Oklahoma Tornado Survivor Thanks God And Jim Giles


Tuesday, November 21st 2006, 10:39 am
By: News On 6


Storm Tracking technology has come a long way in the last few decades. And News On 6 Meteorologist Jim Giles has been here through it all.

More than 15 years ago, on April 24, 1991 Jim introduced viewers to Pathfinder, he promised pinpoint precision in the tracking of deadly storms. Just three days after its debut, the system would be put to the ultimate test.

"I found this radio and I put it in my ears and it happened to have a battery in it. I tuned it to Channel 6 and Jim Giles was on most of the time," said tornado survivor Shirley Butler. "It (the storm) hit Westport first and then it hit Skiatook, then he (Jim Giles) said Vera, it would be there and he told the approximate time and Oologah it will be there and I think it was 9:38. When he said Oologah you should take cover, well I thought I better do this."

And take cover she did. Shirley Butler grabbed her blankets, pillows and that small radio before she crawled into her bathtub for shelter.

"I felt pressure in the tub and I thought 'oh I hope it doesn't hurt when I go through the ceiling,'" Butler said.

Shirley says somehow her radio bumped off of Jim's warning to a religious station down the dial. She started singing along to drown out the frightening roar hovering right above her.

"It was real loud; people say it sounds like a freight train, well maybe if it was running right over you! It was SO loud," said Butler. "Thanks to God and Jim Giles and Pathfinder everything was all right"

When Shirley finally emerged from her tub she realized she'd forgotten to bring shoes. She edged her way along the broken glass and couldn't believe what she saw.

"It was real bright and I looked up and there was no top to the house, there was no front door, it was all gone," Butler said.

Shirley's home was destroyed, but she survived. It was the first time she'd ever taken cover from a storm, but she says she's glad she did.

"I feel like first God, then Jim Giles and then Pathfinder was responsible for saving my life and other lives up here at Oologah," Butler said.