News 9 Photographer Recounts May 3, 1999 Tornado
OKLAHOMA CITY - Two decades later, the May 3, 1999 tornado is still the most expensive tornado ever recorded in Oklahoma at about $1 billion.
The storm changes thousands of lives forever, including some of our very own, right here at News 9.
Several of our brave photographers were tasked with documenting the F5 tornado as it tore through the metro. While one photographer was covering the storm, his life literally flashed before his eyes.
For over three decades, photographer Rich Kriegel has served as the eye in the sky from Bob Mills SkyNews 9. His work on the ground includes breath taking shots of the F5 ripping through Moore on May 3.
"The reason I was outside my vehicle shooting the tornado, It was pouring rain, but I had never seen lighting come out of a tornado before," said Kriegel.
He had also never seen what was about to happen next.
"I had sparks coming out of my fingers. Blue sparks..." he said, " at that instance it was very loud and a snap of electricity shocked me, and I stumbled backwards a little bit."
The strike wasn't enough to call it quits. Kriegel continued shooting video that night, the effects lingering to this day.
"It took me a while to recover and get back to work. It caused me to shake. I still have a little bit of shaking in my left side. Just from that lighting strike," he explained.
Time has passed but memories remain, 20-year later.
" I still think about all of those people, ow they recovered and they just moved on. I don't see how they don't have nightmares every night," said Kriegel.