Tornado in Billings, MT

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Blog entry by Todd A. Clippinger posted 06-21-2010 06:19 AM 17099 reads 0 times favorited 35 comments Add to Favorites Watch


We had a close one today. A tornado hit here in Billings, MT and it was visible from our property.

I did not see it as I was in another part of town working on a project. Rita called me about 4:30 and said she could see a funnel cloud out the window. She did not know at that time if it was moving toward our house or not.

We do not have a basement or viable crawlspace that could be used for shelter in such an event. I knew from her description that she had enough time to vacate the premises.

She snapped this image right before she took off.

Tornado In Billings, MT

The arrow points to the funnel cloud. It looks like smoke coming out of a smoke stack but I can assure you that is the tornado on the ground.

I stayed at my client’s house which was getting pummeled by hail and I battened down the hatches for him since he was gone for the afternoon. I thought for sure his new skylight was going to break. That would be just dandy since I recently installed it and the bathroom remodel isn’t even finished.

Anyway, I knew the safest place for me to be was right there since he had a basement and there were sirens going off everywhere. As of the most recent reports, several businesses were destroyed but fortunately nobody was hurt.

So what did I do while the weather was going crazy? After I got my tools picked up outside I kept working on the inside of the house. What else was I going to do? The weather was too bad to travel anywhere so I worked.

That is all for now. I am getting close to having my work schedule under control and that means I will be able to return to sharing with my fellow woodworkers. But for now I am still working long hours 7 days a week. I can say the recession seems to be over in Billings.

Here is a link to the local news station for more (and better) images of the tornado.

Your friend in the shop and thankful to still have one;)
Todd A. Clippinger

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana,

35 comments so far

View Dusty56's profile


11859 posts in 4462 days

#1 posted 06-21-2010 06:25 AM

I’m glad that you and the Mrs. are alright , Todd : )

-- I'm absolutely positive that I couldn't be more uncertain!

View a1Jim's profile


118066 posts in 4351 days

#2 posted 06-21-2010 06:57 AM

That was a close one Todd I’m glad all is well.


View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


19243 posts in 4450 days

#3 posted 06-21-2010 07:28 AM

Those things are the pitts!! :-(( Glad you and Rita are OK too!!

We had one here in WA a couiple weeks ago!! Didn’t do much, but was a tornado.

My Grand Pappy told me to get in a ditch or depression on the tornado side of the car or any other heavy object. You don’t want a car or anything else rolling over on top of you :-)

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View MedicKen's profile


1615 posts in 4236 days

#4 posted 06-21-2010 07:41 AM

Todd….Glad to hear you and your family are safe.

I dont know how you guys living in tornado prone areas do it. I have never been near or even seen one other than on TV. As far as I am concerned you can keep those things. It is something that has to be delt with every year and nothing will change that. I live in CA and we have earthquakes. I would gladly take an earthquake every 10-15 yrs than have to dela with the tornado threat every year. i was in the Loma Prieta quake in Oct 1989, 7.1 magnitude. It shook like heck and we did sustain a moderate amount of damage. 30 days later we moved back home. If ya get hit by a tornado it could be years before going home and then have to possibly do it all over again next year. No thanks. I have a lot of respect for those of you in tornado areas.

-- My job is to give my kids things to discuss with their [email protected]

View Kindlingmaker's profile


2659 posts in 4300 days

#5 posted 06-21-2010 07:44 AM

I am glad all of you are safe and we have missed your words of skill, encouragement and sharing the love.

-- Never board, always knotty, lots of growth rings

View Napaman's profile


5533 posts in 4851 days

#6 posted 06-21-2010 07:54 AM

WOw…scary stuff…glad you are all okay…

-- Matt--Proud LJ since 2007

View wseand's profile


2796 posts in 3816 days

#7 posted 06-21-2010 08:22 AM

Glad to hear you all came out of it ok. That was way to close for my comfort.

View grizzman's profile


7836 posts in 4077 days

#8 posted 06-21-2010 11:11 AM

wow…they seem to be popping up in some strange areas…glad your all ok in bama..we have these threats quite often….grizzman

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

View MsDebbieP's profile


18619 posts in 4935 days

#9 posted 06-21-2010 12:00 PM

Glad you and your family/friends are ok .. sorry about the losses for others in the area.

In the tornado of 1979, here, my aunt and uncle lost their entire farm. They and their daughter went to the basement and stood in a corner, watching the furnace, washer, dryer, etc spin in a circle in the basement (missing the corners) and the rest of their house disappear …
friends of ours ended up in trees across the road from their home….
We were lucky and were on the edge of its wind. We had green skies and debris whirling in the wind but no losses (it passed us by about 2 miles)
We’ve had 3 tornadoes here in my lifetime. Scary stuff.

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (, Young Living Wellness )

View Dick, & Barb Cain's profile

Dick, & Barb Cain

8693 posts in 5073 days

#10 posted 06-21-2010 12:16 PM

Very scary stuff, Todd.

We’re glad you were able to avoid any damage, or injuries.

-- -** You are never to old to set another goal or to dream a new dream ****************** Dick, & Barb Cain, Hibbing, MN.

View John Steffen's profile

John Steffen

218 posts in 3829 days

#11 posted 06-21-2010 01:42 PM

A tornado is a very scary thing. I’m glad you are alright.

We had a F5 tear through the next little town two Saturdays ago.

-- Big John's Woodshed - Farmington, IL

View Thos. Angle's profile

Thos. Angle

4444 posts in 4736 days

#12 posted 06-21-2010 01:47 PM

That’s spooky!! Tornado in Billings. Been cold and wet up until now here in Jackson Hole. Finally got into the 70’s. Keep workin’ Todd. Rita can keep ya out of trouble. LOL

-- Thos. Angle, Jordan Valley, Oregon

View Karson's profile


35223 posts in 5174 days

#13 posted 06-21-2010 02:42 PM

Todd: Glad you made it through OK and that no one in town was hurt..

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Appomattox Virginia [email protected]

View RexMcKinnon's profile


2593 posts in 3969 days

#14 posted 06-21-2010 03:11 PM

Glad to hear noboday was hurt and nice to hear from you again.

-- If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail!

View 8iowa's profile


1591 posts in 4535 days

#15 posted 06-21-2010 03:15 PM

That’s a fantastic photo. Thanks for sharing your experience.

-- "Heaven is North of the Bridge"

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