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Weather Channel’s Mike Bettes takes risk-taking storm chasers to task

Monday, November 14th, 2011 4:35pm MST
A storm chasers flipped vehicle is seen on the side of an Oklahoma road last week. (YouTube / TornadoVideosdotnet)

A storm chasers flipped vehicle is seen on the side of an Oklahoma road last week. (YouTube / TornadoVideosdotnet)

Getting the latest and most dramatic storm footage has become a popular way for many storm chasers to fuel their hobby and many have turned it into a lucrative business.  The actions by some in the chaser community and the risks they take have once again come under scrutiny, this time by the Weather Channel’s Mike Bettes.

Andy Gabrielson, a prolific storm chaser, was involved in a rollover accident last week while chasing a tornado in Oklahoma.  Video of the crash was captured by his own dash cam and video cameras of other chasers who assisted him afterwards.

Mike Bettes opined in an ‘Open Mike’ segment last week, “The one thing I always hear from professional chasers is how safety is their number one concern and warning the public is their number one priority.  Me?  I can B.S. on that one. When you’re getting hit by debris and you’re flipping your car while pursuing a tornado, you’re not very concerned about your safety or anyone else’s.”

As storm chasing has become a more popular hobby, fears are rising that it is only a matter of time before someone gets killed in pursuit of a storm.

The Natural Disasters Examiner wrote an analysis of the debate and has the video of Gabrielson’s crash.  Head over there to check it out.

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