Dallas, TX April 3, 2012v
On Tuesday, April 3, 2012, a major tornado ripped across parts of southeastern Dallas, Texas. As the twister plowed through the area, several major media outlets, including The Weather Channel and CNN, went live, and the National Weather Service issued a Tornado Emergency. The images captured on video were chilling: As the tornado passed through a shipping yard in Lancaster (in Dallas County), it picked up semi trucks and tossed them hundreds of feet into the air like toys. A debris field was clearly visible on video.
Fortunately, once the storm moved past I-20, the tornado dissipated, but sadly, the damage left in it's wake was tremendous.
The storm system that produced this massive tornado also produced multiple super cell storms in other areas in and around Dallas -- each had the potential for tornadoes.
Tuscaloosa, AL April 27, 2011v
Between April 25 and 27, 2011, a series of massive tornadoes (more than 300 of them) ravaged the U.S., particularly the Southeast. The so-called 'Super Outbreak' of 2011 produced some of the most destructive twisters in history. On April 27, 2011, one of these tornadoes, a monster one, plowed through Tuscaloosa, Alabama. The tornado was captured on video by several local television news cameras - and by several amateur storm spotters. All total, more than 50 people in Tuscaloosa lost their lives as a result of this mile-wide twister, which packed winds of 190 mph. The tornado destroyed or damaged more than 7000 homes in the city on it's six-mile path of destruction.
Joplin, MO May 22, 2011v
On May 22, 2011, the small Missouri town of Joplin was ravaged by a killer EF-5 tornado, with winds estimated at well over 200 mph (and possibly as high as 250 mph). Video of this deadly twister, which claimed at least 138 lives, was captured by storm spotters. This tornado, which cut a six-mile wide swath of destruction through south Joplin, was nearly three-quarters of a mile wide and it ranks as one of the deadliest in U.S. history.
Springfield, MA June 1, 2011v
On June 1, 2011, Springfield, Massachusetts, was hit by two tornadoes. These storms crossed over the Connecticut River and ravaged large parts of downtown Springfield. Video captured the twisters as they crossed the river, sucking up water and debris in their wake. Four people were killed in the storms, and hundreds more were injured.
Oklahoma City, OK May 3, 1999v
May 3, 1999, saw a massive tornado outbreak in Oklahoma, particularly in the Oklahoma City area. That afternoon, a powerful and catastrophic EF-5 tornado formed and headed for the suburbs of the city, packing winds that were later estimated to be well over 300 mph. Storm spotters captured the tornado's formation, clearly showing the size and scope of the monster storm. All total, 36 people were killed, 8,000 homes or businesses were damaged or destroyed. This particular tornado has the highest recorded wind speeds in history.
Ellis Co, OK May 4, 2007v
A massive tornado was captured by amateur storm spotters ripping through parts of Ellis County, Oklahoma, on May 4, 2007. The large funnel is clearly shown sucking up debris as it cuts a path through the area. In this case, the storm spotters were clearly at risk as the tornado approached. They quickly managed to back up and get out of the way. Fortunately.
Oklahoma Outbreak May 24, 2011v
2011 was, regrettably, a horrific year for massive tornado outbreaks. On May 24, 2011, multiple tornadoes formed across central Oklahoma, resulting in numerous videos. This particular video shows several monster storms as they move across the farmlands of Oklahoma, followed closely by trained storm spotters, who manage to capture the fury while remaining safely out of harm's way. For the most part.
Joplin, MO May 22, 2011: Backyard Experiencev
We've all read the stories about the high winds from tornadoes and how destructive they are. We've seen the aftermath. We know they are deadly, but few of us - fortunately - know exactly what it feels like to be in such storms. This video, taken from the backyard security camera of a home in Joplin, Missouri, on May 22, 2011, clearly illustrates exactly how strong those winds really can be. Experts estimate that the winds from the Joplin tornado were well in excess of 200 mph and possibly, at times, as high as 250 mph. Watch as the tornado moves through this backyard, demolishing everything in its path.
Hallam, NE May 22, 2004v
A massive tornado struck near the small southern Nebraska town of Hallam, demolishing everything in its path. All total, between May 21 and 31, 2004, nearly 390 tornadoes were confirmed across the U.S. The Hallam tornado was one of the largest - it was, by some accounts, up to 2.5 miles wide. This video clearly shows the tornado's formation (as a smaller EF-0 or EF-1) and its progression to a storm of truly epic size.
Train vs. Tornado January 8, 2008v
Ever wonder what happens when a train meets a tornado? You won't after viewing this video. The freight train appears to be moving along nicely, until about one minute into the video - then all hell breaks loose, literally. This still camera mounted on the train captures the entire incident on tape. No one was injured in this incident, though one of the train cars was carrying hazardous materials, resulting in the evacuation of the nearby town of Lawrence, Illinois. Train vs. Tornado? Tornado wins.
A Direct Hit: Cullman, AL April 27, 2011v
This video was taken in Cullman, Alabama, on the day of the so-called 'Super Outbreak' of tornadoes: April 27, 2011. This woman was driving along on her way to work, when she spots a tornado. Not realizing until it was too late that the twister was coming directly at her, the woman tries in vain to back up - but her vehicle is picked up and tossed. The video goes black as this happens, but you definitely hear the terrifying screams. Fortunately, she wasn't injured.
Way, Way Too Closev
Amateur storm chasers live for tornadoes, that's no secret. But it's easy to forget, when you're sitting in the comfort of your own abode, that what they're doing is extraordinarily dangerous. One small miscalculation and these chasers are suddenly in the direct path of a tornado. This video is a classic example. When the chasers realize they are in trouble, the frantic shouts of "back up!" begin. Storm chasing may seem exciting, but if you don't know what you're doing, you could easily become a victim.
Tornado Hits 18-Wheeler in Shawnee, Oklahoma May 25, 2011v
In this brief clip, a tornado in Shawnee, Oklahoma, was captured on tape literally obliterating an 18-wheeler on the interstate in May of 2011. Remarkably, the driver suffered only minor injuries. Minor. Injuries.
April 27, 2011 Tuscaloosa Tornado: A Very Close Callv
When these amateur storm chasers learned of a massive tornado approaching the city of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, on April 27, 2011, they immediately set off in search. This long video begins with the two traveling along 15th Street, a main artery through town. What they couldn't know at that time, is that this was some of the last footage of the area before it was leveled by the twister just minutes later. The two continue along and eventually spot the monster as it approached the city (06:15). The NSFW language really gets going when they realize they are directly in its path. Fortunately for them, they get to a safer vantage point and capture not only the tornado as it crosses the interstate into the heart of town (07:45), but sadly, it's immediate aftermath, as they wind up on 10th Avenue (11:30) - where a massive housing complex was just destroyed and a terrified victim begs for help. A truly heartbreaking example of being on both sides of this storm.