Video of a massive storm approaching a beach in Finland

"This video is from the news website in Finland and was uploaded today on August 9, 2010. This is Hietaniemi Beach near Helsinki."


  1. Wait until the entire clip is downloaded and scroll the time-line quickly to the left and right. That’s one creepy storm. It looks like it has arms reaching out for the people on the beach.
    I find myself saying… “Run, people Run!”

  2. I love the moment all the birds simultaneously decide “all right, we’re outta here” (around 0:52). And how still it is until the wind starts pounding the microphone at 1:25.

  3. When you see birds hauling ass away from something, that’s when you know it’s time to seek shelter.

  4. Something like this happened to me on a visit to Scotland. I was standing along the ramparts of a castle on the shore of Loch Ness and a storm passed literally right in front of me over the water, seemingly in slow motion. It was one of the best experiences of my life.

  5. at 0:56 (and for a few seconds after) there is a skull face starting to form, right in the center, straight above the blue pole.

  6. I’m calling bullshit. First of all, the people in it look like models. Second, it was shot from a tripod. Why would someone set up that shot unless they knew what was coming? Third, in real life, that storm would be a squall, and a) squalls don’t look like that b) just before a squall hits you get a tremendous outflow, a gust of wind that would send all the trees shaking. My bet is that this is CGI and part of a viral campaign to, I don’t know, show off someone’s CGI skills?

    1. The inflow is preceded by outflow. As this storm’s updraft approached, the winds would be headed toward the storm. Once the updraft passed over, only then you’d be hit by outflow.

    2. Correction: the inflow PRECEDES the outflow on an approaching mesocyclone. This one appears to be riding an overrunning cold front.

    3. I can confirm that it’s a real deal. I live about ~10 km away from the hietaniemi beach. The storm came practically out of nowhere and was preceded by very strong winds.

    4. I’ll take that as a compliment to Finland’s attractive population and its insanely gifted CGI industry, but that storm was absolutely real.

      I live in southern Finland. We did indeed get hit with an incredibly intense and fast-moving storm on Sunday evening. It crossed the Baltic sea amazingly fast and seemed to come out of nowhere.

      I was putting my daughter to bed when the storm hit our town (about 40 km north of Helsinki). The skies were clear when we went into her room. When I came out about 5 minutes later, there was a torrential downpour and the wind was blowing so hard the trees in our courtyard were bent nearly in half.

      I’ve never seen a storm like that in Finland, and I doubt many other Finns have either, so I’m not surprised people filmed it. There are about 2 mobile phones per capita in Finland, and nearly all of them have good quality cameras. It’s not too hard to hold a camera phone steady.

      For some amazing still photos of the same storm, see this collection.

      @cdrudy: the soundtrack fits perfectly! I love it.

      @russtolium: a separate severe downdraft did actually strike a Sonosphere festival in Pori earlier the same day.

      1. The storm came from Estonia ;) It started around Otepää, which is near the south border and moved across the country in about three hours (very fast).
        I live near Tallinn and saw the storm coming exactly as captured in the video, it really did have that end-of-the-world kind of feeling to it.

    5. It was real allright, no cgi.

      Weirdest weather I have seen in my life. Before the storm there was strange yellowish light all around, 15 degree drop in temperature and then that happened.

      That storm broke the record in Finland for most lightning strikes counted.

      1. How do you count lightning strikes?

        Is there like an official government position? A department? The Helsinki Foundation for Hair Restoration and Lightning Quantification?

  7. An approaching mesocyclone, perhaps part of a bow structure. Likely accompanied by strong straight-line winds. I wish we had them in California.

  8. I would also guess that video was taken with a mobile phone.

    I live in the greater Helsinki area, and yes that storm was real. I have never ever experienced something like that here. The light turned strangely yellow, and when I looked out I saw a strange looking front line of a cloud with the darkes cloud I had ever seen following it. It really was a “this isn’t good” kind of moment. A few minutes later the wind started to blow really hard, and I made a run to collect anything that could be blown away before I would have to collect them from the neighborhood.

    Anyway, it wasn’t as bad as one could have assumed from the cloud. Apparently most of the lightning went within the cloud. I have just never seen a storm come up as fast as it did. And there have been several other really hard hitting thunder storms this year in Finland, which is really out of the ordinary. But we have had a record long and hot summer, so in that respect it wasn’t really surprising.

    1. Apparently most of the lightning went within the cloud.

      Most was within the cloud or cloud-to-cloud (it made for one incredible light show!), but there were also some major ground strikes. The overhead power lines on the main railway line took a direct hit right near my apartment, and trains between Riihimäki and Helsinki were delayed for about an hour. They sent a repair crew around 11pm.

      I wish I had thought to take some photos or video, but at the time I was mostly wondering whether I should wake my daughter and go down to the building’s cellar. I got really worried when the wind totally stopped for a moment, because it reminded me of being in the eye of a hurricane.

  9. Watched this front moving in while sitting seaside, drinking beers with friends. The wind was surprisingly strong, and the lightning was awesome. Coolest storm in Helsinki ever. Definitely apocalyptic.

    Shot some photos & video, and later put together a clip. With added Inception.

  10. Can someone please hide the Chiffon margarine? I hate it when someone fools Mother Nature, she gets pissed, the world destroys us all. Totally ruins the entire day.

  11. That’s not a storm. That’s a… — Well, I have no idea what that is, other than Scary As Hell.

  12. I remember a storm like this in central Minnesota, early July 1996. I was 16 and worked in the sunflower fields every summer. Our crew was busy weeding on a sizzling sunny afternoon, when suddenly this dark wall of clouds moved in from the northwest (another oddity). It approached rather quickly, and as soon as the sun vanished and the breeze picked up, we decided to call it a day.

    We all rushed to our vehicles and got outta there. An older guy who worked with us (John) was on the other end of the field with a tractor. We passed John on the highway as we were leaving (he got onto the highway at that end). By this point the stormy front was over us. It got so dark we needed headlights. The wind howled and we encountered horizontal raindrops were the size of marbles! I’ll always remember the sight of John, drenched and pissed on that tractor, going max speed at 15 mph with his cigarette sticking out of his mouth, completely sideways.

    That day felt so apocalyptic! I remember comparing the sight of those clouds to the gigantic ships in “Independence Day,” which came out in theaters that same week!

  13. I love the idea that this is probably the most documented storm in Finnish history, and we get to enjoy the beautifully apocalyptic images and stories it spawned. This thread is pure win; thanks for making my day!

  14. 3 unrelated comments

    1) did anyone see the skull form in the clouds in the middle of the clip?

    2) someone tell me there is no God

    3) My daughter uses the word ‘awesome’ way too much. Upon being asked what the word really meant, she said ‘cool’. So I made her look it up on wikipedia. This video is a true example of the meaning of the word. Awe= fear and amazement. awesome= that which inspires fear and amazement

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