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Local Storm Spotter Risks His Life to Save Others from Tornadoes


Friday was another deadly day in Oklahoma City and its surrounding suburbs. Multiple tornadoes touched down, killing five in one day.

A Somerville storm spotter traveled up to Oklahoma to chase the deadly storms.

It's a chilling sound that signals danger, but when Bob Pack hears the tornado sirens ignite, he knows it's game time and he hits the road in search for the perfect storm.

"Today could be a very explosive day for central Oklahoma," Pack said. "There's really nothing that's going to stop these storms from forming today."

He is one of the founders of the Chaos Storm Team, based in Somerville and he spends his time and own money chasing down tornadoes across the United States.

"The number one priority with me is to be there and have eyes on the ground to see what's going on and make these reports into the national weather service."

Tornadoes touched down across the state, killing 13 as of Sunday night and injuring over one hundred.

"Oh my God," Pack said looking at the radar. "This is not just going to be just an explosion. It's going to be a catastrophe." Pack was right.

Anticipating the impending disaster, a tornado emergency was issued, the deadliest of all warnings. These sirens were not taken lightly on Friday in Oklahoma.

"In a tornado emergency situation you know that there is going to be imminent damage, severe damage and lives lost in those things."

His job is extremely dangerous, and Pack puts himself in the center of all the destruction.

"We're right in the path of the tornado. It's coming straight at us."

Tragedy struck when several storm chasers were violently tossed from their vehicle by an EF 3 tornado in El Reno. Pack knew one of them personally who was killed.

"I got a report that their vehicle was thrown 200 yards and that they were being transported to the hospital."

Their car was demolished. Pack considers his own safety a top priority.

"We still have three tornado warnings here to worry about."

As he predicted, these tornadoes were exceptionally deadly, and he was doing everything in his power to get out of their paths, but the ever changing direction of the twister made it seem as if the tornado was hunting him.

"Looks like they had a tornado reported just south of Norman," Pack said checking the radar. "That might be a tornado on the ground right there. In fact, that might be a multi vortex."

He spotting multiple tornadoes, one of which formed unexpectedly right over us and we immediately had to leave before we too, became it's victims. Luckily, it was a weaker rotation.

"We are in the path of a possible tornado."

The storms were forming too fast for Pack's liking.

"I'm watching this area right here it's got a hook on it and it's got some rotation."

The many people on the roads trying to escape were in danger, but traffic was moving so slow, and it was becoming deadlier by the second for everyone

"This is plain and simply ridiculous," Pack said as he tried to escape from the scene. "There are 50 cars in front of me right now."

A chilling example of the storm's deadly nature is the horrible reality that a mother and her child from El Reno died when their car was flipped on interstate 40. It just so happens that Pack was chasing the storms in the very area where this tragedy occurred at the time. While he considers the sirens to be his personal call to action, Pack declares people need to immediately seek shelter whenever the sirens sound.

"A tornado is on the ground and in reality the only place you are going to survive it is to get underground."

While the thrill of the chase that keeps his adrenalin pumping, his true passion is saving lives.

"Under a warning!" Pack yells out of the window to unsuspecting bystanders.

While getting a better shot on the tornado he's chasing is certainly a motivator, Pack's true passion is using his love for meteorology to help others, and for him, that's enough.

"You just never know whats going to happen. Just being there for the whole evolution is mind blowing."


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