Weather Service Confirms F3 Tornado Hit the South Plains; Stormchaser Recalls the Events
A newly released report by the National Weather Service confirms the South Plains was hit by an intense storm on Thursday, May 12th. A total of 13 tornadoes were sited, as of Monday, May 16th, eight had been confirmed.
The intensity of tornadoes is measured on a scale of F0 to F5. Over 90% of tornadoes in the US are F0's. However, one of NewsChannel 11's stormchasers spotted an F2 and an F3 just minutes and miles apart from each other, which made for an exciting but dangerous situation.
For 20 years, Stormchaser David Drummond has been professionally chasing one of mother nature's most unpredictable forces; tornadoes. On Thursday, May 12, near Ralls, he captured on video not one, but two tornadoes.
Monday, May 16, the NWS confirmed one was an F2 and the other an F3, which are among the more rare, deadly and destructive tornadoes. For Drummond, it was one of his more spectacular sightings. "It's an incredible sight to see, but when it starts going toward something like a town like the other night, we get a sick feeling in our stomaches because we know somebody's probably fixin' to die."
The tornadoes Drummond and his partner spotted started at 8:40. That's when NBC airs "The Apprentice." Instead, you saw NewsChannel 11's continuous weather coverage.
Lives were potentially at stake, which is why NewsChannel 11's weather team spent over six hours on the air. Drummond said, "The shows will be there, the lives may not. So you really gotta get that word out when something like that's going on."
Drummond and his partner spotted the potentially deadly tornado before the weather service and called it into NewsChannel 11. A phone call that proved to be life saving.
Randy Reese's grandfather's home was completely destroyed by one of the tornadoes. However, due to NewsChannel 11 coverage, Reese says his grandfather remained safe.
Reese said, "If it wouldn't have been for John Robison, we wouldn't have known that the tornado was out here."
Drummond says if you've never gone "storm chasing" do not take the video camera out next time there's a reported tornado. The weather service offers classes to educate you on how to do it safely and properly.