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May 25, 2011

You Tube: As close as you want to be to a tornado

If you haven't seen these two videos of the F-5 tornado that struck Joplin, Mo. Sunday, you should take a few minutes to watch. If nothing else, they will teach you the importance of listening to tornado watches and warnings, and having a safe place to take shelter.

These folks sought protection in a convenience store as the warnings went off. They eventually retreated to what appears to be a beer cooler, where they rode out the storm. Somehow, they all survived, but the second video shows how fortunate they really were. The beer cooler protected them, but by daylight it's apparent it was a close call. It had collapsed, and left them a pretty narrow escape route. 

Thanks to Eric the Red for sending me the links. Here's how he describes the scene:

"If you haven't seen this video of the Joplin tornado, it is a must see. Actually, it's more of a must-hear, cos you really can't see anything. But you will note a few things...

- The power being out adds to the surreal feeling

- The waiting had to be excrutiating; the tornado doesn't arrive til 2:00 into the video.

- The glass blowing out from the windows denotes the outer portions of the tornado's wind field, but not the core of the tornado.

- After they all safely get into the Walk-In, you will hear what sounds like machine gun fire; that is the debirs being hurled at the exterior of the "box" they now find themselves in at incredible speeds (200 mph plus). Also puts to rest the idea of the movie "Twister" showing the couple strapped to a pole as an F5 goes overhead and surviving. Throw a pebble thru the air at 200 mph at your head, and you won't be around to talk about it."

Posted by Frank Roylance at 10:41 AM | | Comments (4)
Categories: Cool pictures


This picture (video) is worth much more than a thousand words. It could indeed be a life saver. Thanks again, Frank & Eric.

Yeah, Twister was good theater, but that last scene in the F5 stretched credulity to the point of snapping.

If I understood correctly, the tornado that strikes two minutes in is actually the second one to hit. They were already in the store due to the first one going by. Then the big one hit. That was in an early report yesterday, so I may either have misunderstood, or it was one of those "report first, verify later" cases.

Regardless, that really is an intense situation. People in the Mid-West and South must feel like they're in a warzone. Being constantly on guard for the next "bombing run"....


Interesting point. I am curious to hear how SPC ultimately describes what happened. I was under the impression that it was one massive tornado (1/2 mile plus across?), with multiple "vortexes" inside the main circulation... but I could certainly be wrong on this. Nevertheless, two of the most awe-inspring yet chilling video clips I've ever seen.

As someone who grew up in the MidWest (NE Indiana, outside tornado alley), sometimes it did feel as if we were in the middle of a warzone, but not near as bad as the Plains states and South are now experiencing.

The Palm Sunday tornadoes hit Indiana hard (they hit a decade before the Xenia, Ohio tornado), but fortunately were north and south of where I lived, although they caused the electricity to be out for a week (and it was cold after the tornadoes went through!).

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About Frank Roylance
This site is the Maryland Weather archive. The current Maryland Weather blog can be found here.
Frank Roylance is a reporter for The Baltimore Sun. He came to Baltimore from New Bedford, Mass. in 1980 to join the old Evening Sun. He moved to the morning Sun when the papers merged in 1992, and has spent most of his time since covering science, including astronomy and the weather. One of The Baltimore Sun's first online Web logs, the Weather Blog debuted in October 2004. In June 2006 Frank also began writing comments on local weather and stargazing for The Baltimore Sun's print Weather Page. Frank also answers readers’ weather queries for the newspaper and the blog. Frank Roylance retired in October 2011. Maryland Weather is now being updated by members of The Baltimore Sun staff

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