During a tornado should you: leave your car and any open spaces to find shelter in a ground-level, windowless room OR stand out in the open, yards away from the funnel, just to ensure you catch the entire terrifying event with your phone’s camera?
Well, the truth is, you technically can choose either option. The latter choice, however, is strongly discouraged, both by the National Weather Service and the laws of common sense.
But what is personal safety compared to going viral several times over? For one Florida man, the payoff was worth the risk. Back in the spring of 2018, he caught an admittedly incredible close-up video of a tornado crossing a lake from Okaloosa Island to Fort Walton Beach.
@extreme_weather Crazy video of a tornado crossing a lake in Florida. #tornado #crazy #weather #woah #fyp #foryou ♬ original sound – Extreme Weather
As the video begins, it’s clear that a man and woman are relaxing on the balcony of their condo, looking out for a possible tornado after a warning was issued. The man is filming the water in front of him while the woman talks in the background.
“There’s really bad weather and a tornado watch right now and a spout is forming. We’re watching it! It’s a little scary…” she says, either for the video or to someone on the phone.
After remarking on the wind and the slowly forming funnel before them, the woman gasped in shock, adding, “Oh, my god! It’s a tornado. Holy sh-t!”
“It’s a water spout,” the man (incorrectly) assures her in reply. “But look, that house is on fire!”
Florida Tornado Damages Buildings, Cars in Fort Walton Beach
The scene then takes a turn for the worse, the tornado ripping a building apart on the other side of the lake, debris flying in every direction as the massive funnel travels along the shoreline. With the woman screaming in terror from somewhere inside the condo, the man yells “Get inside! Get inside!” while staying on the balcony to continue filming.
The tornado ripped through the water, gaining size as it churned its way to the other shore.
“Oh no, it’s headed right for our boat!” the man says, sounding oddly amused. Meanwhile, the woman continues to demand he get off the porch and come into the relative safety of their condo. He repeatedly promises to come inside but, spoiler alert, he never does.
The tornado then continues on its path of destruction on the other side of the lake, sweeping over resorts, homes, and condo buildings as it makes landfall and crosses U.S. Route 98, moving a pickup truck out of its parking space along the way.
Unbelievably, cars on the road continue to drive as if there isn’t a giant tornado swirling past. According to the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office, at least one home was destroyed by the storm. Thankfully, however, no one was injured or killed.