When the 2013 Moore tornado struck Oklahoma on May 20th, 2013, Charles Gafford III took refuge in a storm shelter. Once inside, he noticed that there was a small gap in the shelter that he could stick his smartphone through. He did, and ended up capturing the footage above that shows what it’s like to have an EF5 tornado — the strongest strength rating assigned — pass almost directly overhead.
The video offers a glimpse of the size of the tornado — the funnel was 1.3 miles wide at its peak — and the its strength — peak winds reached 210 miles per hour. At 37 seconds into the video we see a heavy car tire fly past like it was shot out of a cannon:
The tornado came close, but Gafford was lucky; his neighborhood was severely damaged by the winds, but areas just streets away were completely wiped out.
P.S. Gafford says the video is vertical due to the simple fact that the tiny hole in his storm shelter was just large enough to stick his phone through vertically. It was just pure chance that the gap offered a perfect view of the funnel as it passed through the area.
P.P.S. Yesterday we shared some videos (both time-lapse and standard) that show what the tornado looked like from further away.
Update: Here’s a video showing Gafford and the storm shelter he was in: