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The North Bend Eagle



Area gets up close look at tornado

by Nathan Arneal
Posted 5/25/11

Click on each photo for a larger view
The shot above, taken by Chad Ruzicka, was taken about 2:30, Saturday, May 21, from Ruzicka's shop a few miles northwest of North Bend.

The bottom three pictures were taken by Miranda Nesbit from the Larry Feala farm three miles north of North Bend.

It was the afternoon of Saturday, May 21, and Micheala Buckner was having a great time.

Several friends from either coast were in town for her wedding reception that night. Before the festivities began, she was showing them a slice of Midwestern life by giving them a tour of the family farm, the Larry Feala farm, three miles north of North Bend.

As it turns out, they an up close and personal look at the dark side of Midwest life as well.

"We were in the barn playing with some kitties and we came out and they look up and saw these clouds, and they were like, 'Wow, that's a really interesting cloud,'" Buckner said. "I looked up and was like, 'That's no cloud. We need to start running.'"

Despite the calm conditions on the ground and mostly blue skies above, there was no mistaking what they saw. Nearly directly overhead was a funnel cloud extending toward the ground, a tornado in the making.

The group sprinted for the house, with a few of the visitors snapping pictures along the way. To her guests, some of whom hailed from Seattle and Maine, a tornado was a foreign concept, and they weren't sure how to react. The former Micheala Feala said they followed her lead, though.

"They were scared because I was scared," she said. "I thought I was about to see my family farm get wiped out in front of my eyes. I had never been that close to a tornado before. It was scary for me, and they reacted that way because I reacted that way."

The funnel cloud looked like it was directly above her parents' house, Buckner said. They group went for the cellar and stayed there about 10 minutes before coming back out. Luckily, no damage was done.

"You never want to see (a tornado) happen to anybody," Buckner said, "but here it's three hours before our wedding reception and I thought that everything was about to change completely."

Back in North Bend, a former high school classmate of Buckner, Clay Scott, was umpiring a baseball game at the city park.

The weather was calm and partly sunny, so it was a surprise when the catcher stood up in front of Scott and pointed to the northwest sky.

"It was pretty impressive from the baseball field even," Scott said. "When I saw it, it had to be pretty close to our house. You could see it for a couple of minutes. You could see the rain wrapping around it."

Time was called and the players were ushered off the field. Scott called his wife Summer, who was home with their four children five miles north of North Bend.

Summer looked outside and wondered what her husband was talking about.

"I don't see a tornado," she told Clay. "I'm looking out the front door and it's blue sky."

Clay Scott told his wife to go outside and look to the southwest. There it was, hovering just above the ground less than a half mile away. Summer quickly gathered her kids and headed to the basement.

The tornado never touched down, and no damage has been reported.

"It seemed like it was just about to touch down when it retracted back up into itself," Buckner said. "I guess it never reformed again."

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