The twister already passed the area it is said to have hit (15 & Groesbeck/16 & Garfield). The sirens were screaming from that direction shortly before (definitely would be within earshot of sirens from that part of Clinton Twp). When I was taking this pic, I felt an intense wind burst coming from behind me. It was wierd because all the action was in front of me, and I was shooting at an angle that was perpendicular to movement. I kept turning around to make sure there were no other formations coming from this cell on any side. It was clear on 3 sides of me and above me, with some blue showing through.
Notice how dark it was in the photo above taken at 7:57 pm.
At 8:01, the skies lightened as the cell passed (the large tree in the photo below is seen partially in the right of the pic above). After taking this photo, I got into my car and headed to the north end of the lot to shoot southeast.
Here is a great slideshow by local ABC affiliate, WXYZ-TV. One of my pics of the tornado dissipating was used when it was probably over St. Clair Shores between 10-11 mile, or perhaps it had gone out over the water at that point. Some of the photos of damage are bizarre. There's one of a trampoline up against the house - like at the 2nd floor level. There's another shot of a hot tub that was shoved off a porch. Now that's force if it was filled with water, and given it's low center of gravity. Many large trees were toppled.
If you want to see video, watch this. If you are short on time, slide over to the 3 minute mark and you will see filmed exactly what I was witnessing in the parking lot, from a further distance, and from a different angle.
EDIT: Here's great footage of it coming and then taking out the yard of these folks. Watch where the small canopy they were under landed.
I'm told that my photos were used on Fox 2 news in a broadcast. I had sent the pics to both the ABC and Fox affiliates. The latter I had used the form on their website. I suggested the pics may be used by the Weather Service investigating since the camera was fixed and rotation could be seen between the shots. I'm sure they found enough evidence on the ground, by the looks of it. Often times, straightline winds will have enough force to do the same kind of heavy damage. There are various signs they use to discern whether it was straightline winds or a tornado, such as the direction the trees had fallen. They can be all in one direction close to each other, but a block or two away, they might be laying in a different direction. Or, actual twists can be seen in the wood of a tree stump, versus straight splinters.
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