Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Argentina:Unusual Tornado Activity

[To our readers: Upon occasion we have published information of the truly
unusual weather conditions taking place in parts of the Spanish-speaking
world that are unaccustomed to severe weather. The tornadoes and
hurricane-force winds in the Mediterranean last week - posted to YouTube for
anyone interested in seeing them - are proof of this change. Here we have
similar tornadic activity in Argentina--Ed.]

SOURCE: Diario La Arena
DATE: 10.02.07

A Tornado in La Pampa - Is the Weather Changing?

A tornado destroyed fields in the rural region of El Destino. Nature
unleashed its fury as a tornado toppled pine trees, caldenes and elms,
smashed water tanks, ripped the roof from a private home and even caused
cracks in walls. All of this in only ten minutes and in a stretch at least
10 kilometers long and a thousand meters wide on both sides of Provincial
Route 10.

Jeronimo Garcia Fiorucci was almos inside the eye of the tornado. Garcia is
the owner of the La Maternidad field, located between Luan Toro and
Winifreda and in the vicinity of the El Destino warehouse, some 65 km
northeast of Santa Rosa. "I almost didn't live to tell the tale," he
informed LA ARENA.

The farmer - married, with a 4 year-old child and living in Santa Rosa - saw
the tornado form a mere 500 meters from his house, watching its progress as
it tore up everything along its north to south path. It soon struck the
fields animal pens, where there is a hose and scale for weighing livestock.

"The time was 10:00 a.m. and I was alone in the house. I could see a storm
traveling from north to south from my window. It looked like any other
storm. But when I looked again, I saw the sky was turning dark. Not only
that - the clouds were starting to twist and move up and down quickly.
Within a second, the famous tornado funnel shape had formed. I wanted to run
to the water cistern to seek shelter, but I saw a 2500 liter tank fly past
and didn't have time to leave the house. I saw the tornado strike the floor
(sic) and move up and down. It appeared to go around the house," he

At least two panels flew off the side of the house, and the dining room's
dovetail joints were starting to come apart. "The house was dark and full of
soil. Everything shook. I didn't know what to do, so I decided to get under
a desk to protect myself," he added.

Nora Gonzalez was working at the El Destino general store, some 10
kilometers east of Garcia Fiorucci's field. "We saw the tornado and decided
to grab the kids and take off at full speed to Winifreda in our pickup
truck," she says. "We had never seen anything like it."

Graciela Gatica had seen simular things, but only on TV. "It was like those
documentaries and films from the United States. All that was missing was a
cow flying through the air," she told this newspaper.

Graciela was driving along Route 10 from Winifreda heading westward. She was
heading toward a field with her husband. "Things suddenly went dark around
El Destino. It was like driving into a tunnel. That's where the strong winds

The couple thought that they could beat the tornado before it crossed over
the road surface of Route 10. "We thought we could beat it and reach the
field, where one of our grandmothers lived alone. But we didn't, and the
tornado caught us."

"The tornado funnel was plainly visible," she says. "It seemed a thousand
meters wide to me. When we drove past the La Caldenada ranch, we saw plants,
wires and pine trees topple. They fell and fell, and wouldn't stop falling.
We even saw an elm fall across the road. There were also cows on the road,
running. Dirt swirled around. We then drove slowly along the side of the
road, thinking our car would overturn. I was terrified, but it didn't
overturn. A stronger wind emerged from the field facing us and it changed
direction, changing from north to south. We then had a hail storm around the
Pampa Redonda field, leaving everything white," she says.

Meanwhile, Jeronimo Garcia Fiorucci remained under his desk. "Nothing could
be heard. There was so much noise that it was impossible to hear anything.
All I could feel was the sound of the panels [being torn off] and the trees
breaking. When it calmed down, I went out for a look. Everything was
shattered, but I felt reborn," he explains. The house suffered cracks to its
walls while paneling outside the dining room and one bathroom were torn off.
The cattle scale was ripped out of the ground, flew over an electrical wire
and landed 15 meters away. A
battery charger was also torn away. "I had never felt so much fear. Luckily
it didn't hit a town, because it would've been a disaster. I definitively
feel born again."

(Tranlsation (c) 2007. S. Corrales, IHU. Special thanks to Lucas Grossi,