truck would be there as promised on Saturday. His employees drove to the neighborhood and realized it was the one with the most serious tornado damage. They drove around looking for the address and finally stopped to ask. The man pointed to a demolished house. They found out the wedding party had been moved to a local church and made the delivery there!
What’s really weird and eerie is that you can drive through most of town and not even realize that we’d been hit by a twister. But when you go through areas where the trees are snapped, homes & businesses are flattened, and roofs are missing, the power of mother nature really hits you.