The South Plains has already experienced several major storms this severe weather season. In addition to our weather team in the First Alert Forecast Center, NewsChannel 11 has another pair of eyes chasing the storm in the field. David Drummond is an experienced storm chaser, last Wednesday we sent a team along to capture how Drummond goes into the storm to help give our weather team crucial information. NewsChannel 11's Kealey McIntire and Video Journalist Samuel Ortega take us along for the ride.
As sunshine turns to rain, storm chaser David Drummond and his team weather any storm.
"I'm not sure what's going on there," said Drummond.
It's Wednesday afternoon in May, Drummond's team heads east toward Kent and Garza counties expecting something to develop.
"We're probably going to have some severe weather today, probably hail more than anything, can't rule out an isolated tornado," explained Drummond. "Obviously we can only get on one storm at a time so we're trying to get on the most severe one that's going to be affecting people, that's our decision right now."
The idea is to arrive before the storm so they can get the best footage and give ample warning. That's why they forecast inside their storm chaser as they're driving. It's equipped with weather radars, internet access scanners, a handheld weather station, plus video and still cameras.
They spot a developing storm and send pictures back to NewsChannel 11 so Chief Meteorologist John Robison can show you what's happening. Drummond says all the technology in the world isn't as good as his own eyes.
"It's called ground truth," he explained. "That's what spotters are used a lot for, they're able to go out and give the weather service the ground truth about what's going on."
While in the field, Drummond often phones in to tell our weather team what's going on.
Shortly after the hail storm the team spots a wall cloud. However, storm chasing isn't always eventful. The funnel cloud never developed into a tornado and as they drive from place to place they do a lot of waiting.
"A lot of people don't realize that this is a lot of what we do, we sit here and sit and watch or drive a lot. They've seen Twister, great movie, but it's not a real depiction of reality because we're not driving seeing tornadoes constantly, there's a lot of sitting and waiting," he said.
Drummond says the 400 plus miles on the road is well worth it.
"Look at this, you can't see this on the fourth of July. You can go look at a volcano, you can go look at Mt. Everest, we get this here in our backyard every year."
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