An outbreak of severe weather across the southeastern United States last week produced six tornadoes, one of which produced major damage in the small Mississippi town of Columbia. Within one of the many buildings destroyed by this tornado's 165 MPH winds was a man who caught the whole ordeal on video.
On December 23, a line of thunderstorms with embedded supercells dropped several tornadoes across southern Mississippi, including one that passed through Columbia. Meteorologists surveyed the damage and rated the tornado an EF-3 on the Enhanced Fujita Scale, destroying or damaging dozens of homes and businesses while killing three people and injuring 50 more. One of the buildings destroyed by the tornado was a business called Bumper to Bumper, and William Boseman shot the above video from within the building as the storm turned it into a pile of debris. The tornado ripped the phone out of his hands, and surprisingly, both he and the phone seem to have survived the encounter in one piece.
The video begins with a dark-as-night view of the parking lot as heavy rain and hail pelts the town. After a few seconds, debris quickly fills the air before Boseman makes a run for shelter and all hell breaks loose. The video does an incredible job capturing how quickly a tornado can destroy a building, and just how loud it is.
When survivors talk about riding out a tornado in their home or office, many of them recall the storm as sounding like a freight train. The above video can be hard to watch; it shows what a group of survivors experienced as the EF-5 Joplin tornado completely destroyed the gas station in which they took shelter. If you listen to the audio in both of these videos, a tornado doesn't really sound like a freight train when you're caught in one. It sounds like the entire fury of the universe is crashing down on top you.
Boseman is extremely lucky to have survived the experience. If you ever find yourself in a similar situation, please choose to go into the basement or an interior room (like a closet or a bathroom) instead of standing around to take a video of an approaching tornado. You won't be able to reap the viral hits when you're dead.