Sunday, June 01, 2008

"The People" document tornadoes up close on digital video


There are a lot of vides on YouTube now that show up-close footage of tornadoes. "Amateurs" are producing video that traces in some detail how these storms form and progress, and there are some videos that seem to be collages of many tornado sightings.

There is one from Sonicboom at this link called “Tornado” with moog synthesize music, and various shots around the country, such as a waterspout near Miami, and an image of two funnels from the same wall cloud (about 5 minutes). The video seems to try to make storms into ballet dancers.

Television station WCNC has aerial footage of the devastation in southeastern Virginia, specifically Suffolk (near Virginia Beach and the Hampton Roads area, near the North Carolina Border and still in the low, flat tidewater area) from April 2008, here.

The best video that I found quickly is probably “There’s a Tornado Outside My House” by TechnoB11, eight minutes of footage that documents the April Suffolk VA tornado as it happens. Two young men spot the wall cloud near their townhome complex, and drive through residential neighborhoods to “chase it” from a distance. The backtrack over an area where it hit, and fund upended vehicles on the road. The video has a reality and immediacy that you never see in professional Hollywood films like “Twister.” The link is here. Maybe this somewhat substantial video could be submitted to a documentary festival!

Another “amateur” documents a menacing dark wall cloud over Cleveland County, NC, but it never shows much rotation. The film also shows the storm on a local weather station to correlate the images to an actual Doppler radar image. The link is here.

The Weather Channel "Blue Box" offers a video from security cameras inside a bank in Parkersburg, IA on May 25, 2008 of an F5 tornado tearing through, three takes. Note the blackness outside the window comes in, just like in a Stephen King movie. The one minute video is followed by 30 seconds from a hailstorm in Jacksonville FL. The link is here.

The picture is of a storm-fallen tree left in its natural state in a county park in Arlington VA.

Second picture: Crooked Bridge, near Leesburg VA, damaged by floods in May 2008. Residents do not have safe vehicular access out of the community on this private road. This has been heavily covered in the local DC and northern VA media.

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