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Published on Apr 16, 2012
This is footage from three cameras (front/rear dashcams and camcorder) of getting caught in the outer circulation of a large tornado south of Cooperton, Oklahoma on April 13, 2012. This clip is viewable in 1080p HD.
After seeing no signs of organized rotation (either on radar or visually) or surface-based inflow for the previous 25 minutes, I concluded that the window for tornado potential with this storm was over. I chose to end my chase and head northward on Highway 54 in preparation for the next day's target. I pulled into a side road and waited for the radar-indicated hail maximum to cross the highway (to avoid damage to my truck). When I turned back onto the highway to head north, I noticed a tornado in progress just to my northwest.
With no traffic approaching either in front or behind, I stopped. I expected the tornado to move eastward and cross the road ahead of me. However, the tornado rapidly grew in size and it quickly became apparent that it was actually moving southeastward directly at me.
Having no time to turn around, I began escaping in reverse. As I did, a southbound car passed me and abruptly turned 90 degrees across the highway in my path. I nearly collided with him. I drove in reverse to a nearby east-west road and turned around just as the edge of the tornado caught up to me.
I saw 3 other tornadoes with this storm near Blair about 45 minutes previously.
The video from the three cameras is synced up in this clip (not perfectly, but close). The front 1080p dash camera runs full-time, and recorded the entire event (main video) (the embedded timecode on the lower right is incorrect, the dashcam is new and I haven't turned that function off yet). The rear-facing dash camera (inset at upper right) also records full-time, but suffers from a 5-second gap in between each 2-minute video file it creates. I also recorded part of the tornado with my HD camcorder (inset at lower right), putting it down once I realized I was in danger and needed to make an escape.