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Drivers Hit Road as Tornado Nears

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Lawton, Ok_At least seven of those killed during Friday's storms in Central Oklahoma were in a vehicle. But it could easily have been more.

Hundreds of people were trapped in bumper- to-bumper traffic on city highways and streets. The question now is: why were so many people on the roads?  

Alesha Villarreal of Walters was at a rock concert and knew Friday night would be full of excitement. What she didn't know was that it would also be full of chaos, trying to outrun a tornado.

She said when the sirens sounded, security guards had quick advice. "You all need to leave and head south as fast as you can,"Villarreal said. "I had family calling me telling me I needed to go south too."

That advice might have come from an Oklahoma City meteorologist who advised people who might be in the path of the storm to head south.

Villarreal said when they hit the road, it was bumper-to-bumper chaos.

"The policemen were telling us where to go. There were some cars overturned, upside down. It was scary."

And when people realized they couldn't escape, they panicked.

"We ended up on a dirt road with a thousand other people. And there was one house and there was probably more than 70 cars at this one house," Villareal said.

With all the traffic on the roadways, trained storm chaser Jarred Burk was in fear for his life, as well. 

"We were stuck underneath rotation in traffic and couldn't do anything about it," Burk said.

Their escape route was clogged by countless cars that were usually not on the roads during tornadic storms.

"I was sitting there, with my hands covering my face, because you're getting 70 and 80 mile per hour winds and the hail, it could've blown out windows at anytime, not to mention dropped a tornado right on us," Burk said.

Luckily it never did---at least while it was over them. Burk said he is thankful to be alive, especially after realizing other chasers were injured or killed during the storm.

 

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