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Insane Video Of A Man Filming a Tornado Coming At His Home; He Ducks Inside Seconds Before His House Is Destroyed

By Dustin Rowles | Videos | November 22, 2013 | Comments ()


Screen Shot 2013-11-22 at 8.58.46 AM.png

Two days removed from a tornado that wrecked Washington, Illinois, damaging or destroying over 1,000 homes, first-hand footage has been posted on YouTube of a man who barely avoided death in the destruction of his home. As you can see from the video, he’s capturing the tornado coming toward his home on video, and seconds before it hits, he ducks out. Less than a minute later, he and his family come out of their basement to see little else but the the debris that makes up a large part of their home.

It’s unbelievable, and crushing to hear the family members look up to see the complete annihilation of their home. The sounds as the tornado crashes through … Dear God. It sounds like a chainsaw cutting through their home. Just wow.



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  • Slider image of the damage (before and after) in the three towns hit in Central IL. Obviously, Washington is the worst. It's chilling to see aerial views of a nice neat town and then... not. http://tmappsevents.esri.com/w...

  • axis2clusterB

    I'm from NE Louisiana - very popular for tornadoes. We had a horrible tornado when my son was a week old - Easter weekend of 2000. We were at my grandparents when it hit - out in the middle of nowhere, at the end of 3/4 mile long driveway lined with trees, one of which fell and blocked the driveway. Later that night - without power and with no way to get down the driveway - my C-section wound dehisced. We packed it as best we could and the next morning, my grandfather and husband started chainsawing - and this was not a small tree. In the spirit of community - and knowing it was gonna take hours to get that tree out of the way - perfect strangers who saw them sawing stopped to help. Turned out, one of them was a doctor. He looked at me, said there was no way this could wait, and helped my family lift me over the tree. He drove me 45 miles to the nearest hospital.
    I hope these families can recover. Such a terrifying tragedy.

  • ViciousTrollop

    This is the path of the Washington tornado. As you can see, tornadoes can completely destroy one house and leave the neighboring one almost untouched. It's nuts.

    When the guy walked outside and began to comprehend the scope of the damage it was just horrible.

  • Maguita NYC

    How helpless we are when faced with the power of nature. This pic left me breathless.

  • I grew up in north Texas. For those of you outside tornado ally, I'm not sure you can fully comprehend what it means to live with the near-constant threat of these storms.

    I was 6 years old when I first became aware of what tornados can do. I lived through a near-direct hit on my grandparents' house in East Dallas; watching flowerpots blow horizontally off their back patio. My hometown was hit by another tornado around the same time (maybe even the same storm system). I remember the metal bleachers at the football stadium were rolled into a ball and thrown against a line of trees half a mile away. I remember clearly the Witchita Falls, TX tornado, and learning that these storms could kill.

    In 2nd grade, I got to school late one cloudy morning after the morning announcements had been given. Apparently they had announced a tornado drill for that day, but no one told me. When the sirens sounded and our teacher started getting us into the tornado safety position, I freaked. I was terrified of thunderstorms after that.

    Every Spring day had the potential for death and destruction. It was hot and humid. The white fluffy clouds that scattered across the blue sky in the morning grew larger and darker as the day progressed until, by two or three in the afternoon, giant anvils stretched into the heavens overhead. Vicious lightning, 40+ mph winds, and rain so heavy you couldn't see more than a few feet out the front door were the norm. You prayed that it didn't get worse than that.

    What makes these (Washington, Ill) tornadoes so terrifying to me, is that they're out of season. You can brace yourself in the Spring. That's when you expect the weather to go apeshit. But November? It's not supposed to happen this way.

    Blessings on the Wells family and all the others affected by these storms.

  • emmalita

    Ironically, It wasn't until I moved to Maryland from Texas that I had my closest encounter with a tornado. My house had a little damage, but the neighbor's house was shredded.

