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Gary England

Guest ChaserUK

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Ok Gary has now kindly agreed to the Net-Weather Interview. For those of you who do not know, Gary works as Chief Meteorologist for KWTV in Oklahoma. He is well renowned for his tornado reports and reported on the devastating 3 May Tornado Outbreak that hit Oklahoma City in 1999. Anyway, here are the questions and Gary's answers:

1 - When did you first see a tornado and what was it like?

I was in the 6th grade. It was a night tornado and it was a bit scary.

2 - How did your career start. Where you always into severe weather?

Weather career started with the US Navy and continued through the Atmospheric Research Lab while in school at Oklahoma University then to New Orleans as an oceanographer and meteorologist for the offshore oil industry and then back to Oklahoma to television.

3 - What it is that motivated you to start forecasting and what motivates him to do it every day?

I was influenced by television meteorologist Harry Volkman. This is a fun, challenging job and I just enjoy it.

4 - The May 3rd event was widely reported by the media as many live images and reports were broadcast to the public. This I am sure saved many lives as the public were made warned of the event as it unfolded.

Actually, radars played a small part in the May 3, 99 F5 because we had live cameras on it from about 5 p.m. until it dissipated around 8 p.m. Just from the live shots and StormTrackers on the ground, we knew where it was and where it was headed the entire time. The point is, with a tornado this large warnings are easy to make. The key to saving lives is not only the warnings and instructions but public response. If they are not educated in the way of tornadoes and tornado safety precautions, most likely the public response will be limited and fatalities could be high.

5 - The day of 3rd May 1999. What were your thoughts when you saw the images from the chasers in the field. Where you surprised by what you saw or did you expect things to turn out the way they did. Your warnings and coverage saved 1000's of people. Who else helped in achieving this?

With the May 3, 1999 F5 I thought the death toll would be in the hundreds but the rapid response by the viewing public was amazing. They saved their own lives by getting to shelter or in hundreds of cases by leaving the threatened area.

6 - I was there on the night of 9 May 2003. After seeing the MOAR images I am surprised that so little damage was done. This came a day after the F4 that hit the same area as the 3 May tornado. Have you ever thought that Global Warming might be having an effect. What are your thoughts on this subject?

I'll leave the global warming to those who are experts and nonexperts in that field.

7 - What did you think of the Oklahoma Tornado Drought that ended on 4 March this year? It was impressive considering it followed the most tornadic 10 day period in US history.

The tornado drought was significant but I was surprised that it didn't break with significant and damaging tornadoes on a wide scale.

8 - What would you like to see in severe weather forecasting of the future?

I believe the forecasting of such events will gradually improve and the warning time will increase but as far as we are concerned here at KWTV, the warning times now are sufficient to provide more than adequate warning time most of the time.

9 - Have you been involved in the development of any advanced severe weather forecasting techniques?

Not really. There are some really intelligent dudes that work on that.

10 - Final question Gary - Describe in detail your passion for severe weather and tornadoes?

Actually my passion is for weather in general, not severe weather. Sure, dealing with severe weather is exciting but when it's going on you are constantly aware if you say the wrong thing, people may be killed. That certainly takes the fun out of it.

And that concludes the interview and I would like to thank Gary for his input to this - very much appreciated. Let's hope he keeps up the good work in the future.

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  • Location: Beccles, Suffolk.
  • Weather Preferences: Thunder, snow, heat, sunshine...
  • Location: Beccles, Suffolk.

    Thanks Gary and Chaser. Interesting stuff! :)

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