Cell Phone Cameras are Great

With virtually everyone having a cell phone camera these days we’re able to catch extreme weather events like never before. The haboob (I know, funny name) that struck Phoenix last night has spread through social media like wildfire with people catching the dust storm on their blackberrys, droids, and iPhones.

The Hampden County tornado last month was documented by video better than any other New England tornado in history with videos from near and even inside the tornado popping up on YouTube within hours of the storm.

The proliferation of cell phone cameras also allows us to catch some people doing very stupid things. Here’s a video of a father who isn’t much of a parent after driving his kids into a tornado on purpose that I blogged about in April.

Other stupid people who do stupid things when drunk now have cell phone cameras to thank for capturing moments they probably don’t remember or would like to forget when sober. The drunk guy at Bill’s Seafood who did a back flip off the Singing Bridge this weekend is a perfect example. Two YouTube videos have surfaced of this guy in the days following his jump. Next time you plan on jumping off the Singing Bridge remember that the deck at Bill’s in the summer is always packed with people and chances are most of them have cell phone cameras.



Massachusetts Tornado Through YouTube


This video appears to be one of the first of the tornado forming. Notice the rotating wall cloud with funnel developing and lowering as the storm moves east across Westfield. The video was shot from the Easthampton Savings Bank in downtown. Damage started just south of downtown and continued east toward West Springfield. The tornado appears to have hit Westfield at about 4:23 when Barnes Airport reported a funnel cloud in their weather observation.

WESTFIELD/BARNES,MA (BAF) ASOS reports Tornado KBAF 012024Z 30005KT 1 1/4SM R20/4500VP6000FT FC +TSRA BKN024 BKN030 OVC065 26/22 A2984 RMK FUNNEL CLOUD B23 E24 AO2 LTG DSNT NW-E TSB1958RAB00 P0023

The tornado continued into West Springfield where some guys at Central Chevrolet capture the storm at a very close distance. Probably only 1/8 mile away.


An amateur storm chaser caught the tornado moving overhead in West Springfield shortly before crossing the Connecticut River near the Memorial Bridge rotary. He’s very lucky not to have been seriously injured as the tornado passed literally right over his car.


The tornado then crossed the Connecticut River almost over the Memorial Bridge in one of the most dramatic tornado videos you’ll ever see. This should dispel the myth that tornadoes can’t hit someplace near a lake or river or ocean.


Here’s what not to do in a tornado from 2 idiots who nearly got themselves killed by driving straight into the circulation. Significant structural damage occured here in Springfield where this video was shot. Note: language NSFW


This next video was shot on the intersection of Parker Street and Wilbraham Road on the east side of Springfield looking toward Wilbraham. This is clearly a mature and very significant tornado at this point doing severe structural damage in the western side of Wilbraham.


The tornado appears to have lifted for a short period of time over Wibraham before touching down again in the east side of Wilbraham near Monson. Here’s video from that town which should a mature rotating wall cloud and tornadogenesis occurring again.


In Monson I haven’t seen any videos of the actually touchdown but we know it did because the damage is just horrific in town.