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Stunning photo shows a man casually mowing his lawn as tornado looms

Theunis Wessels mowed his lawn at his home in the Canadian town of Three Hills, Alberta, on Friday as a tornado touched down nearby. The photo caused a bit of a storm on social media. (Cecilia Wessels/Canadian Press)
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Had it been a painting, the artist could’ve been criticized for failing to imagine a more nuanced metaphor to capture the perils of suburban existence.

“Go back to your canvas,” the instructor might say. “This garbage is too literal!”

Indeed, the image is that wonderfully preposterous looking.

Fortunately, our imaginary artist doesn’t exist, but Theunis Wessels of Three Hills — a Canadian town of just over 3,000 souls in the southern part of the province of Alberta — certainly does.

So does his wife, Cecilia, who had the presence of mind to snap a picture of her — daring? bold? reckless? foolhardy? (You be the judge) — husband Friday as he mowed the lawn in proximity to a swirling tornado descending from an ominous sky.

“My beast mowing the lawn with a breeze in his hair,” Wessels captioned the photo on Facebook in what may be the most epic understatement of all time.

“Omg!!!” a Facebook user replied.

Wessels told the Canadian Press that mowing the lawn was on her husband’s to-do list. With her husband doing his chores, Wessels decided to take a nap. She told the Press that when her daughter woke her up a short time later, the 9-year-old was upset. There was something in the sky that resembled a tornado, the little girl said, but her father was refusing to come indoors.

A tornado touched down in Three Hills, Canada, on June 2. The tornado was clocked moving east at 50 mph. (Video: Taylor Turner/The Washington Post)

At some point, Cecilia Wessels went outside and snapped several photos while her husband continued to mow the lawn.

“It looks much closer if you look in the photo, but it was really far away,” he told the Canadian Press. “Well, not really far, far away, but it was far away from us.”

“I was keeping an eye on it,” he added.

Well, in that case …

Video of the massive twister captures the storm’s massive size as it passes near a roadway on which vehicles continue to drive. The CBC reported that no reports of injuries have emerged in the wake of the twister, “although some other photos show downed trees and a barn with its roof ripped off.” Most of the damage, the CBC reported, occurred on rural properties.

Most tornadoes move at an average of 30 mph, but speeds can range from nearly still to 70 mph, according to Weather Underground. The tornado near Three Hills was clocked moving east at 50 mph.

Witnesses who spoke to the CBC said it was their first time seeing a tornado in the area.

“It’s very shocking, especially when it’s so close to your house,” Don Wolff said. “I’m still shaking, as I think half the town is, actually.”

“At first I thought there was a fire because it looked like a whole bunch of smoke. … It started in the fields, and the dirt was just getting taken up, and we watched it get bigger and bigger and go across the highway,” Calgary resident Trina Luoma told the CBC.

“I know they can be dangerous, but it was beautiful at the same time,” Luoma said.


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