Mowing the lawn in a tornado
Theunis Wessels mows his lawn at his home in Three Hills, Alta., as a tornado is seen in the backgroundCecilia Wessels

A man mowed his lawn in front of the dramatic backdrop of a swirling tornado in Alberta, Canada, on Friday evening (2 June).

Cecilia Wessels took a striking picture of her husband, Theunis, cutting the grass as the whirlwind passed their home in Three Hills.

When Theunis spotted the tornado, he refused to come inside, reassuring his wife and daughter that the storm was moving away from them.

"It looks much closer if you look in the photo, but it was really far away. Well, not really far, far away, but it was far away from us," Theunis told Canadian newspaper the Times Colonist.

"I was keeping an eye on it," he added.

"I literally took the picture to show my mum and dad in South Africa, 'Look there's a tornado,' and now everyone is like, 'Why is your husband mowing the lawn?'" his wife said. "Our whole street, everyone was on their back patios taking pictures."

The twister touched down shortly after 5pm local time (12am BST), a few kilometres northeast of Three Hills. The tornado tore up several trees and ripped the roof of a barn, but no people were injured.

Local resident Clare Stankievech told CBC News that she had never seen anything like Friday's tornado before.

"We have vicious thunderstorms that go through, but when I looked up from my yard and saw that, it put a new scare into a person. It's different than anything I'd ever seen."

She said the storm passed quickly. "We can see sunshine and blue sky."