Deadly, Widespread U.S. Tornado Outbreak
A multiple vortex tornado – an extremely violent event – roars toward Oklahoma City:
Meteorologist Mike Bettes describes the moment:
“There’s no time to waste … shelter … we could be putting ourselves in danger.”
Bettes points to the monster, an EF-3, broadcasting live:
Trying to flee, Bettes becomes a victim.
His huge “Tornado Hunt” SUV, lofted like a pebble, was tumbled and crushed:
“My life flashed before my eyes,” said Bettes. His vehicle’s airbags deployed.
The Weather Channel icon lived. In understated jargon:
“We took a ride.”
The deadly tornado surprised KFOR-TV’s experienced storm chasers, too.
Two felt their truck sucked into the monster, even as they stomped on reverse:
Other storm chasers intercepted the tornado. And felt its fury. This is scary:
Look at this – the number of storm chasers in harm’s way.
Traffic jammed I-40 and I-35, major U.S. traffic routes. Cars, semi-trucks took direct hits.
It was rush hour. And people were told to drive to safety.
But there were multiple tornadoes. Stuck cars became easy targets.
For the second time in two weeks, people died and were injured:
On radar, Oklahoma City was under siege. KFOR-TV’s coverage went “live” online. A tornado emergency was declared:
Historic rainfall caused flooding, too. That black vehicle (below) was trapped, going under:
Look closely. Two women escaping that sinking car lived:
With this event, and a horrific EF-5 on May 20, Oklahoma City set a new record for rainfall in May:
Transformers blew, as chunks of the grid went down:
The severe weather moved east.
Radar caught a tell-tale signature – the “hook” echo of a tornado – over St. Louis, Mo.:
Even National Weather Service employees were forced to take shelter.
Another day of severe weather, perhaps two, are expected across the country from this system.
Fatalities, injuries, flooding, hurricane-like rain, power outages, damage are left in its wake.
As are near misses. The Weather Channel went on a hunt:
Mike Bettes, meteorologist, was “successful”:
He and his team found a tornado … and live to tell about it.
“Hold on brothers. Hold on.”
Watch from inside his vehicle.
“Hopefully our mishap will teach us all to respect the weather & be responsible & safe at all costs. I thought I was doing the right thing, but obviously I wasn’t. Lesson learned the hard way. Someone was watching over us. Very blessed to be headed home tomorrow to see my family.”
Mike Bettes, Facebook page.