Video: Tornado Strikes Tug/Barge on Great Lakes with 148 mph Winds

Reports indicate the tug and barge were buffeted by winds reaching possibly 148 mph (Willard/TikTok)

Published Jun 21, 2023 11:43 AM by The Maritime Executive

A video is posted online showing the moment a tug and barge combination operating on the U.S. Great Lakes near Ohio was hit last week by what the National Weather Service is calling a “strong” (EF-2 on the scale) tornado. The vessel, which appears to be just short of the dock, is buffeted by strong winds and pelted by hail and debris from the storm.

The video is shot from the flying bridge some 90 feet above the deck of the pusher tug Victory (843 dwt) as it is moving the barge Maumee. According to Rand Logistics which operates the vessel, the tug and barge combination is 815 feet long, and when loaded it has a 36-foot depth. The barge has a capacity of 25,500 tons.

The video was shot by one of the crewmembers aboard the tug, Andre Willard, and posted to TikTok by Nicole Willard. It took place on June 15 as a total of nine tornadoes, according to the National Weather Service, swept the northern portions of Ohio near the city of Toledo. This was the strongest of the storms, but at least three are reported to have had wind speeds above 100 mph.



The video appears to be taken near the mouth of the Maumee River where it reaches Lake Erie. The tug and barge are positioned just off the Maumee Mooring Basin as the video shows the storm clouds building and the winds buffeting the bridge.

The National Weather Service confirmed it was an EF-2 tornado that touched down north of Toledo and tracked east into Point Place, Ohio. They report it was on the ground for approximately four minutes with their report saying the top wind speed was estimated with gusts of 130 mph. The crew aboard the vessel is saying the winds reached a maximum of 148 mph.

A local weatherman posted the video to Twitter. He reports that there was little damage from the storm and that no one was injured.