His frightening footage of the experience was posted online.
“I was like this is probably it,” Cesar Villaseñor, 22, told CNN of the encounter in Pelham. “I’m probably dead.”
At one point, an entire tree seems to blow past the vehicle he was in.
Jonathan Hardison of local Fox station WBRC in Birmingham shared the footage on Twitter:
Villaseñor told CNN he and his boss were trying to get to shelter at the boss’s house. The weather was clear when they started out, but changed in a flash.
“Everything starts going to hell basically,” Villaseñor said, “At one point, the van was shaking really bad to the point that I thought it was like to flip over. I was just shaking. I couldn’t control my hands.”
About 60 homes were damaged in Pelham, including 22 with major damage, the station reported.
“It broke my heart to see the amount of damage that these homes have sustained,” Pelham police chief Pat Cheatwood told the Weather Channel. “These are well-established homes that have been a part of our community for many, many years.”
The twister was one in a series that struck the region on Thursday, causing at least five deaths and leaving behind extensive damage.
Calling all HuffPost superfans!
Sign up for membership to become a founding member and help shape HuffPost’s next chapter