Yesterday, stormchaser Brian Emfinger managed to capture close-up drone footage of a tornado ripping through a rural area southeast of Yazoo City in Mississipi, United States. While his drone didn’t survive, he did manage to recover some of the video he shot and has since shared it on YouTube.
Emfinger, an Emmy-winning storm chaser, aerial videographer and freelance journalist who licenses his work through Live Storms Media, confirmed with DPReview he used a DJI Mavic 2 Pro to capture the footage. Given the conditions, and the fact that the memory card was not recovered, it’s quite incredible how well the footage, presumably pulled from the DJI GO 4 app that powers the Mavic 2 series, turned out.
‘Everything was fine till I realized the tornado was crossing exactly where I was parked so just had to focus for about 15 seconds on not dying and in that time the drone started getting caught in the flow around the tornado. I’m not sure it ever went in it. Most likely the debris took it down into a bunch of trees. It’s a very rural area,’ Emfinger told DPReview.
Crazy close tornado video from drone. I had to make a quick getaway and drone didn’t make it as it got caught in the inflow and I lost connection as tornado was cutting me off from the drone. #mswx #tornado pic.twitter.com/5S2IkOpeHs
— Brian Emfinger (@brianemfinger) May 2, 2021
While this isn’t the first time a drone has caught footage of a tornado or even ended up lost or damaged as a result, it certainly is exciting to see how close both the pilot and drone got to the action. Toward the end of the video, you can hear Emfinger start his car up while its navigation system directs him to the nearest road. The drone, sadly, did not make it but managed to capture some magnificent detail of the winds barreling through the foliage below, and the streamers of fog surrounding the tornado.
Editor’s note: Keep in mind the footage in this video was recorded by a professional. Please be a responsible drone pilot. DPReview does not encourage irresponsible drone operation.