Apparent tornado strikes Beaumont

 We’ve had a bit of “weather” this afternoon as they call it in these parts.

 An apparent tornado struck the Dowlen Road shopping area of Beaumont where Wal-Mart, Parkdale Mall and all the other chain stores and restaurants reside. There have been injuries reported and reportedly a roof collapsed in the Kohl’s store, trapping some people. A Beaumont Enterprise photo I saw show several cars overturned in the Wal-Mart parking lot. Nasty stuff.

 The local media reported it happened about 2 p.m. That was about the time I got back downtown after returning from Lumberton, about 12 miles North. On the way back I stopped and paid my insurance at a place on Dowlen Road across from the mall. So I just missed it.

 I did notice a big ugly wall cloud with what appeared to be a funnel-like object hanging down a tiny bit when I got back to my office. The cloud was to my West. I looked at the KBTV weather radar when I got to the computer and saw what looked like a pretty stout thunderstorm cell just to the West of Beaumont. It was certainly nothing to write home about.

 There were no tornado watches per se and no warnings that I know of, although of the latter I wouldn’t know for sure. I say watches per se, there were watches issued for “tropical funnel clouds,” which describes the partial funnel that I saw. These are funnel clouds that develop and usually don’t make it to the ground. If they do, the warning I saw on the Weather Channel said, the can cause damage. Whether this was a tropical one, I don’t know. Just checking the Beaumont Enterprise Website comments it appears not everyone agrees it was a tornado but could have been straight-line winds.

 Speaking of tropical funnels I see what could be several-in-the-making outside my window at the bottom of a big black cloud. I can see rain pouring down on the Interstate, but not outside.