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Friday, August 13, 2010

Is There Such A Thing As A "Red Tornado"?

I recently covered a story on a "red tornado" sighting. No, I'm not talking about the action superhero. I am talking about a few people who actually saw a reddish colored tornado.

I did some research into this phenomenon and couldn't bring up anything besides the fictional comic character. I am guessing that the coloring may have resulted from reddish clay debris that the tornado may have picked up.

The area is known for it's red clay dirt. Or it may have been the angle of the sun's rays behind the storm, who knows? Anyway, the story is pretty interesting as well as the past experience with a tornado that the "sighter" had.

Here is the story as it ran:

Searcy Residents See Red Tornado Aloft With Saturday’s Storms

As thunderstorms and tornadoes spun throughout the state of Arkansas recently, many residents sought shelter in their storm cellars, basements and hallways. If you are fortunate enough to have a safe room like Mr. and Mrs. Dwayne Pasley of Reiff Avenue in Searcy, then running for cover is even easier.

And if you happen to have a neighbor who has one, then you might want to cultivate a friendship. This is the case for Mr. and Mrs. Larry Holloway and their children, Derek and Madison, who live next door to the Pasley’s.

At approximately 7:00 p.m. on Saturday, May 10th shortly after the tornado sirens were sounding off, Holloway and his son Derek were in their backyard, inspecting the clouds when they saw the “red tornado” make it’s appearance in the sky right above a clearing of trees to the north of where their were standing.

What Holloway and his son both describe seeing was a spinning funnel cloud aloft with a reddish glow exuding from the center. Pasley was looking out the window of his residence at the same moment and reports seeing the same reddish glow in the stormy sky above.

The storm was raging and Pasley began calling out to Holloway to get his family over to the safe room. Holloway had already begun calling out to his wife and children and gathering them to safety. His wife’s sister was also visiting the home at the time and the five of them ran next door to the Pasley’s and locked themselves securely in the safe room until the storm had passed.

Pasley explains that he built the safe room, which exits off from the master bedroom in 2002 after receiving some minor wind damage from storms that went through the area the year before. In 2001, The National Weather service reported that an F-1 tornado cut a path 7 miles long just southwest of Beebe all the way to slightly east of McRae.

Pasley’s safe room can be entered by exiting the bedroom and stepping down a few stairs to an underground concrete shelter with chairs added for comfort. As exciting as this day was, this is not the first time that Larry Holloway has seen a tornado. In 1980, he reports working in the fields of Georgetown with his father, brother and another co-worker when it began to rain very hard.

They jumped into their truck and headed for the house. When they reached their mobile home, Holloway’s brother James immediately ran to the mobile home to close some windows inside and when he opened the back door he saw the back porch leaving the structure completely.

Holloway and his father had initially decided to wait for the hard rain to let up before making a run for the house, but when he saw a tornado come across the field and gently pick up the trailer that his brother was in and turn it upside down, he and his father began trying desperately to get out of the truck.

Holloway explains that they were unable to get the doors open for some reason and the truck was shaking and jumping like a carnival ride. Only minor injuries were sustained that day by the men, but Holloway openly expresses the fact that he has since had a great deal of respect for a dangerous storm.

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