Heidi Marintzer of Wray, Colorado, said that when the twister first appeared Saturday on the horizon, she and her 15-year-old daughter, Ali, along with the girl’s boyfriend, Charlie Bator, 18, had sought shelter indoors.
Then, when the twister started to move away, Heidi Marintzer went outside with the teenage couple and they posed for photos in a neighbor’s backyard, with the tornado in the background.
“We were just like, we can’t believe this, it’s so beautiful and yet it’s a tornado,” Marintzer said in a telephone interview.
Two photographs taken by Marintzer that feature the twister, with one showing the couple hugging and the other a close up of Ali with her tongue out, have gained widespread media attention and gone viral on social media.
The twister was estimated to be more than 2 miles (3.2 km) away when the photo was taken, Marintzer said.
Ali and Charlie subsequently attended their prom at Wray High School in the town of about 2,300 people. The event was delayed by about 45 minutes because of the twister, Marintzer said.