The date is May 16th, 2017, a Moderate Risk is over much of Southwestern Oklahoma for the risk of tornadoes EF-2 or higher, large hail, and damaging winds. Michael Thornton, a storm chaser from Norman, OK, begins to chase a supercell to the South of Shamrock, TX. As the High Precipitation supercell comes closer to Elk City, OK, a tornado hidden by rain-wrapped curtains begins to form. Now on I-40, Michael Thornton continues to track the High Precipitation tornadic supercell as it comes into the small town of Elk City, OK. Minutes later Thornton comes upon the small town of Elk City and realized that the southeastern side of the town had been struck by a violent tornado. It was not until the following day that he learned about 53-year-old "Bo Mikles" a man who attempted to abandon his mobile home but was killed as the rain-wrapped tornado threw his vehicle over 100 feet. Since that day, Michael Thornton has always wondered what could have been done differently so that Bo Mikles could have survived that tornadic event.
2018 - 2019
After being a severe weather safety speaker for MSSL's "Severe Weather Day Camp" in Stoughton, WI, for 2 years, Michael Thornton created "Chasing The Meso" on August 31st, 2018, a website dedicated to not just storm chasing blogs, but also severe weather safety tips. The site officially launched on December 23rd, 2018. In April of 2019, Thornton gained his CERT Certification from the Moore Emergency Management. 3 months later in July of 2019, Michael Thornton began his Emergency Management degree program at Rose State College and began writing politicians about the need for storm shelters in public schools.
2020 - 2021
While some blogs focused on disaster safety prior to March 4th, 2020, it was not until that date that Chasing The Meso became a website that primarily focused on disaster safety with the first blog being "How do Thunderstorms, Hail, and Tornadoes work? How can you prepare for it?" on March 4th, 2020. During the summer of 2020, Chasing The Meso became a NOAA Weather-Ready Nation Ambassador. In January of 2021, Chasing The Meso was rebranded to MesoSafety. On May 6th, 2021, Michael Thornton graduated from Rose State College majoring in Emergency Management, with a certificate in Emergency Planning & Preparedness. As of August 2021, MesoSafety was recognized as a success story by NOAA and was featured in a newsletter produced by FEMA. On Sepetmebr 1st, 2021, Michael Thornton became a member of the Oklahoma Emergency Management Association. The goal of MesoSafety is to create disaster-resilient communities so that severe weather events such as what we saw on May 16th, 2017, do not result in fatalities. Together we can mitigate our own lives and structures if we take the time to learn how to become prepared for natural disasters.