An Account of the 1998 First Colony Twister

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February 16th, 1998 started as every other day. I woke up and heard about a slight chance of severe storms. I had a long day of work and a college class that night so I took a little 35mm Kodak Cameo with me  . . .just in case. The skies offered no shows while I was at work so I gave up on storms. That late afternoon/evening I was attending a class at University of Houston in Fort Bend. This location is about 17 miles from Houston, Texas.  hail1.jpg (38754 bytes)
hail3.jpg (33410 bytes)      While I was in class I heard the rumble of distant thunder. I just had to take a look, so I excused myself from class for a moment. Upon leaving the classroom I found the most beautiful mammatus filled sky I have ever seen. I watched for a minute or two then returned to class. I told a good friend of mine that we were in for some storms. My current situation left me without a car and I could only expect to be picked up hours from then. 

 

     About 10 minutes later, the storm made it's presence known. Marble-sized hail began to shower down. Then it grew dangerous. The hail was pouring down accompanied by 60 mph or so winds. My classroom was not a safe space being made of two complete glass walls. I ran to make a quick phone call and warned my parents of the storm headed for the house. I had also brought along my weather radio. I turned it on to hear of the tornado and storm reports pouring in. In a flash I was back outside observing the hail.

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     The hail let off a little bit and the UH staff began trying to move the students into the halls. "To late," I thought. The hail stopped and it was drizzling outside. I cautiously moved out close to the building as the rest of my peers and professor began class again. Looking toward the sky that had just attacked us, I saw it.

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     My camera was out in a flash. The the twister was now a funnel cloud moving Southeast of me. Little did I know that as I was taking this picture of the funnel cloud it was spinning over Ruby Tuesdays where my Brother experienced the high winds of the storm. Cory, my brother, said that the funnel seemed to be hopping along. You may be able to see in some of the pictures that there is a rainbow. From the beginning there was a double rainbow. When the funnel cloud seemed to move in-between them a third rainbow could be seen pointing straight up. I took pictures non-stop until I had one last picture on the roll. . .just in case.
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1997twist5.jpg (18491 bytes)      This funnel cloud had just hit First Colony Mall and the Aerodrome Ice Skating Complex. First Colony Mall had a wall that was torn off. The funnel picked up A/C units from the Aerodrome and tossed them about. 1997twist4.jpg (14556 bytes)
     At sunset on  the tornadic storm moved away from Sugarland producing this magnificent view! That one last picture on the roll caught this spectacular view. 

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