A drone managed to stay aloft as it recorded the colossal damage caused by a tornado that ripped through a Kansas neighborhood last Friday.
The tornado hit Andover, Kansas, a suburb of Wichita, on the evening of April 29. Sirens alerted citizens to danger that afternoon, but drone operator and tornado chaser Reed Timmer – in footage spotted by DroneDJ — interpreted the call as an opportunity to go to work.
Timmer is not just a drone pilot. He also holds a doctorate in meteorology and appeared on the Discovery Channel show. storm chasers. The Andover tornado footage might be his best performance yet.
According to the National Weather Service, winds raged up to 165 mph and the tornado spent about 20 minutes tearing through neighborhoods and the local YMCA. However, Timmer’s drone, a DJI Mavic Air 2S — an affordable option that sells for around $1000 – held firmly next to the storm.
On his TwitterTimmer describes in meteorological terms why his drone flew undisturbed.
“I can’t even describe how calm/laminar the atmosphere was around the Andover tornado. Barely a breeze felt by the drone,” says Timmer. “Exactly what we expected to be so close to a tornado like this landing through a dynamic pipe.”
More drone footage of the Andover, KS tornado approaching my location. I would just like to chase it by drone all the time instead of going old school at the last second. Amazing job by the NWS warning process with no fatalities because of it #tornado pic.twitter.com/rXM2GRhSkF
— Reed Timmer (@ReedTimmerAccu) May 2, 2022
As its video shows, the terrifying pipe moves down the street like a vacuum cleaner, sucking up roofs, walls, cars and even entire houses. In its wake, a confetti of building materials and personal items swirls peacefully hundreds of feet high. Some houses suffered heavy damage while those nearby remained unscathed. A few injuries have been reported, but Kansas residents know how to prepare for tornadoes and stay safe. As a result, there were no fatalities.
Another drone pilot flew over the area after the tornado left town. Zach Peterson recorded incredible footage that shows just how violent the storm had been. One house has had its roof ripped off so cleanly that the flyover captures the entire upstairs floor plan, including the bathroom where the toilet is clearly recognizable and intact.
Drone footage of the Andover tornado shows why people are not recommended to get so close to life-threatening storms while also showing drones’ ability to record dramatic scenes. This makes observing entertaining, but could also help meteorologists study the behavior of tornadoes in action.