In the latest episode of Talk to Tom, News 6 Chief Meteorologist Tom Sorrells talks storm chasing.
“I have done, I like to think everything, you can do weatherwise, but one thing I have never done is storm chasing,” Sorrells said.
But, meteorologist Troy Brides has. So, after about 14 years of working together, the two take a walk down memory lane to a dangerous time when Troy used to chase storms.
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Bridges said he was young and living in Augusta, Georgia when he got a call to go work in Oklahoma City as a meteorologist and the gig involved storm chasing.
Sorrells pointed out, some of the biggest tornadoes are in Oklahoma.
“It’s all because of something called the dry line — it’s a sort of mini front — it divides the dry air from the desert, so think of the desert air back west of Oklahoma and then you’ve got this line that divides that humid gulf moisture that comes in from the south. As those two come together it’s a clash. The largest tornadoes imaginable happen around that line,” Bridge said.
But to get to the storms Troy said he would have to drive about two hours away to get to the town of Guyman, Oklahoma where “the dry line would often develop.”
He said he would wait for hours “for one tiny cell to develop.”
His job was to send back pictures of the tornadoes.
“It was the early 2000s. It was a whole different setup. So, the way we could send the images back, we wouldn’t be able to do it immediately, we could send still images back with this thing we called a helmet. It looked like a bicycle helmet on top of that old Ford Explorer,” Bridges said.
He said he didn’t see huge ones, but “I remember three different tornadoes dropping instantly — 1,2,3 just like that — so there were these thin little tornadoes, but they dropped one by one, three in a row, right in front of me, that was amazing.”
Much of the danger happened well before the tornadoes touched down.
“One of the scary things about it is going 80-100 miles per hour on a country back road, looking at the sky,” Bridges said.
However, he was more afraid of his laptop than the actual twisters.
“I was in my mid-twenties, so I wasn’t really afraid of the tornado, I was afraid of that laptop. I was afraid of going so fast that we would hit one of those power poles in the middle of nowhere and then that laptop would hit me in the face if the airbag went off,” Bridges said.
He said the technology he used to chase storms is, “almost like the movie Twister.”
“There are some things that are not true, I never saw a flying cow, but the landscape that you see in that movie, the craziness of driving fast and looking at the sky, that’s true,” Bridges said. “It’s just like that and that for me was the scariest part.”
You can watch it anytime on the News 6+ App.
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