Friday, June 18, 2010
KAKEland StormChaser Mike Phelps has witnessed hundreds of tornadoes in his career, most right here in Kansas.
Phelps was in Minnesota Thursday night as a series of deadly tornadoes raked through parts of the state.
Phelps was one of the first to arrive in the tiny town of Almora, about three hours northwest of Minneapolis. One woman was killed when the twister destroyed her home.
"It's a sinking feeling," Phelps said of watching the tornado hit the small community. "It's like watching a school bus stuck on train tracks and there's nothing you can do."
Phelps tells KAKE News the tornado was hidden behind torrential rainfall, picked up by radar but not visible from the ground. Phelps says those who were not listening to weather reports may not have realized they were in immediate danger.
Unlike so many Kansas communities, Phelps says he did not see - or hear - any tornado sirens in Almora.
Once he realized the town took a direct hit, Phelps says he put down his cameras and equipment, and began trying to help those in the community. He says emergency crews were on the scene within ten minutes of the storm passing.
Phelps is back on the road today, headed for parts of Iowa where more severe weather is predicted.