• Michael Thornton

We lost 3 chasers today.

Today looks like a pretty good chase day in North Western Texas! I left Norman and headed Southwest on I-44 to Wichita Falls, TX. I setup in Wichita Falls, and headed West to intercept a Supercell near Crowell, TX. This Supercell was completely HP. There was absolutely no features visible with this storm, making a dangerous to those who were unaware that it was tornadic.

As it came closer to me I turned around on Highway 70, and drove to a small town called Lockett, where I captured an awesome lightning strike. I soon drove back into Vernon, TX and went North where I intercepted the Supercell. With it being HP still I carefully stopped on the side of the road, and watched both the radar on my laptop and visibly watched for anything. Hail started falling very heavily, and soon a lady in a black Ford Explorer came up next to me asking if she was safe to continue driving up Highway 283 to Altus. I told her to wait about 10 to 15 minutes before attempting to drive to Altus given the fact that this was a recently Tornado Warned HP Supercell. She listened to my advice and turned around. About 15 minutes passed, and so did the storm. The lady came back, and asked if it was safe now to drive to Altus, and I told her yes it was. The storm died soon after, and I decided to head home because all of the storms to my South had lined out together, and were heading Northeast into Southwestern Oklahoma. While driving on Highway 62 just a little bit past Snyder my tire exploded, and the next thing I knew I was stuck on the side of the road in an open area, as a Severe Thunderstorm overtook me. I closely watched radar as by now it was completely dark outside. Thankfully nothing but very heavy rain hit my truck. No Tow Truck company would come out to help me, besides this company out of Cache called Marlow Service Center. I never got the tow truck driver's name but I was so thankful that he came out in the middle of a Severe Thunderstorm to load my truck up, and tow me all the way back to Norman, which was a 4 hour drive. It wasn't until later that I found out we had lost Corbin Jaeger, who was a young Storm Chaser who had chased the Dodge City Tornado Outbreak less than a year ago, and Kelly Williamson, and Randy Yarnall who where Storm Chasers for the Weather Channel. I couldn't even begin to imagine what those three families were going through, and it made me question if doing something I love, which is chasing is really worth it.


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