WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL)— As a continuing part of our severe weather special, “Take Cover,” we’re going to take a look at storm spotters and why they do what they do and how they stay safe while chasing the storms.
Power flashes, tornado on the ground!
Is that what they look like? Yes!
When heading out to chase a storm, you never know what you are going to find.
“That would be May 30, 2004. The storm that shortened the Indy 500s. There ended up being 14 tornados in one hours time. You do not get that every day”
Even before you see the storm, there are several ways professional spotters keep themselves safe, off and on the roads.
“I’m definitely his drive, he can go through and he know where his target areas are going to be.
We will get that direction and if he see something that is just not panning out, then we can change on the fly” storm chaser James Covington said.
“And then we have spotter network that uses GPS, that anyone who can plug it into the radar can see where everyone is,” registered nurse and storm chaser April Covington said.
For spotters is it not uncommon to enjoy the thrill and beauty of the chase.
“The more I learned the more I wanted to learn and then the more I wanted to see it in person and so it just kind of grew from there,” April said. “The sky that God’s painted, you know it just, it can be a beautiful scene, it’s beautiful in its raw form.”
The number one priority is always safety.
“That’s the other side of what got me into doing this too is letting people know. Because back when I first started the warnings were not nearly as good as what they are now,” James said.
For James and April, the risk of tornadoes hit close to home.
“We had one that came 6:18 a.m. I was just waking up. I knew we were under threat. Sure, enough we were under a tornado warning, I looked out that window for 3 seconds and I knew we got to go,” James said.
That was the most scared I have ever been. It lifted right before the train tracks.
The force of mother nature can be very scary, life and death in some situations. So unless you know what you’re doing its best to stay home when severe weather strikes.
This story is part of a weekly weather series called ‘Take Cover.’
Last week’s Take Cover story: TAKE COVER: Dallas storm chaser examines shelf cloud