Tornado Close Encounter

May 28, 2011

Photographer: Claude Oesterreicher
Summary Authors: Claude Oesterreicher; Jim Foster

On my way home from work one afternoon a few years back, I had a close encounter with a borderline F-2 tornado (winds in excess of 113 mph or 182 kmph) near Shabbona, Illinois. As this twister was uprooting cornstalks and shooting them across the road ahead of me, I thought it would be prudent to wait to see where this nasty storm was heading rather than to be an inadvertent storm chaser. I took the above photo while sitting in my car. The leading edge of this supercell storm had a very fast forward speed. From where I was positioned, I could see it drop a funnel cloud approximately 2 mi (3 km) in the distance. After it passed by, I counted 8 utility poles (like the one in the picture at right) that had been sucked straight out of the ground. The little farm at lower left was crushed, but fortunately, no one was injured. Photo taken on September 22, 2006, about 3:00 p.m.

Photo Details: Camera Maker: FUJIFILM; Camera Model: FinePix E550; Focal Length: 7.2mm; Aperture: f/2.8; Exposure Time: 0.0083 s (1/120); ISO equiv: 100.