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You might say Fred McKinney was born to be a storm chaser. His father is a storm chaser, and by the time Fred was four, he was already fascinated by weather. Today, he is bringing the tradition of chasing tornados across the American heartland into a new century by live-streaming his adventures to his 115,000 YouTube subscribers. He also has experimented with flying drones through storms.

However you feel about the folks who choose to drive into tornados, one Texas family was overjoyed to see McKinney. McKinney often narrates his videos for his viewers. A recent video from Hawley, Texas, shows the dramatic moment a tornado touches down. McKinney says, “Now this is an insane intercept.”

As he drives towards the initial impact site, he is surprised to see a debris field. He says, “I got to make sure it didn’t hit a house – please tell me it did not hit a house here.” But where the house once stood, there is nothing except a crater. McKinney is used to driving through ghost towns, recently abandoned because of tornado warnings. But in this case, he spots the family, “Oh my gosh. There’s people!”

On camera, you can see a mother holding an injured child and sprinting towards McKinney. A dog and another child follow her. The father, injured and limping, trails behind. McKinney throws open his door and shouts, “Get in! Get in the car!”

Rainy tornado storm shown through driver windshield close view
Driving in a Tornado | summerphotos via iStock

The woman shouts, “Please God, help!” Then she wrenches open the rear door and climbs into McKinney’s backseat with one child. She yells, “Hurry!” and the second child climbs in with her.

As the father limps towards the crowded car, McKinney shouts, “Get in the other side!” The frazzled man limps around the vehicle. One of the children screams in pain. Their mother says, “Look at me, I gotta see where you’re bleeding.”

As the dad climbs into the car he says to McKinney, “We gotta get to the hospital, buddy.” McKinney calmly asks, “Do you know where the nearest hospital is?” Then he remembers their was a dog too. He calls, “Where’s the dog? Where’s the dog?”

The family opens a door and shouts, “Billy, come on! Billy, come one!” But the dog must be too terrified to move, so the dad climbs out to collect the animal.

While McKinney waits, he calls 911 and says, “I’m a storm chaser here. I’ve got injured people in my car right now.” As the dispatcher gives McKinney directions, he begins to drive again.

Later, the father posted to social media, “all four of us are beat up and battered but we are all alive.” They have since been released from the hospital and are staying with friends.

Next, read about the 9-year-old boy who ran for help after a tornado tossed his family’s truck into a tree, or see Freddy McKinney’s dashcam footage by clicking “play” on the video embedded below:


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