Meteorologist talks storm chasing safety

SW Oklahoma (KSWO) - The severe weather in Texoma meant storm chasers at 7NEWS were out in the field to give live updates on what it looks.

Meteorologist Matt DiPirro and 7NEWS photographer Olly Knop started the afternoon by going through Altus and chasing the storm around the Duke, Mangum are – but as it left the viewing area, the two decided to follow a storm that was about to come into Jackson county.

"We're looking towards the west, at the storm that's coming through the Snyder area. Pretty high precipitation," Matt reported. "A lot of rain."

Matt said storm chasing lets the National Weather Service know what's going on in areas where there's severe weather and informs viewers at home.

"We're also looking to be the eye in the sky for our viewers," Matt said. "We encourage people to stay at home, and in their safe spot so we're hoping to fulfill that duty of going out, getting our eyes on the storm."

He says he understands people's urge to go out and see the storm, but it can be risky for the untrained eye.

"It's especially dangerous because they may not know what they're looking at," he said. "They may not know how to read radar data. They may not know where they are in respect to different parts of the storm, maybe dangerous parts of the storm."

While storm chasing, Matt and Knop had multiple radars open to get a closer look at the storm to send back to the station.

"I'm hearing reports that they're still out of power in Chattanooga, and it's very difficult for them to tell if it's straight-line winds, or a circulation because of the rain," Matt said.

They decided to follow the storm that went through Cotton county, which was under a tornado warning, but as it got darker it became harder to chase.

"Once the storm mode goes more into a line, and it gets dark, and the rain starts falling, then it just becomes a big mess, and it almost becomes impossible for us storm chasers to see these features unless we're right on top of it and that puts us in a dangerous situation," Matt said.

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