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WV Storm Chaser's Close Encounter With Tornado Goes Viral

Reported: Apr. 29, 2014 12:20 PM EDT
Updated: Apr. 29, 2014 1:08 PM EDT
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TUPELO, Miss. (Katelyn Sykes) -- A deadly tornado ripped through Mississippi on Monday leaving a path of destruction and a West Virginia storm chaser caught in the middle of it.

Nathan Rohrbough told Eyewitness News during a phone interview Tuesday that he heard about the threat of tornadoes in the south on Friday so that is when he made the trip down. He said is plan was to take pictures and record video from a distance, but a wrong turn put him right in the path of a tornado in Tupelo, Miss., and the video he shot has gone viral.

In 18 hours since it was uploaded to YouTube, it's gotten more than 36,000 views.

As the tornado approaches Rohrbough, you can hear his concern in the video.

"Oh God, here comes the tornado," he said in the video.

The former TV meteorologist and Weston native never thought he would end up this close.

"I pulled out my maps and I had my route basically set up of where to go and get out of the way so I could view it," he said.

But Rohrbough missed his exit and ended up in the path of the tornado in Tupelo. He was able to pull off the road into a ravine, about 40 feet below the road.

"I'm in the tornado," he said in the video. "God help us."

"I had to get down and lay down in the seat and make sure that nothing comes through the windows and hits me or cuts me," he said over the phone. "So that's what I did the whole time. And what you're seeing in my cellphone video is my hand being put up by the window filming it."

As the tornado barrels past him, he said in the video."Oh God, please make it pass. Please make it pass."

"I was really scared because I remember the other three chasers who got killed," he said. "That tornado was a lot bigger and I kept thinking, 'Boy, you know this is probably what they were thinking as it approached and you know they got to the point where they realized there was nothing they could do."

The whole ordeal lasted about three minutes.

"Oh, it passed," he said in the video. "Thank God. I'm alive. Wow."

Alive and not injured.

"I lost three windows, but I lived to tell about it," he is overheard saying in the video. "Oh, my God."

"Sadly, my luck almost ran out, but if I had to do it again I would go," he said. "That's just the passion that I have for weather."

Rohrbough said he has received some criticism for being that close but said that wasn't his intention; he made a mistake and missed his exit.

He said it's incidents like this that help us learn more about tornadoes, information which can save lives.



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