With ominous tornado looming, why is this man mowing his lawn?

“I literally took the picture to show my mum and dad in South Africa, ‘Look, there’s a tornado.' And now everyone’s like, ‘Why is your husband mowing the lawn?’ "

A Canadian man is gaining notoriety for what appears to have been foolish nonchalance in the presence of a powerful tornado.

An image showing Theunis Wessels leisurely mowing his lawn with his back turned to the twister has generated headlines since Wessels' wife, Cecilia, uploaded the photo to Facebook on Friday night.

The tornado was first spotted at about 5 p.m. Friday in the farming community of Three Hills, Alberta, and would uproot trees and tear the roof off a nearby barn before moving to the east.But there was Wessels, aware of the twister but determined to complete his yard maintenance.

One of the comments beneath Cecilia Wessels' post reads, "Batten down the hatches! That certainly looks mean. Run Forest Run!"

To which Cecilia replied, "Mow Forest mow."

If the Wessels' reactions seem unnaturally calm, that's because the tornado was much farther than it appears to be in the image, Cecilia Wessels told CBC.

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

There were no reported injuries associated with a tornado whose funnel cloud was well developed as the vortex raged across the landscape.

To be sure, others were not so nonchalant.

"I've never seen anything like that before," Clare Stenkievech, who watched the tornado touch down from her farm, said in another CBC story. "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."

Cecilia Wessels was napping when their 9-year-old daughter woke her up to say there was a tornado in the sky, and that her dad was still outside.

Theunis later explained, "It looks much closer if you look in that photo, but it was really far away. Well, not really far, far away, but it was far away from us."

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