This could’ve been so much worse.
Just about everyone living in America’s Midwest or Plains regions is, to some degree anyway, knowledgeable on severe weather. You have to be, because rotating supercell thunderstorms and tornadoes are a fact-of-life for folks in these areas, especially during the spring and summer months. That’s not to say severe weather doesn’t strike other locations, as this family from western New York discovered.
As far as tornado videos go, this one doesn’t look all that impressive. In fact, there is no visible tornado at all, with the only clue to its presence being the Subaru wagon and utility trailer that are lifted and spun in the air. That’s a telltale sign we’re dealing with rotating cyclonic (counter-clockwise in the northern hemisphere) winds of a tornado as opposed to straight-line winds, even though we don’t actually see the funnel. Aside from the car and trailer turning counter-clockwise, we can also see a bit of spinning debris.
Also, there’s the fact that the Subaru lifts clean off the ground and is spun 90 degrees in the air. What exactly does it take to lift and spin a car? This tornado was confirmed as an EF-2 on the Enhanced Fujita scale, suggesting wind gusts up to 135 miles per hour. The scale estimates winds based on observed damage, and while we don’t know if additional damage was found to confirm this tornado’s strength, seeing a Subie take flight is certainly compelling evidence.
All things considered, this storm could’ve been much worse. The tornado formed from a line of severe storms that rocked the western New York region, with this footage coming from the town of Hamburg, southeast of Buffalo. What’s quite amazing is that the winds were able to lift and spin a car, but a plastic trash bin a few feet away weighing all of 10 pounds was simply blown over. Yes, the car’s underbody provides all kinds of surface area for winds to catch and lift, but still, it’s a testament to just how unpredictable tornado winds can be.