Roger's SkyPix

Unusual Weather Damage

Impaled Palm

Impaled Palm

If you have visited the Hurricane Andrew damage room, this should look familar -- a shot of a 1X4 board penetrating the upper part of a royal palm, from a slightly different angle. The board was impaled due E-W in the palm, which was not significantly twisted. The palm was almost certainly bent diagonally at a steep angle in eyewall winds analyzed at around 120 knots in the area -- meaning that the board was either propelled downward and westward, or upward and eastward, into a palm trunk weakened and perhaps slightly split in the vertical by the intense bending. Since it is highly unlikely that the board flew from below, against the bending wind, the board probably struck from above (the west). The problem is: Its compass direction is 90 degrees off the known north and south winds in the eyewall at this location, since the center of the eye passed directly overhead. No tall buildings were nearby to create a flow diversion. So was this the result of an intense shear eddy, such as those Fujita documented elsewhere in the inner eyewall, or a yet-unknown mystery gust?

2 N Homestead FL (28 Aug 92) looking NE