Tornadoes are arguably nature’s fury at its most intense. Under the right conditions, convection in a thunderstorm will produce a rotating column of air. A funnel cloud forms and eventually reaches the ground. Even a weak tornado can cause damage, but a really strong tornado packs winds that will destroy almost any structure in its path and potentially cause a significant number of deaths and injuries. The good news is that better weather forecasting technology and new forms of communication have made it possible for people to get some advance warning so they can seek shelter. Even several minutes’ notice can make a huge difference.
Hundreds of tornadoes form around the world every year, but central North America is the planet’s preeminent “tornado alley.” And it’s not just the Midwestern United States; the danger extends into southern Canada and northern Mexico.
And the State of Chihuahua in northern Mexico is where the dramatic video we’ve posted below was captured. It’s short but terrifying. A funnel cloud emerges from the swirling storm and quickly reaches down to the ground. The guy shooting the video may have been so mesmerized by the terrible beauty of the scene that he forgot that he might be in danger. When he pans to the left, you’ll see just how insanely close the twister was to him.
What this bold (or foolish) cameraman should have done was run for shelter immediately. Even lying down in a convenient ditch is a better than standing out in the open. If there’s a tornado warning, the thing to do is get to the lowest level of the building you’re in. If there isn’t a basement, a windowless room or closet is your best bet: flying debris is responsible for most tornado injuries. Protect yourself further by getting under a heavy piece of furniture or wrapping your arms around your head and neck.
Have you seen or survived a tornado? Tell us all about it in the comments at Facebook. Be sure to like and share: a good way to remind your friends not to mess with tornadoes.