Central Oklahoma dealt with its first batch of spring severe weather last night as a surprise flurry of severe storms roared through the metro, delivering heavy rain, massive hail, and powerful twisters through the various parts of the metro.
As always, our Severe Weather Media was on top of things, tracking the storms and delivering wall-to-wall coverage to help keep Oklahomans safe and advertisers happy. For example, News 9’s Jim Gardner was on the scene and on the story in Bob Mills SkyNews Ranger 9, delivering these tornadic chopper shots:
Sadly, Jim’s coverage came with a heavy cost. Apparently, he piloted Bob Mills SkyNews Ranger 9 a bit too close to the storms and the chopper's windshield was busted out by heavy hail!
Not surprisingly, Jim wasn’t happy about flying a helicopter without a windshield. Check out this audio and video that was apparently captured on the Sky News 9 Cam that Channel 9 streams on its website:
While Jim was flying his chopper to Pauls Valley to meet Greg, the other Griffin Media helicopter – Tulsa’s Sky News 6 – was grounded in a hangar in Shawnee. Naturally, that hanger was hit by one of last night's tornados, totaling the chopper:
I hope News 9 has good insurance for their helicopters and, like most metro homeowners, is ready for a big increase in premiums.
For what it’s worth, this isn’t the first time an Oklahoma news helicopter has been damaged by Oklahoma severe weather.