MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A Minnesota storm chaser got up close and personal with a tornado this weekend and it was all captured on video.
“I grew up watching Discovery Channel storm chasers,” Jake Heitman, 23, said.
The Minnesota native, who lives in Falcon Heights, has witnessed several weather events, including flooding. straight-line winds and typhoons. But this summer he decided to start storm chasing for one goal.
“I’ve never seen a tornado until now,” Heitman said.
On Sunday Heitman packed up his cameras, iPad, phone, go-pros, and weather radio. He headed right into the eye of the storm in Scandia.
“It sounded like nothing I’ve heard before,” Heitman said. “Just the power of it and the force.”
He wanted to get close to the tornado but when it finally appeared in front of him, he realized he may have been too close. He can be heard yelling “back up!” in the video.
“I was more excited that I was actually seeing a tornado than scared.”
He drove through torrential rain and high winds, and then witnessed the damage left in the wake of the storm.
WCCO does not recommend storm chasing. The safest thing to do during a tornado warning is to find shelter away from windows.
Heitman says he is a trained storm spotter through the National Weather Service. He says this chase was only the beginning.
“It’s definitely dangerous and a little bit crazy but they need people chasing these storms and spotting these storms.”
If you want to see the whole video you can find it at wcco.com/links