Amateur storm chaser survives tornado under overpass

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Data pix.

We've all heard it's unsafe to ride out a storm under an overpass.

But one metro amateur storm chaser says when he was left with no other choice, that's exactly where he rode out Friday night's twister.

Billy Prater, a student at OU, was chasing the storm with his dad and one of his dad's friends.

They were driving westbound on I-40 toward El Reno when they spotted the tornado.

They watched it for a while before realizing it was heading straight for them.

The chasers flipped their truck around and actually started driving eastbound in the westbound lanes of I-40, but even as they were accelerating, they could feel the tornado winds pulling them back.

They made a split second decision and pulled up under the overpass at Manning Road, just west of Banner.

"We knew first off not to stay in our truck and so we got out and we looked around and there was no ditch, no man-hole," said Prater.

So Prater ran up under the overpass and held on for dear life.

"We were just holding on to each other and holding on to this as much as possible," said Prater. "The worst part was you could feel the wind kind of sucking you."

"All three of us really thought that it was probably like I mean our last breath," he said.

Prater says he loves the adrenaline rush that comes from storm chasing, but that this latest encounter would be his last.

"I don't want to ever be in that situation again," said Prater.

And after taking refuge in the very spot experts say not to go, Prater is feeling thankful to have survived his last storm chase.

"We were lucky to be alive. Like I said, it was by the grace of God that we were able to make it out of there alive," said Prater.


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