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August 2013

Midwest storm chasing with Jim Cantore

Summer is traditionally a quiet time for Forrester Media. With schools out and vacations underway, we take advantage of the down time and head off for a vacation as well.

But it's not all fun and games. We're still working and this summer I spent a few weeks in the Midwest - not on vacation but for coverage of the unfortunate severe weather that struck the Oklahoma City area. In years past, I was lucky that all my storm chasing adventures were in remote areas that affected only some fence lines and inconvenienced a cow or two.

Kansas tornado, Mike Forrester.
Filming in Kansas in 2005.

 This year, Moore, Oklahoma was hit by an EF-5 tornado, causing horrible devastation. In 1999, another tornado also hit Moore just a few miles away. After the Moore tornado this year, I was in Oklahoma chasing with Meteorologist Jim Cantore and a cameraman. This trip, instead of shooting, my role was field producer, coordinating with the news desk, arranging for live shots, taped segments and other needed elements for The Weather Channel.

NBC Live Shot
Live shot for NBC Nightly News with Meteorologist Jim Cantore

We chased for several days with Reed Timmer and his Dominator chase vehicles and while we found plenty of severe weather, tornadoes eluded us.

Supercell storm
A tornado-warned cell south of Norman, OK.


Hail the size of golf balls.


Dominator Cantore
Watching the sky with the Dominators.

Jim had schedule conflicts, so on Friday morning, May 31st, we had to fly to Atlanta. At the airport, we discussed ditching our flight back, but in the end, we all boarded and left OKC around Noon, just hours before friends and colleagues would be in harm's way.

Mammatus Clouds
Mammatus Clouds near El Reno, Oklahoma on May 29, 2013

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