  • Professor Sara

    I'm about 10 miles from Washington, and all I lost were a few shingles from my roof. Nature's a capricious bitch.

    It's heartbreaking that there are hundreds of homes in the area like that — or worse, just gone completely. The devastation is staggering.

  • Glad you're safe! Last report on the local news says over a thousand homes were destroyed. The town is unrecognizable.

  • Professor Sara

    And not to get all Ned Stark, but winter is coming, which means no one can start rebuilding anything until next year. There's lots of scrambling for temporary housing right now.

  • Obst N. Gemuse

    The moment he steps outside and we see the entire neighborhood has been destroyed. That's not CGI or mattes, folks. That really happened in the space of a couple of minutes.

  • Annika Raaen

    That was...horrifying. I know guys like this get criticized for recording this stuff when he should be taking cover, but I think it's important for those of us who don't experience this kind of weather to see. So...if he can record this event, AND come out safe...

    That said, being from the PNW, I'd rather take tornados or hurricanes or wildfire becuase...there's SOME warning and you have SOME chance of getting out alive. Instead, we get to live with a false sense of peace while we sit on faults can can shift AT ANYTIME causing a massive earthquake. Or volcano eruptions. Or both. They've been predicting and preparing us for the BIG ONE for years. I'm surprised that I don't have more of a complex about this, especially since the older buildings here haven't really been retrofitted with the appropriate infrastructure. :/

  • John M Wood

    Put on some boots my man!

  • Search and rescue folks say that the most important things to have in your basement during tornado season are water, blankets, a weather radio, and an old pair of sneakers. So, so many people come out to that sort of chaos barefoot. Not good.

  • I was about 20 miles due south of the worst of this storm, and it still took off part of my garage roof and snapped electrical and telephone poles outside of town.

  • oilybohunk7

    I'm more north, the wind took down a power line adjacent my house which caused the power to surge into my house, it caught one of my light fixtures on fire, killed my fridge and furnace and a month old Ninja blender. RIP, blender. It was fun while it lasted.

  • Wow, that's scary! We just lost power and my teenagers discovered that life is boring without electricity, so they got enough sleep for the first time in four years.

  • oilybohunk7

    The first night I had wine and enough charge on my tablet to do some reading. After I got over the initial scare I've had worse nights, except for all the stuff I have to fix.

  • Annika Raaen

    Echo what Maguita said...I hope you and yours are okay.

  • Maguita NYC

    Hope everyone is alright and safe?

  • Yep. A few minutes after we were sure the storm had cleared (weather radios are the best investment), we came out to check on the old ladies (a trio of sisters whose houses triangulate ours) who were coming out to check on us. Pretty much the whole neighborhood spilled out to see if anyone needed clean up assistance.

    My husband turned to me and said "Can we move now? I'm tired of being afraid of rainstorms. I used to like them." So, I'm thinking we'll be pricing real estate in Washington state in the near future.

  • Maguita NYC

    I'm really glad everyone's alright. Although there's no predicting nature, and no one place is guaranteed safe, but I so understand anyone wanting to move away to somewhat safer spots.

  • lowercase_ryan

    And you want to know one of the benefits of life in AZ?

    ZERO NATURAL DISASTERS. ZILCH, NADA.

  • mswas

    wildfires?

  • lowercase_ryan

    We do have wildfires but they rarely destroy homes and even more rarely take lives. This past year was just a crazy instance.

  • Annika Raaen

    Unless you count melting into a puddle of sweat. Then...yeah. lol Don't you guys have a lot of really bad wildfires up in the north?

  • BWeaves

    That is terrifying. I'll take the 3 hurricanes I've been through before I'd ever take a tornado. At least I can track a hurricane and make plans. Tornadoes happen too damn fast.

    I really want to live in Bag End. Right now and underground house or cave is really appealing to me.

    (Update: Who down voted this? You Tornado lover.)

