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Eye of the storm: Seeing tornado up close and personal

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Eye of the storm: Seeing tornado up close and personal
Detroit Lakes Minnesota 511 Washington Avenue 56501

When I was a little kid (like 5 or 6 years old) I turned on the TV and the movie "Twister" was on. I remember watching in terror as tornadoes destroyed everything the characters in the movie had, and somehow when you thought everything was done, another twister would pop up again.

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I guess you can say this movie was the reason I had an ongoing fear of tornadoes as a little kid.

I remember my first tornado drill in kindergarten; our principal came on the loudspeaker and said there had been a tornado spotted on the north side of town.

I didn't realize this was a drill, and I ended up hiding under my teacher's desk, screaming and my parents had to come pick me up.

Anyway, throughout my life I've yet to see a real tornado, and until last Friday, that streak stood strong.

This weekend was the region 14-C Amateur Baseball Tournament, and me and a friend decided to go see it.

The first game was in Carlos (which is near Alexandria) at 8 p.m. Friday night.

My friend Chris and I went down there for the game, but after we had been at the game for a while, we started to notice some bad weather coming in.

A Carlos police officer came through the stands and told all of us who weren't local that we should probably leave the area because there was a real bad storm coming in.

We hit the road, and immediately rain started pounding down on us. We had made it about 10 miles when we noticed a huge wall cloud forming parallel to us (we were driving north and this storm was going east) and we started to get a little wary of what was going on.

We basically tried to beat this cloud before it got to the road, but our two paths met just at the end of the cloud, where it tailed off and formed into a funnel cloud, right above us.

The straight-line winds hit just at the same time, knocking my drivers side window off track. Thankfully, Chris got his hand on it right in the nick of time, or it would have blown out of the car completely.

The town of Parkers Prairie was about five miles north of us, and we knew that was the farthest we had to go to find some shelter, so we kept driving, even though the car was hydroplaning to the point we couldn't go above 30 mph.

We got to Parkers Prairie and took shelter in the local grocery store for over an hour, and when we finally came out again, my car was soaked inside and out (because there was no window).

We still had to drive another hour or so in my windowless, wet car, while it was still raining, but it was worth it to me.

That situation was definitely a close call, but as I told my friend "God gave us one of the best shows we'll have ever seen, and it was free," and it was worth it.

Jonah Bowe is a senior at Detroit Lakes High School.

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