Plentywood, MT (KEYZ) “It’s a surreal experience, these are not typical of the photos I usually take, I am more of a portrait photographer, but when it was all going on I really felt that I needed to get out and record it and everything,” professional photographer Taylor Brooks Ordahl tells News Radio about taking storm photographs in Montana Monday night.
A National Weather Service team was visiting northeastern Montana Tuesday to assess the damage after back-to-back thunderstorms uprooted trees, downed power lines, damaged buildings and flipped small airplanes at the airport in Plentywood. Sheridan County officials say three transmission lines were damaged by Monday’s storms and power remained out Tuesday in Plentywood and Outlook as temperatures were forecast to reach into the high 90s or low 100s (36 to 39 degrees Celsius).
“Me, my mom and brothers were just driving around, and were told we should go up by the airport and by this time the first storm had already passed. It was fun to sit and watch it through the window and we hadn’t realized how much damage had been done,” she says. This was until they pulled up to the Plentywood Airport, where reality sunk in as the second storm bore down on her and her family.
Taylor Brooks Ordahl, Photography
“But when we got to the airport and we could see things (the storm) building and we could smell propane and could see all of the damage to the planes, I was filled with mixed emotions. Firstly, I was devastated and heartbroken for anybody who had property or airplanes out there and farmland that had been destroyed. Definitely overwhelming,” says Ordahl.
Still, her passion for the unknown and capturing that once in a life time snap shot, overrode her urge to flee. ” But then I guess knowing that the second storm was building up in the background and starting to pick up speed and come at us, and all of the other elements that were involved, it definitely was a bit of a rush.
Captured for the history books, one Plentywood family forced to take shelter under a pickup truck in their shop while the severe windstorm destroyed their nearby trailer house. The storm, which carried winds up to 127 mph caused damage all over town while a microburst at the airport destroyed at least nine small airplanes.
“I know a lot of people who probably would have been pretty horrified to be out in the storm like that, in fact some of my family was not very happy about it”, says Ordahl who likens the experience to that of being on safari in the wilds of Africa. “I have been to Africa where things are on the scary side, and so like, I feel drawn toward that, type of situation,” she says.