Loren Cosby - News On 6
TULSA, Oklahoma - When severe weather blows through Oklahoma, we send out a fleet of storm trackers, but there was a time when we didn't have dedicated trackers.
It all started more than 20 years ago and this year it's turned into a family affair.
Whether it's in the sky or on the ground, it's our responsibility to help you stay ahead of the storm.
Our preparation for severe weather began weeks ago where our News On 6 team of meteorologists and storm trackers strategized with the National Weather Service on this season's coverage.
With News 9, our Griffin station in Oklahoma City, we have two helicopters and two dozen meteorologists and trackers working to keep Oklahomans safe.
Our tracker team this year includes a pair of brothers stationed at either end of the turnpike, Von and Val Castor.
Von helps us out here at News On 6 while his brother is on the scene in western Oklahoma where the dangerous storms often form.
The Castor brothers are from Ardmore and share a passion for tracking storms. Together they cover the state's most violent weather.
“I can't tell you how many times I've been chasing and me and Val are right behind each other,” Von said. “Everything I know about meteorology, I learned from him.”
Val studied meteorology at the University of Oklahoma and soon realized he wanted to be in the middle of all the action; along the way he enlisted his brother.
“He called me and asked me if I wanted to go chase one time because I had a car phone,” Von said.
That was back in 1986; but it wasn't until 1991 when they captured their first big tornado near Red Rock - that experience has funneled into careers that span more than 25 years.
In those years, Von has gone through extensive National Weather Service and AMS spotter training.
“We don't get to chase that often together because Channel 9 has their area and Channel 6 has theirs and we overlap, but we often find ourselves in the same spot,” said Von.
Val said, “God has given me, and Von too, the passion to go out there and to chase storms and to put ourselves in dangerous positions from time to time.”
“Of course the other things that go along with it are the beauty, I mean, God's beauty of a storm is incredible,” Von said.
“We happen to love it, but don't be fooled, we go out there and we try to help people stay safe,” said Val.
Between our two stations we have the largest team of storm trackers in the country.