Top Ten Extraordinary Weather Videos of 2013

By Dr. Jeff Masters
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Published: 3:51 PM GMT on February 04, 2014

The year 2013 was another extraordinary one for weather extremes, with a world-record 41 billion-dollar weather disasters. With the rise of smart phones and YouTube, we now have an amazing capability to document and make available videos of disasters like these, and I present here my pick for the top ten most remarkable weather videos of 2013.


#1. As the EF-4 tornado that hit Washington, Illinois on November 17, 2013 leveled his home, this videographer kept the camera rolling. Warning: Chilling, much foul language, and extremely intense. Definitely R-rated. No one in the video was injured, but the tornado killed two people in a nearby home.


#2. Probably the most remarkable video of storm surge ever taken: footage from Super Typhoon Haiyan in Hernani, Eastern Samar, Philippines. The video was taken by Nickson Gensis, Plan Philippines Community Development Worker, from the top floor of a boarding house on November 8, 2013.


#3. The May 31, 2013 El Reno, Oklahoma EF-3 tornado as filmed from a commercial tornado tour led by Tempest Tours. This is one of the most impressive videos I've ever seen, from a meteorological standpoint, of a developing tornado. The chasers got closer to the tornado than they liked, as evidenced by the honking horns you hear, telling people to leave, a few minutes into the video.


#4. When the hunters became the hunted: Weather Channel storm chasers Mike Bettes and two photographers were in their Tornado Hunt vehicle when they were hit by a tornado in El Reno, Oklahoma on May 31, 2013. The tornado picked their car up off the ground and rolled it 6 - 8 times before depositing it in a field 200 yards away. All the occupants were wearing seat belts and the air bags deployed, likely saving their lives. Bettes sustained minor injuries, including stitches in his hand. Producer Austin Anderson suffered broken bones and required hospitalization. The El Reno tornado killed four storm chasers,including veteran chasers Tim Samaras, 55; Paul Samaras, 24; and Carl Young, 45.


#5. The Weather Channel storm chasers weren't the only ones who got themselves in an extremely dangerous situation on May 31. StormChasingVideo.com storm chaser Brandon Sullivan and his chase partner Brett Wright got caught in the tornado northwest of Union City, OK and slammed with debris as the tornado hit a barn that exploded in front of them.


#6. Storm chasers James Reynolds, Josh Morgerman and Mark Thomas of iCyclone.com were in the capital of Leyte Province, Tacloban, which received a direct hit from Super Typhoon Haiyan. Video includes the remarkable winds and storm surge of Haiyan, and the rescue of injured people from flood waters.


#7. You can see why landslides triggered by heavy rains from a tropical cyclone are among the most dangerous hazards of these storms, thanks to a dashboard cam that caught this extraordinary rock slide in Northeast Taiwan on August 31, 2013, after heavy rains from a cold front drenched the island with up to 200 mm (7.87") of rain in 24 hours. The rains fell upon soils already saturated by torrential rains from Tropical Storm Kong-Rey, which dumped up to 482 mm (19") of rain on Taiwan, killing three people. The driver of the car caught in the rock slide survived with minor injuries. Thanks go to wunderground member Robert Speta for bringing this video to my attention. A separate video showing the damage to the car and the course of the rock slide is here.


#8. Flooding in China from July 7 - 17, 2013 cost at least $4.5 billion. Rainfall amounts as high as 1,150 millimeters (45.3 inches) of rain fell in the Dujiangyan region, triggering Sichuan Province's worst floods in at least 50 years. In this remarkable video, we see a violent landslide engulf a car in on 13th July in Shaanxi Province, China. Amazingly, all four occupants survived. Dang Earthbenders!


#9. A tornado in Milan, Italy on July 29 hurls huge amounts of debris against the office building the video was taken from. The photographer is lucky the building's windows didn't shatter and seriously injure him. Jason Samenow at the Capital Weather Gang has more videos and details on the event.


#10. The view from veteran storm chaser Chris Novy's D-TEG dashcam as he accidentally drove his storm chasing vehicle into a swollen creek, nearly killing him. He posted this image on Facebook of the bridge that he drove off of. Note the guard rail that stops short of the plunge he took. I hope the road commission extends this guard rail to prevent a future accident!


Special mention for most artistic video of 2013: Adrift from Simon Christen on Vimeo. It's a spectacular 4-minute time-lapse video of fog rushing in past the Golden Gate Bridge into San Francisco. He writes: ""Adrift" is a love letter to the fog of the San Francisco Bay Area. I chased it for over two years to capture the magical interaction between the soft mist, the ridges of the California coast and the iconic Golden Gate Bridge. This is where “Adrift” was born. The weather conditions have to be just right for the fog to glide over the hills and under the bridge. I developed a system for trying to guess when to make the drive out to shoot, which involved checking the weather forecast, satellite images and webcams multiple times a day. For about 2 years, if the weather looked promising, I would set my alarm to 5am, recheck the webcams, and then set off on the 45-minute drive to the Marin Headlands. I spent many mornings hiking in the dark to only find that the fog was too high, too low, or already gone by the time I got there. Luckily, once in a while the conditions would be perfect and I was able to capture something really special. Adrift is a collection of my favorite shots from these excursions into the ridges of the Marin Headlands."

I'm in Atlanta this week for the 94th annual meeting of the American Meteorological Society, and will probably be too busy to put up another post until Thursday at the earliest.

Jeff Masters

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About The Author
Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.

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Top Ten Extraordinary Weather Videos of 2013

The year 2013 was another extraordinary one for weather extremes, with a world-record 41 billion-dollar weather disasters. With the rise of smart phones and YouTube, we now have an amazing capability to document and make available videos of disasters like these, and I present here my pick for the top ten most remarkable weather videos of 2013.


#1. As the EF-4 tornado that hit Washington, Illinois on November 17, 2013 leveled his home, this videograp...

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