(MOBILE, Ala.) - Joshua Lewis had just filled up at a gas station when he pulled into the Walgreens in Midtown to grab a few things. It was raining and a little windy, but he had no idea a tornado was about to bear down.
“It wasn’t but three minutes when I started walking towards the counter, everybody started runnin’ back towards the back of the store,” Lewis told Local 15 moments after the tornado barreled by.
The store’s surveillance cameras caught all of the chaos, inside and outside. The video shows a shopper about to leave the store, hesitates after looking outside, and then starts sprinting towards the back of the store. Moments later, a powerful gust rips open the automatic sliding doors and flashes can be seen of exploding transformers.
Outside, what appears to be the tornado itself picks up cars in the parking lot and violently slams them back down. The dark blue SUV in the surveillance video belongs to Lewis, which he had just parked and gotten out of moments before.
“If I had been in my car, I’d probably been dead,” Lewis said, “I’m so thankful, just to have my life. This [car] can be replaced, but a life can’t.”
In the video, you can also see a car driving straight into the brunt of the storm. That car was flipped at least once, and totaled. That woman was brought into Walgreens, which had a full stock of first aid supplies. Good Samaritans tended to her until an ambulance arrived.
“The lady got cut up real bad by glass,” Lewis said.