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South Georgia storm chaser

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By Cade Fowler - bio | email

COLQUITT, GA (WALB) – Sunday afternoon in Miller County, the skies had all the ingredients for a tornado. During the height of the storm, Rick Lipscomb was on the ground recording a large cloud near Colquitt which came ever so close to touching down.

"I tried to position myself south of it so it would pass north of me, but at the last moment it dodged further south. It was right me over and I was hit by 65 mph winds. It was rough," said Lipscomb.

A trained spotter, Lipscomb followed Sunday's super cell until he saw rotation forming over farm land. He relayed the rotation he saw which prompted the National Weather Service to issue a tornado warning for Miller County.

"The rotation had actually worked it's way to the ground. There was no visible funnel like most people attribute to a tornado. The rotation was on the ground and began picking up dust behind a tree line," he said.

The job requires some multi tasking;While filming the storm, Lipscomb was on the phone with a weather official in Jacksonville relaying information. But to keep himself safe, he, along with other members of the Southern Storm Brigade, have the latest software to monitor the storms they encounter.

"We all use the same software. We can track tornadoes down to street level.

While Sunday's super cell didn't become tornadic in Miller County, Lipscomb has chased down several twisters including the one which hit Camilla in 2000 causing death and destruction.

It's a danger that comes with the job, but the service itself requires training for good reason.

"If you want to be a storm chaser, it's not that hard. But there's a lot of safety that goes into it. If not, there's going to be a high price to pay for somebody," he said.

Anyone interested in becoming a certified storm chaser can enroll in a Skywarn course.

 

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