5th SEASON: First Alert storm chaser recalls Vernon-Thalia tornado

Matt Walker chasing the Vernon/Thalia tornado
Matt Walker chasing the Vernon/Thalia tornado(KSWO)
Updated: Mar. 9, 2023 at 6:16 PM CST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

LAWTON, Okla. (KSWO) - While there is a thrill to storm-chasing, the priority has always been to keep the public informed.

Specifically when a tornado touched down in the Thalia area in 2022, and made its way up towards Vernon.

7news Matt walker was on the ground with over 20 years of storm chasing experience providing a live look and constant information on the tornado’s movement.

“The Vernon tornado, the parts I do remember very vividly is it was through a wind farm, and it was hard to see,” Walker said. “It became fairly rain-wrapped at a couple of points and rain-wrapped tornados are very dangerous, because you can’t see them coming.”

Luckily, the tornado formed in open fields, so no one was hurt but that’s not always the case.

However, this doesn’t put the chaser out of harms way.

“The road network down there with all of the ranches and things like that, you don’t generally have North, South, East, West roads. So the roads, you have a lot of different elevations, you have trees- somewhat. The different elevations of the road keep you from being able to see the horizon, and that storm put us in some areas where we couldn’t really see a whole lot,” said Walker.

We’ll always keep broadcasting information and warnings about severe weather until the threat has passed even during American Idol.

“This is a time of year that feels like we’re calling and crying wolf every time there’s severe weather, but the truth is it only takes one, and that one may not be affecting you in Altus, but it could be affecting those people in Duncan,” Walker adds. “You don’t want to lose your opportunity to get information to the public.

While this might annoy viewers who aren’t being affected by the weather, it’s an FCC guideline and our number one priority to keep viewers around Texoma safe.