Fourth generation Oklahoman, David Payne is a National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Emmy Award winning meteorologist with a total of six Emmy wins and twelve nominations. David has been Oklahoma’s NewsChannel 4’s weekday morning and noon meteorologist for over a decade. He joined the 4 Warn Storm Team in 1993 from KTUL in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
During the devastating tornadoes of May 3rd, 1999, viewers around the world glimpsed heart-stopping images of David reporting live in front of that mammoth tornado. It is the only F5 to hit the Oklahoma City metro area. Governor Keating in a public ceremony recognized David and the 4 Warn Storm Team for their severe weather coverage. The Emmy, as well as two nominations, was awarded to David and photojournalist Marc Dillard.
A video recording made of May 3rd’s tornadoes was lost, attributed to the chaos and mayhem surrounding the day’s events. In 2005, seven years later, the tape was discovered in a shelved box. The tape revealed thrilling footage of David’s chase car pursuing the enormous storm. David received an Emmy nomination for his reporting, which were recorded on the “lost tape.”
David’s coverage of the May 8th, 2003, Moore, Oklahoma, tornado earned him an Emmy Award along with two Emmy nominations. This storm, in a freakish sequence, was the second to hit the Moore community within five years and followed roughly the same path as the previous one.
David was selected by the National Association of Broadcasters in 2003 to speak at their conference on Serving Communities In Crisis, held at the Reagan Center in Washington D.C. He spoke on the topics of storm tracking and covering severe weather in Oklahoma. David has appeared on national television, as well as interviewed in national newspapers and magazines.
In April 2005, the Oklahoma House of Representatives honored David and the 4 Warn Storm Team by passing House Resolution 1018 which extended its appreciation and thanks to for the 4 Warn Storm Team and their investment in the safety of the people of Oklahoma.
In spring of 2006, David waited and watched as storms developed west of Oklahoma City, near El Reno. Several tornadoes appeared before his eyes, one, a rare anticyclonic with a clockwise motion. Driving over 500 miles that day, David’s coverage brought him two Emmy Awards and three Emmy nominations.
The spring of 2007 in Oklahoma was a very active year, full of severe weather including tornadoes. David’s coverage of the Sweetwater, Oklahoma tornado on May 5th, 2007 earned him two additional Emmy nominations.
At the end of 2007 David received a National Emmy for his severe weather coverage for the El Reno, Oklahoma tornadoes from 2006. This was the first time in over thirty years a National Emmy had been given to anyone in Oklahoma.
David picked up another Emmy Award in 2009 for his coverage and tracking of multiple tornadoes on May 24th, 2008 in Northern Oklahoma. On that day one storm would spawn over a dozen tornadoes across three counties.
The spring of 2009 was deadly and violent in Oklahoma. David earned an Emmy nomination for his severe weather coverage for the Oklahoma City, Edmond and Lone Grove tornadoes.
David holds the seal of the National Weather Association and the American Meteorological Society. David’s knowledge and passion for severe weather has put him in the national spotlight many times. He’s been seen numerous times on NBC, CNN, FOX, The Weather Channel and The Discovery Channel..just to name a few. David’s been recognized many times by the Associated Press and the Oklahoma Association of Broadcasters for his severe weather coverage, including tracking tornadoes. David was just awarded “The Weathercast of the Year” for 2011 by the Oklahoma Association of Broadcasters.
David has under his belt nearly twenty years of experience tracking tornadoes. He has seen several hundred, including a backward rotating one, which is, in fact, the world’s record for the longest anticyclonic (backward spinning tornado) ever caught on tape.
David’s Oklahoma roots run deep. His family still owns land acquired during the Oklahoma Land Run of 1889. A graduate of the University of Oklahoma with a Bachelor of Science degree, David Payne enjoys speaking to schools and organizations about weather. His hobbies include fishing, golfing, water skiing, gardening, bird watching, and of course, tornado chasing. David, his wife Julie, and their daughter reside in Edmond.
Hometown: Born in Guthrie. Grew up in Edmond. Life Goal: Be the best dad I can be.
Play any sports/Favorite Sport: I used to be a barefoot water skier…it’s been a while..love golf, football and basketball.
Favorite TV Shows: Seinfeld, Star Trek movies, Ghost Hunters, Pickers, Pawn Stars and Finding Big Foot.
Most embarrassing moment: A few hours before my daughter was born I worked myself up into a birthing frenzy and blacked out. Luckily I was surrounded by nurses and doctors.