  • emmalita

    The Hobbitses do not want you moving to The Shire and jacking up real estate prices and "gentrifying" the place for taller people.

  • BWeaves

    I'll build you the adjoining hobbit hole. We can be neighbors.

  • Bodhi

    Egg. Zactly. Hurricanes are do-able, tornadoes are fucking terrifying

  • Bodhi

    I currently live in Oklahoma & tornadoes completely terrify me. My husband & I just bought our first house & it, like most of the houses here, doesn't have a basement. We could have a shelter put in, but they cost several thousand dollars, which just isn't feasible right now. I'm from coastal SC & I'll take a hurricane over a tornado any day of the week.

  • Zeus McGuinness

    Can't help but think how cool that was. What an awesome act of nature.

  • Bob Genghis Khan

    Thought Jimmy Kimmel may pop up towards the end.

  • I... don't want to be critical. But I think this is one of those moments where you... put the camera down?

    I'm also trying to figure out where in their house they were taking shelter. They live in Illinois and they don't have a basement? Most homes in the Midwest do.

    The destruction, though. Both their own house and their neighborhood. I can't imagine looking out your window one minute and the next minute, everything is gone. I'd be hysterical, too.

  • mashbot

    Shock can do odd things to people; he may have been recording at first because he was so in awe of the twister, but afterward it literally may not have occurred to him to put the camera away. It was in his hand and in situations like that people often forget to let go of what they're carrying. Pay attention to footage of people immediately after devastating storms or disasters-- like 9/11-- and you'll see people stunned and stumbling around clutching odd things like a book or a stack of papers.

  • phofascinating

    It looks like they're already in the basement but it's a walkout.

  • I think they did go into the basement. That's when it got completely dark so all you had was audio. And the thing about living out here is that you get a lot of tornado warnings, so sometimes you stand on your porch and watch the sky when you should be in your basement. I would have bolted long before that guy did, though. The sight of any rotation should send you scurrying.

  • oilybohunk7

    There was another video a guy took that was on the news, then they cut to him being interviewed and his face was all bandaged up because he was hit with flying debris. Look, I get that it has to be a serious sight to see a tornado but please think of your safety first!

    I live in the midwest, lower Michigan, and my house is only on a slab. Some have crawl spaces, my parent's house is a split level where the lower level is half under ground. I live in the area that they had projected the highest risk of PDS (Particularly Dangerous Situation, a term I only learned because of this storm). Lucky for us in Michigan any tornadoes were relatively weak. I have around $800 worth of damage which sucks but it could be a whole lot worse.

  • tjedison

    Considering how hysterical his wife was, he could've toned down his own hyperbole a bit, if only for her sake. What a mess, though, I feel for them.

  • Professor Sara

    It was his daughter ...

  • LittleMissPonderer

    I don't think there was hyperbole in the any of the reactions of the video, considering the circumstances...

  • Ceiling fan still works...

  • Eva

    TV looks fine too

  • TherecanbeonlyoneAdmin

    Well that was a soul crushing way to start the day.

  • Mrs. Julien

    I can't watch at work. Is there audio of his significant other/a family member ripping him a new one for putting himself so completely at risk?

  • Sara_Tonin00

    appropos of not-this - I was going through my Amazon list, and came across this book which we mentioned recently (though longer ago than I thought, as I stopped looking for it in my Disqus queue)
    Napoleon's Buttons: How 17 Molecules Changed History by Penny Le Couteur (Author) , Jay Burreson (Author)

  • Mrs. Julien

    I KNEW IT!

  • Naye

    No it's just two really terrified people.

  • stella

    That was terrifying.

  • Naye

    I knew they were gonna make it an I was still stressed out watching this. Ahh I feel so terrible for all of those people.

  • Maguita NYC

    This is horrifying! I kept wishing they'd get the f*ck out of the house, for I was afraid it would crumble over their heads!

  • Prince Pepe Rumblesack

    My desk is wet.

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