Monday, March 12, 2012

Security Camera Tornado Footage

Over the weekend, some dramatic footage of one of those awful tornadoes early this month in the Midwest came out.

We're used to videos of dramatic tornadoes rampaging through towns and across the countryside, but in recent years, we've gotten inside views of the fascinating chaos inside these storms thanks to the proliferation of security cameras.
A tornado begins to dismantle a Kentucky neighborhood
in this still from  a home security camera.

Seen from the outside, the giant funnel clouds are graceful, in their violent way as they tear through. The security footage shows just how terrifying they are, because these "eyes" can stay put through the tornado, unlike humans would.

In the past few years, we've borne awestruck witness to: (Click on the hyperlinks to view the videos:  a tornado laying waste to the inside and outside of a bank in Parkersburg, Iowa, 2008; a view from that same bank's ATM surveillance camera of a house blowing apart; cars being tossed by an Alabama tornado,  and inside a middle school last year in Joplin, Missouri, among others.

I wonder if these videos help people understand the dynamics of tornadoes, and how to build structures to resist them better, or are they just weather porn, the term I use to describe exciting storm videos that give you a bit of an adrenaline rush.

In any event, they're fascinating. The home security videos of the tornado in West Liberty, Kentucky earlier this month are really telling. The tornado, or at least the edges of it, didn't have that dense funnel cloud that obscures visibility. The sun appears to be even shining into the chaos, giving us a clear view of a neighborhood, the house and surrounding woods disintegrating in the chaos. Fascinating, but sad. Watch:

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