Helicopter storm chaser Jim Gardner was stunned while chasing a north-central funnel cloud that made its way west of El Reno to Guthrie, Oklahoma Tuesday night.
“The condensate was coming out of the trees, like an upside-down waterfall,” KWTV meteorologist David Payne said.
The funnel cloud floated over several west-central Oklahoma cities, falling apart and then tightening up over and over. But when the storm approached Guthrie, clouds appeared to come up from the ground, like a series of fingers growing from the trees. They were, in fact, the condensation coming off of the trees and the ground below. The tornado seemed to be literally sucking it up from the ground.
The National Weather Service didn’t issue a tornado warning on the storm, but KWTV issued their own tornado warning, telling Guthrie residents they should seek shelter immediately as the funnel continued to spin off of the ground.
“There’s still strong rotation on the north end of this wall-cloud,” said storm chaser Val Castor. “I would not be surprised to see a funnel any minute now.”
“It’s just ripping into that thing, David,” Gardner said as he watched the spinning cloud from his helicopter.
Payne later said that he’s been “at this a long time” and has “never seen something quite that unusual.”
Meteorologists, in general, have a tendency to get overly excited during a storm. Such was the case tonight with the exchange between Payne and Gardner. It began:
GARDNER: “Look at that! Look at that! Look at that, David!”
PAYNE: “Hang on! Hang on! Hang on. Jim, can you zoom in on that? Hang on you folks at home.”
See the shocking video below via KWTV:
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