The College Union room was filled with both laughter and talk last Friday morning as meteorologist David Payne told students and faculty about his adventures as a storm chaser, and reminded people the severity of tornadoes and other storms.
Payne has been a meteorologist at KFOR news since 1993 and has won several Emmys for his newscasts. He has become a local celebrity for his energetic weather forecasts and daredevil storm chasing.
Payne told the audience how his interest in severe weather got him involved in meteorology.
“Arctic blasts, blizzards, I like them all,” Payne said.
Payne also poked fun at old tornado myths, such as opening windows to prevent the house from exploding.
Payne also answered several questions from the audience, ranging from long-term weather forecasts to tornado alley dynamics. One person even asked how he determined the pronunciation for different Oklahoma towns.
The presentation closed with a video montage of storms Payne had chased over the years, including some tornados in the May 24th, 2011 outbreak.
The event was open to the public, and students and faculty had different reasons for attending.
According to the KFOR website, 20 schools from Oklahoma are selected to host Weather School every year.
Jessica Abdallah, an ESL teacher, said she came after hearing about the event from the Pioneer.
Sarah, a high school student with the Pathways program who declined to give her last name, said she and her brother attended because they watch Payne’s morning forecast.
“We always watch him on TV,” Sarah said. “We’re really big fans.”
Madeline Lewelling, a legal assistant, said she loved hearing Payne’s personal stories about his storm chasing.
“The things you wonder while you’re watching TV, he’s filling in those gaps and saying ‘This is what was going on,’” Lewelling said.
The event also fulfilled an OCCC faculty and staff fourth quarter health and safety training requirement.
To contact Mary McAtee, email firstname.lastname@example.org.