Storm chasing was “just like in the movie Twister,” says meteorologist Troy Bridges

In the latest episode of Talk to Tom, News 6’s chief meteorologist Tom Sorrells talks about storm chasing.

“I’ve done everything, I like to think of what you can do weather-wise, but one thing I’ve never done is storm chasing,” Sorrells said.

But meteorologist Troy Brides did. So, after about 14 years of working together, the two take a stroll down memory lane to a dangerous time when Troy chased storms.

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Bridges said he was young and living in Augusta, Georgia when he got a call to work as a weather forecaster in Oklahoma City, and the gig included storm chasing.

Sorrells pointed out that some of the largest tornadoes are in Oklahoma.

“It’s all because of what’s called the dry line — it’s kind of a mini-front — it separates the dry air from the desert, so think about the desert air west of Oklahoma and then you have this line dividing that wet gulf humidity that.” comes from the south. When these two come together, a clash ensues. The largest tornadoes imaginable happen around that line,” Bridge said.

But to get to the storms, Troy said, he would have to drive about two hours away to get to the town of Guyman, Oklahoma, where “the dry line often develops.”

He said he would wait for hours “for a tiny cell to develop.”

His job was to send back pictures of the tornadoes.

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“That was in the early 2000s. It was a completely different situation. Just like we could send back the images, we couldn’t do it right away, we could send back still images with this thing we call a helmet. It looked like a bike helmet on this old Ford Explorer,” Bridges said.

He said he didn’t see any big ones, but “I remember three different tornadoes falling right away — 1,2,3 just like that — so there were these skinny little tornadoes, but they fell one after the other, three in a row, right in front of me, that was incredible.”

Much of the danger happened long before the tornadoes landed

“One of the scary things about it is driving 80 to 100 miles an hour down a country road and looking up at the sky,” Bridges said.

However, he was more afraid of his laptop than of the actual Twisters.

“I was in my mid-twenties, so I wasn’t really scared of the tornado, I was scared of this laptop. I was scared that we were going to drive so fast that we were going to hit one of those utility poles in the middle of nowhere and then this laptop would hit me in the face when the airbag deployed,” Bridges said.

He said the technology he uses to chase storms is “almost like the movie Twister.”

“There are some things that aren’t true, I’ve never seen a flying cow, but the scenery that you see in this film, the craziness of driving fast and looking up at the sky, that’s true,” Bridges said . “It just is, and that was the scariest part for me.”

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Hear about meteorologist Troy Bridges’ experiences as a storm chaser on Talk to Tom.

You can watch it anytime in the News 6+ app.

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