For the most part, StormTracker means just that; someone who chases/tracks storms. However, every now and then the hunters become the hunted. It's suffice to say that this was the case for myself this past Tuesday, when a monster hail storm came barreling through the Edmond area.
My assignment for this particular event was after flying and reporting with SkyNews9 HD, I was to return home and come back in at midnight to relieve the afternoon crew. I always find this very difficult to do; stay at home while there are storms affecting the area. I get a distinct urge to suit up, drive in and help out! I was able to resist the urge until about 8:30 PM, when I could hear the hail pummeling the News 9 studio through Gary's microphone. That was right about the time when the power went out, the tornado sirens started blaring and I was running out the door in a News9 polo, gym shorts, bare feet and shoes in hand.
I made it about two blocks when I realized I had zero hope of making it into the station; after all they were already getting slammed by tennis ball, to baseball-sized hail. I sought shelter at the OnCue at Memorial and Eastern in Edmond, along with dozens of other people. There had to be at least 30 vehicles jammed underneath the gas station awning. I managed to get my car undercover seconds before the hail started to fall, or in this particular case hurled by 60 to 70 mph winds. The sound was nearly deafening. Those vehicles unfortunate enough to not make it undercover suffered significant damage ranging from cracked windshields, to broken windows and cratered bodies. The hailstones ranged from golf ball-, to tennis ball-sized with a few baseball-sized stones mixed in.
I guess the moral of the story is the next time I get an urge to come in before my shift time, leave sooner!
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