The Herald Bulletin

Morning Update

State News

November 24, 2013

Purdue storm chasers hit pay dirt during outbreak

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Three Purdue University students who rejected a professor's warning and became storm chasers during last week's tornado outbreak say they hit pay dirt during their adrenaline-fueled trek.

Purdue atmospheric science students Steve Abston, Josh Gimbel and David Siple said one of their professors had emailed students in the department to warn them against going storm chasing because tornadoes are so unpredictable. But the trio opted not to take that advice and headed out in a pickup truck on Nov. 17.

The students, who have National Weather Service training, initially didn't have any luck with their storm chasing.

But Abston told the Journal & Courier that luck changed when they watched the "genesis" of a tornado forming near the Boone County town of Elizaville. They followed the swirling storm until it dissipated and shot a video that includes their shouts of glee at the moment when it touched down.

"There was a great adrenaline rush," Abston said. "We're looking at it as this great force of nature. We understand the destruction and tragedy they cause."

Abston said he experienced a "flip-flop of emotion" initially because he feared the tornado might hit his mother's nearby home. But his mother's home was spared.

Siple, who's been storm chasing since he was 16, said the main reason for the perilous excursions is to alert the National Weather Service so meteorologists can quickly confirm a storm and alert local officials.

"People think it's all about the show or getting on the news. For me, personally, it's the thrill of what we see ... and calling into the National Weather Service to pinpoint where the warnings have to be so people can get underground and be safe," he said.

 

1
Text Only
State News
  • 2 Indianapolis fires leave 1 dead, 20 displaced Two Indianapolis fires have left one man dead and about 20 residents of an apartment building looking for new homes.

    April 20, 2014

  • 500 Festival Mini Marathon might not fill field

    With less than two weeks to go, the 38th 500 Festival Mini Marathon might not have a full field for the first time in 12 years.

    April 20, 2014

  • Turner case tests bounds of 'citizen legislature'

    When a legislative ethics panel meets this week to review the case of House Speaker Pro Tem Eric Turner, members could have trouble finding clear-cut answers, in large part because of the Indiana General Assembly's status as a "citizen legislature."

    April 20, 2014

  • NWS - HB0420 - FEMA Kokomo Flooding 03 FEMA’s disaster decisions frustrate state, local leaders FEMA denied the state’s request to declare a “major disaster” after tornadoes swept Indiana last November, despite millions of dollars in damages. The decision prompted protests from Indiana’s Congressional delegation, and it stoked growing frustrations with FEMA, especially in the Midwest.

    April 20, 2014 5 Photos

  • Miami Correctional 06.JPG Indiana county worried about new law's impact

    A new law revamping the state's criminal code has sparked concerns in northeastern Indiana's Allen County that it will saddle the county with new costs and fill up the local jail.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • NWS - HB0216 - Mitch Daniels Purdue office Daniels joins 2016 presidential debate commission

    Mitch Daniels spurned calls to run for the White House in 2012, but the Purdue University president will have a hand in the 2016 race.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • SPT - HB0419 - County track - 116 Arabians sweep track titles again Beautiful sunshine and warm temperatures greeted the competitors at the Madison County track meet Friday at Madison-Grant. The Pendleton Heights boys and girls teams were looking to take the county for the third year in a row, but Anderson and Lapel had other ideas. It started off as a record-setting meet and finished with a bang as Pendleton was able to wrap up both titles. The girls held off a stiff challenge from Lapel to win 167.5-147, and the boys took the final event of the night to squeak out a 156.5-148.5 win over Lapel.

    April 19, 2014 2 Photos

  • news_southwest.jpg Flight lands safely in Indiana after threat

    An Indianapolis airport spokesman said a Southwest Airlines flight safely made an emergency landing after the airline received some kind of threat.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Indianapolis police officer kills ex-wife, self

    Authorities say an Indianapolis police officer shot and killed his estranged wife, also an officer, and then turned the gun on himself.

    April 18, 2014

  • Leaders await decision on Indiana Plan expansion

    Two of the state's top Republican lawmakers said Tuesday that they would like to see the federal government sign off on an expansion of Medicaid through the state's health care plan for low-income residents, but they added that they have little idea how soon that could happen.

    April 16, 2014

Staff Photos


We're looking for your photos! Share your photos of your favorite people, places and Madison County events in our September reader photo gallery. Click here to upload your photos

Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide