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  • Writer's pictureMichael Thornton

9 weather-related documentaries and TV shows that you NEED to watch!

Hey everyone! I have decided to make a new blog post that talks about my top 9 favorite weather-related documentaries and TV shows that I think everyone who has an interest in weather should watch! Thanks to the internet every documentary/TV show mentioned in this blog can be viewed on YouTube.

1. The Storm Chasing Anthology

Starting off at number 1 on my list is the YouTube documentary "The Storm Chasing Anthology" that was released in 2016. Over a time span of 2 years,112 meteorologists, storm chasers, and weather enthusiasts across 35 US states and Canada were interviewed for this crowd-funded documentary. This awesome 67-minute documentary details the history behind storm chasing. "The Storm Chasing Anthology" is so good that I will never get sick of watching it over and over again. If you love to chase or you are interested in chasing and would like to know more about the history behind storm chasing then I would recommend checking out this documentary!

2. Tornado Video Classics: Volume 1, 2, and 3.

This next documentary needs no introduction. Quite possibly in my opinion, one of the most badass weather-related documentaries out there is the "Tornado Video Classics" collection. In Tornado Video Classics: Volume 1, the documentary focuses on the history behind tornado research and the use of film and photography. With a runtime of 120 minutes, you will not only learn about the history behind tornado research, but you will also be able to watch incredible footage of tornadoes. Then in Tornado Video Classics: Volume 2, you get to watch 120 minutes of awesome tornado footage that was shot by amateurs and news stations. Finally, in Tornado Video Classics: Volume 3, the documentary focuses on project VORTEX which was a government-funded project that began in 1994 and ended in1995. This project was led by researchers who's intent was to find out how tornadoes formed and by doing so would hopefully lead to better warning times. On top of that, the final documentary has an "All-time Top 20" countdown for the best tornado videos shot from home and by storm chasers for the final 50 minutes of the 3rd volume. If you love old tornado footage or want to know more about the history behind tornado research then I would highly suggest watching this 3 part series!

3. Terrible Tuesday: The Red River Outbreak (1979)

Our 3rd documentary focuses on the tornado outbreak that occurred on April 10th, 1979 in the Red River Valley. 13 tornadoes formed that day, including the F4 tornado that would strike Wichita Falls, TX and kill 45 people while injuring 850. I won't lie, before watching this documentary I didn't know much about this event besides the fact that an outbreak had occurred on April 10th, 1979. Even though this documentary is now 40 years old, I would still highly recommend watching it as it goes into great detail about what happened that day. Click here to watch this documentary

4. When Weather Changed History: Greensburg, KS

The 4th documentary on my list talks about the first tornado to have ever gotten an EF-5 rating. I am of course talking about the 2007 Greensburg, KS EF-5 that wiped the small town of Greensburg, KS off the map. This documentary on the destructive EF-5 tornado was made by The Weather Channel in 2009. It talks about the events that lead up to the tornado hitting Greensburg, KS and how the small town of Greensburg, KS has recovered since. This is a pretty good documentary that I think anyone who is interested in tornadoes should watch.

5. Dead Man Walking: The Jarrell, TX F5

With a 1 hour run time, our next documentary focuses on the1997 Jarrell, TX F5 tornado. This tornado was an absolute monster. Before watching this documentary I knew very little about this event. Only after watching this documentary did I realize why everyone looks at this event the way they do. This tornado completely flatted everything in its path, not a single thing was left standing. 27 people died because of this tornado. This documentary does a very good job of going into detail about this event and I think that you should watch this documentary when you have time to do so, so that you can learn about one of the most destructive tornadoes to have ever hit the state of Texas.

6. Oklahoma: Tornado Target

The 6th entry on my list is a documentary that was released in 2016 by The Weather Channel. Oklahoma: Tornado Target is a 42-minute documentary that focuses on you guessed it, tornadoes in Oklahoma. More specifically the documentary focuses on both the 1999 Moore, OK F5, and the 2013 Moore, OK EF-5 along with the El Reno, OK EF-3. This show is narrated by Dave Malkoff, who I had never heard of before watching this documentary, but did a great job at narrating it. If you want to learn more about the Moore, OK tornadoes and the recovery of the city since the 2013 EF5, I would recommend watching this documentary.

7. Paramedics: Force 5

You might be asking yourself, why is a show named "Paramedics" on this list? Well, on May 3rd, 1999 TLC had a film crew in the Oklahoma City Metro filming for their show "Paramedics". In case you did not know, on May 3rd, 1999 an F-5 went through the town of Moore, OK, which is only 11 miles from Oklahoma City. In this episode of "Paramedics" they show the response from EMSA after the F-5 had struck the small town of Bridge Creek, OK and Moore, OK. It's pretty incredible to see how EMSA responded to this catastrophe. Interestingly enough Steve Finley who had been a paramedic for only 10 months and who was also on the show when it was taped, received an award from the Governor of Oklahoma for his efforts on May 3rd, 1999. If you've ever wanted to see how emergency responders react to disasters such as tornadoes then give this episode a watch. You won't regret it.

8. 20/20: Tornado Chasers (1986)

The second to last entry on my list is an ABC 20/20 special that aired in1986. This special episode of 20/20 follows NSSL (National Severe Storm Labs) researchers who are trying to better understand how a tornado forms. This 17-minute episode is jam-packed with tornado footage, interviews from victims who had been hit by a tornado and they also talk about TOTTO which was an instrument that NSSL attempted to use to better understand tornadoes. In conclusion, I would recommend everyone to watch this episode of 20/20 as it is pretty informative and it gives a sense at how far storm chasing and tornado research has come.

9. Storm Stories/Full Force Nature

Last, but certainly not least I have decided to combine both "Storm Stories" and "Full Force Nature" into the same number. Why? Because they're basically the same show and the only difference is the name. Storm Stories and Full Force Nature were both created by The Weather Channel. As someone who grew up watching The Weather Channel literally every single minute I absolutely loved watching both Storm Stories and Full Force Nature. Storm Stories is the weather version of "The First 48" as the idea behind the show was to talk about one weather event for the entire show and interview people who would be able to talk about what happened during that specific event. Full Force Nature, on the other hand, would pick a few different weather events and put them in a single episode while also interviewing people about the events that had occurred. I'm slightly biased towards Full Force Nature because the tornado that hit my town was featured on the show in 2006. Either way, I would highly recommend watching both of these shows as they're pretty cool to watch and are informative. You can find most of the Storm Stories and some of the Full Force Nature episodes on YouTube. The entire first season of Full Force Nature is currently available on Netflix.

Well, that's my 9 weather-related documentaries and TV shows that I think you need to watch! I hope that you found some new documentaries and TV shows by reading my blog. If you have any more suggestions on documentaries or TV shows that people should watch don't be afraid to leave a comment below! Thank you so much for reading my blog as always.


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