Storm chasers document powerful EF5 Oklahoma twister - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Storm chasers document powerful EF5 Oklahoma twister

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WASHINGTON -

Thanks to a growing number of Tornado Alley storm chasers, we got to see and hear Monday's EF5 monster as it roared with deadly violence across the Oklahoma plains.

"Listen to it. You can hear it," exclaims one young man in a car videotaping the twister as it crashed through Moore, Okla.

He is part of a Norman, Okla.-based storm chasing team calling themselves "Basehunters."

"Oh my God. This is not good," he can be heard moments later on the video. "Dear God, please keep these people safe."

Another person who documented Monday's tornado was a television meteorologist named Jon Slater.

"Same time I'm reporting it and just trying to remain calm and just giving the facts and getting people out of the way," Slater explained during a phone call Tuesday evening. "You know it's all about getting people out of the way. Staying safe and getting people out of the way. But at the same time I'm doing that, there's a part of me going 'Is this really happening? Am I really seeing this right now? Is this huge tornado, which is buzz-sawing everything in its path ... Is it about ready to blast through Moore, Oklahoma?'"

Slater then shared his story with viewers of FOX 25 News in Oklahoma City.

"After the tornado went to our north, we went down to Paul's Valley tracking another storm,” he says. “But then after that, during the evening hours, we came back into Oklahoma City to set up to do some live shots in the damage and that's when it hits."

Slater says he and his TV station's storm spotters and chasers are there not for kicks, but to warn their audience.

"To have someone there," he tells us, "underneath that storm, right by the storm to give us the ground truth - that could be the difference between saving someone's life and not because radar can only tell you so much."

But, as Monday's storm proved, in some cases, no amount of warning - however precise - can be enough to save everybody.

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