Ea­gle Nest ‘land­spout’ dam­ages Ea­gle Nest busi­ness, ve­hi­cles, RVs

The Taos News - - VALLE VISTA - By Ellen Miller-Goins San­gre de Cristo Chron­i­cle

The rare tor­nado that touched down in Ea­gle Nest Aug. 9 dam­aged a lo­cal busi­ness, ve­hi­cles, a barn and sev­eral RVs.

“This is the first doc­u­mented tor­nado in the Moreno Valley since at least

1950,” noted a dam­age sur­vey pub­lished on­line by the Na­tional Oceanic and At­mo­spheric Ad­min­is­tra­tion Na­tional Weather Ser­vice in Al­bu­querque, “A land­spout tor­nado pro­duced a nar­row swath of dam­age (2.3 miles, with a max­i­mum width of 80 yards) near Ea­gle Nest dur­ing the early af­ter­noon of Thurs­day (Aug. 9). The tor­nado crossed U.S. 64 very near Elk Lane Road track­ing slightly north of due east un­til dis­si­pat­ing over the north­east por­tion of Ea­gle Nest Lake.”

For its sur­vey Fri­day (Aug.

10), Na­tional Weather Ser­vice staff in­ter­viewed sev­eral in­di­vid­u­als who wit­nessed the event in­clud­ing Don Em­bler, the owner of Pep­per Sauce Camp near the in­ter­sec­tion of Elk Lane Road and U.S. 64.

“The dam­age is ex­ten­sive,” Em­bler told The Chron­i­cle .“I lost 18 win­dows, in­clud­ing (the) door win­dow. My straw barn has been com­pletely oblit­er­ated and scat­tered over 4 acres, so I have a large cleanup ef­fort un­der­way. All the win­dows got blown out on my Volk­swa­gen Bee­tle, and my an­tique farm truck win­dows got blown out, too.

“Eigh­teen win­dows will have to be re­placed, all the glass and some body­work on the truck (and)VW. The 16×18 barn is just a pile of straw with a 4-acre de­bris field and a few roof/sid­ing is­sues to at­tend. I’ve al­ready col­lected about 50 pieces of metal on the halfmile path down Elk Lane to the lake. To­day we’ll be tack­ling the big­ger items strewn across the south­ern acres… oh boy!

“I’m still wait­ing to hear from my in­sur­ance com­pany.”

Ac­cord­ing to the Na­tional Weather Ser­vice re­port, “All

10 units that com­prise the (Pep­per Sauce Camp) prop­erty suf­fered dam­age. All but two of 16 west-fac­ing win­dows were par­tially or com­pletely de­stroyed by fly­ing de­bris. Win­dows and storm doors at the main build­ing were par­tially or com­pletely (bro­ken). A small car (the Bee­tle) that was parked and fac­ing east had all but the front wind­shield (busted out). The bed of an old truck used as a mar­ket­ing sign was lifted and car­ried about

50 feet to­ward the south­west. The front wind­shield of an old Chevro­let C65 truck was struck no less than 75 times by fly­ing de­bris but re­mained in­tact while both side win­dows were com­pletely (bro­ken) out. An old hay barn was col­lapsed and roof­ing ma­te­rial found 300 feet away.”

The state high­way right of way was also dam­aged, the re­port noted. “Im­me­di­ately west of the PCS, ap­prox­i­mately

180 feet of barbed wire (and) picket fence was downed and dam­aged. Sev­eral steel T-posts were sheared or bent nearly 90 de­grees.

Ron­nie Tru­jillo, Ea­gle Nest pa­trol su­per­vi­sor for the New Mex­ico De­part­ment of Trans­porta­tion, con­firmed, “It took out about 900 feet of our fence (snow fenc­ing and barbed wire) when it came across.”

The tor­nado also af­fected the nearby camp­ground at Ea­gle Nest Lake State Park.

“An un­oc­cu­pied “fifth wheel” recre­ational ve­hi­cle with an es­ti­mated weight of

12,000 pounds was par­tially lifted, shifted and rolled on its side,” the re­port stated. “Two other RVs sus­tained dam­age to in­clude (bro­ken) win­dows, in­clud­ing a Class A diesel pusher (dry weight

32,000 pounds) that was ori­ented nearly per­pen­dic­u­lar to the tor­nado’s path. The own­ers from Ok­la­homa were at the site when the land­spout tor­nado first formed but quickly va­cated their RV and sought shel­ter at the nearby visi­tor cen­ter. Only pea-sized hail was re­ported at the camp­ground. Dam­age was the re­sult of sig­nif­i­cant fly­ing de­bris that was lofted at least 7 feet AGL [above ground level].”

The re­port noted, “A land­spout tor­nado is a type of non­super­cell tor­nado whereby low-level ro­ta­tion orig­i­nates near the ground and quickly as­cends to­ward the base of a rapidly grow­ing thun­der­storm. (The Ea­gle Nest tor­nado) had a clas­si­cally nar­row con­den­sa­tion fun­nel cloud and formed in a vast open area just west of U.S. 64 be­tween mile mark­ers

283 and 284 (by the Pep­per Sauce Camp).… El­e­va­tions along the track ranged from ap­prox­i­mately 8,350 feet to

8,175 feet MSL [mean sea level]. “The land­spout tor­nado also ex­hib­ited anti-cy­clonic or clock­wise ro­ta­tion dur­ing its en­tire life cy­cle, which is not com­mon.”

Cour­tesy Linda But­ler

A tor­nado de­vel­oped near Ea­gle Nest Lake Aug. 9, pos­si­bly the first one ever recorded in the Moreno Valley.

Cour­tesy Photo / Don Em­bler, Pep­per Sauce Camp

A pile of hay and de­bris are all that re­main of a hay barn at the Pep­per Sauce Camp fol­low­ing a rare land­spout tor­nado that formed in Ea­gle Nest Thurs­day (Aug. 9).

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