Friday, July 22, 2011

Gustinado

 I am workamping at a recreation area on Hartwell Lake located on the Georgia and South Carolina border. A maintenance crew comes around once a day to haul garbage and tidy up the park. 


Harley dog and I were out walking when the crew asked me  what in the heck happened here yesterday?  We were surveying the ten thousand pieces of destroyed tree scattered around the parking lot and road. 


Harley was looking as innocent as can be. So I said "I swear, we didn't make this mess!"


I told them I thought we were hit by a mini-tornado. They said they hadn't seen anything like this at the numerous other stops they make on the lake.


Indeed I found out from a park ranger that my camp site used to be rather shady, then a storm hit, taking out the big oaks. It is still surrounded by tall trees, but none with the big overhanging branches like shady oaks provide. 


Bless those confounded squirrels. Someone has wildly esimated that 3 million trees a year are planted by squirrels that forget where they hide their nuts. I find that hard to believe. But I hope it's true!


Mini-tornados must be drawn to this area for some mysterious reason. I just read up on dust devils, but they don't happen in the rain. Maybe we had a dust devil then the rain hit. Hard to say. 


Then I discovered a new term; Gustnado or Gustinado. I prefer Gustinado, as that is fun to say. I also think I should rename Harley to Gustinado.  That might that describe him better than his nickname of "Monkey-On-A-String".


A gustinado might be exactly what hit this area.  The National Weather Service gives this definition:

Gustnado
(or Gustinado) - A gustnado is a small, whirlwind which forms as an eddy in thunderstorm outflows. They do not connect with any cloud-base rotation and are not tornadoes. Since their origin is associated with cumuliform clouds, gustnadoes will be classified as Thunderstorm Wind events. Like dust devils, some stronger gustnadoes can cause damage.


So that was one strong gustinado that scattered the mess in the parking lot for sure. No pictures yet, I am having technical difficulties, but I dug these two pics out of my archives. 


Last July I was at this bucolic swim lake in Coolville, Ohio

Hurricanes and Hangovers and Other Tall Tales and Loose Lies from the Coconut Telegraph by Dear Miss Mermaid

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