I’ve never seen a tornado, and I don’t have much interest. Those things are terrifying. The Midwest saw some 25 tornadoes Tuesday as storms broke out in Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri, and Arkansas, reports AccuWeather. One tornado, in particular, that formed near Sulphur, Oklahoma, was caught on camera — and the footage is unbelievable.
Storm chaser Brandon Clement shot this bad boy with his drone on Tuesday. Luckily, this tornado caused no damage, so he told the Washington Post that capturing it was nothing but joy.
Meteorologists on Twitter were amazed by the footage, too.
Easily some of the most incredible tornado footage I've ever seen.pic.twitter.com/4et3NvVIPD
— Dakota Smith (@weatherdak) April 30, 2019
Tornado formation is complicated, and scientists still don’t totally understand it. But the basics are pretty straightforward: You need a little warm, moist air near the ground with some cooler, drier air above it and strong vertical wind shear — winds blowing different direction at different heights in the sky. With this set up, updrafts of warm air can cause winds to start rotating horizontally. Eventually, this horizontally-rotating air can get stretched vertically into a towering, twirling monster.
Well, tornadoes aren’t always monsters, and they’re not strictly kept to the Midwest (although most of the world’s tornadoes do happen to form there, and spring is their peak season). Just last year, a tornado hit Queens, New York.
That was nothing compared to what we saw Tuesday, though. Golf-sized hail balls fell from the sky, and thunder roared as tornadoes rampaged. No deaths have been reported, but some homes were damaged. More than 25,000 customers were without power Wednesday morning, per PowerOutage.US.
Low pressure conditions will keep the rain alive, according to the National Weather Service, with central Texas and southern Illinois expecting up to 3 inches of rain. But for now, the tornadoes are over. Clement witnessed a tornado die in real time, and he’ll never forget it.
“I’ve been working on getting that shot for about three years now,” Clement said to the Post. “I’ve probably done a half-million miles chasing across the country by now. But this one is pretty special.”