Amateur storm chasing, a bad idea
There is danger associated with this recent severe weather. Amateur storm chasers. Motorists putting themselves and others at risk by driving right into the path of tornadoes.
The News on 6's Heather Lewin has more on this potentially lethal practice.
The awesome power of a tornado, while threatening storm clouds send most people into shelters, others line up in harm's way, hoping to catch a glimpse of Mother Nature at her worst.
Oklahoma Highway Patrol trooper Rusty Davis: "Nowadays everyone wants to go out and maybe catch it on video. And we've even had some people driving as they're videotaping which creates a very dangerous situation."
When the sirens sound and a funnel cloud touches down, professional storm chasers say having inexperienced people in the path are a recipe for disaster. "It creates a large problem for those of us that are out there for a reason, they clog up the roadways they clog up the cell phone towers it's just kind of a general nuisance." News on 6â€™s Paul Stephenson has been a storm chaser for nearly 8 years. He says he's shocked at the number of people out where they shouldn't be, often following him into danger.
"This isn't fun and games this is serious business we are here to try and relay information that's going to save somebodyâ€™ s life and for us that means we're going to be put into some pretty scary situations."
Equipment like a two-way radio, GPS map tracker and emergency hazard lights, in addition to extensive training, give official chasers an edge on staying safe. "I have seen people out doing this and their children are in the backseat of the car. Families and children have no business being where there are large thunderstorms that might put a tornado on the ground youâ€™re putting yourself at risk, your family at risk you're putting other people at risk inadvertently by the decisions you make. Just don't do it."
Not only is amateur storm chasing a bad idea, it's also against the law. OHP troopers say a tornado is an emergency situation and according to state statutes it's illegal to follow emergency vehicles or go to the scene of an emergency for the purposes of sightseeing.