Photo of home damaged by tornado nearly 130 miles away | national news

When Katie Posten walked out on Saturday morning to her car parked in her driveway, she saw something that looked like a note or receipt stuck to the windshield.

She grabbed it and saw it was a black and white photo of a woman in a striped summer dress and scarf holding a little boy in her lap. On the back, written in cursive, it was written: “Gertie Swatzell & JD Swatzell 1942.” Hours later, Posten would discover that the photo had taken quite a trip – nearly 130 miles (209 kilometers) on the backs of monstrous winds. .

Posten had tracked the tornadoes that hit the middle of the United States on Friday night, killing dozens of people. They approached where she lives in New Albany, Indiana, across the Ohio River from Louisville, Kentucky. So she thought it must have been wreckage from someone’s damaged house.

“Seeing the date, I realized it was probably from a house hit by a tornado. How else is it going to be there? “Posten said in a telephone interview on Sunday morning.” This is not a receipt. It’s a well-preserved photo. “

So, doing what anyone in the 21st century would do, she posted an image of the photo to Facebook and Twitter and asked for help finding its owners. She said she hoped someone on social media would relate to the photo or share it with someone who has a connection.

Indeed, this is what happened.

“A lot of people have shared it on Facebook. Someone ran into him who is friends with a man of the same last name, and they tagged him, ”said Posten, 30, who works for a tech company.

That man was Cole Swatzell, who said the photo belonged to family members in Dawson Springs, Ky., Nearly 209 miles from New Albany as the crow flies and 269 miles by car. Swatzell did not respond to a Facebook post seeking comment on Sunday.

In Dawson Springs – a town of about 2,700 residents 97 kilometers east of Paducah – homes were razed, trees smashed, and search and rescue teams continued to search the community for search of survivors. Dozens of people in five states have been killed.

The fact that the photo has traveled nearly 130 miles is “unusual but not that unusual,” said John Snow, professor of meteorology at the University of Oklahoma.

In a documented case from the 1920s, paper debris traveled 230 miles from the Missouri Bootheel to southern Illinois. The paper debris straddles the winds, sometimes reaching heights of 30,000 to 40,000 feet above the ground, he said.

“It’s getting carried away,” Snow said. “The storm dissipates and then it all flies to the ground.”

Posten plans to return the photo to the Swatzell family this week.

“It’s really remarkable, certainly one of those things, considering everything that’s happened, that makes you consider how precious things are – memories, heirlooms and that sort of thing. “said Posten. “It shows you the power of social media for good. It was encouraging that there were immediately tons of responses from people, looking for ancestry documents and saying, “I know someone who knows someone and I would like to help.”


Follow Mike Schneider on Twitter at https://twitter.com/MikeSchneiderAP

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