In what he later described as “the toughest ride to work I’ve ever had,” one Tesla driver was able to capture footage of a tornado ripping through a highway with his car’s dashboard camera, later sharing that footage with NBC 10.
Randy Williams was driving down Interstate 295 near the Johnston-Smithfield line in Rhode Island when he crossed paths with the tornado, which lifted his car a foot off the ground and sent debris flying into his side window.
“It happened so fast it was insane,” Williams said. “It was chaos … I mean, this never happens in Rhode Island.”
Just spoke with a viewer who shared this dash cam video with me— Cal Dymowski WJAR (@CalDymowski) August 18, 2023
A few seconds on, you can see what appears to be a Tornado form RIGHT BEHIND HIS CAR on 295 N.
Truly terrifying. He says it caused his car to lift a foot off the ground and debris slammed into his window.@NBC10 pic.twitter.com/IuO70uTyF3
“I was freaking out, not going to lie. It was quite the experience,” he told NBC 10. “I was so lucky no one was in the next lane over to me. Everything happened so quickly but it also felt like everything was happening in slow motion.
“All I really heard was the debris hitting the side of my car,” he continued. “I actually saw a car get flipped on its side on the other side of the highway prior to that happening so I thought I was next.”
Three separate tornadoes were confirmed to have touched down in the New England area recently as storms hit the Northeast — and, as Williams noted, this type of severe weather is uncommon for the region.
However, extreme weather events, such as tornadoes, are on the rise due to human-caused pollution and changes to our atmosphere. In addition, the tornadoes, hurricanes, and other types of storms that we do see are only becoming more intense.
According to Fox Weather, the tornado that Williams filmed with his Tesla’s dash cam was the strongest tornado to touch down in Rhode Island in 37 years. The National Weather Service confirmed that the tornado caused “significant damage.”
“We’ve had a lot of tornado warnings this summer in Rhode Island. More than we’re used to seeing,” wrote one user on X (formerly known as Twitter). “We’ve also had the strongest state tornado since 1986. Which is when the tornados really started coming in more often.”
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