CHICAGO—After 42 years in windowless weather offices issuing tornado warnings, Tom Skilling set out to chase storms in the Plains and ends up "Chased by Tornadoes!" It happened May 10 in northern Oklahoma near Wakita, ironically near where the movie "Twister" was filmed. So pull up a safe seat and come along for the heart pumping storm chase of a lifetime on WGN-TV, Thursday, July 15 at 9:30pm and again on Saturday, July 24 at 6:30pm. The special will rebroadcast on CLTV at 8:30pm on July 19, 24 and 25.
WGN viewers will experience the thrill of storm chasing just as Skilling and the WGN-TV and Chicago Tribune team experienced it "live." Join the WGN News crew as they drive through heavy rain and hail toward tornado producing storms. See tornadoes drop from the skies right before WGN cameras, creating a multiple vortex tornado. Experience the frightening moments when those in the caravan aren't sure they'll be able to outrun these behemoths of nature.
It was Tom Skilling's first "live" tornado and second and third and fourth. Meet storm chase experts, extreme-weather photographer Jim Reed and lead forecaster Mike Phelps, who got WGN's team close to the tornadoes, but also found the group a much-appreciated escape route. While both Reed and Phelps have seen hundreds of tornadoes close up, they say they've never been as close to a tornado traveling at 55 mph.
Storm chasing is made possible through a revolution in forecast accuracy, which allows storm chasers to get close to these storms without getting killed. Skilling travels to suburban Washington, D.C, Norman, Oklahoma, and Madison, Wisconsin to talk to scientists at the National Weather Service who are behind the life-saving work of improving forecast accuracy, which gives the general public greater lead times to protect lives and property from severe weather.