As videos continue to emerge from the deadly batch of tornadoes that hit the suburbs of Oklahoma City on May 31, one storm chaser's encounter with a semitruck shows the remarkable power of wind.
In the video, a distant light pierces a haze of gray winds and debris swirling around the camera. As Shaw moves closer to the light, the figure of a semitruck emerges, it's load swaying perilously in the wind. Seconds after the camera backs away from the truck, the entire rig falls violently to the side.
According to WPTV, Shaw was driving through winds that were strong enough to destroy part of the roof of a nearby airport, where close to 1,500 people sought shelter.
Many Oklahomans took to the road in advance of the storm, driven in part by fear of the massive tornado that hit Moore, Okla., less than two weeks prior, the Associated Press reports. The influx of motorists quickly jammed streets already packed with rush-hour traffic, leading to a potentially catastrophic situation.
"They had no place to go, and that's always a bad thing. They were essentially targets just waiting for a tornado to touch down," Oklahoma Highway Patrol Trooper Betsy Randolph explained to the AP. "I'm not sure why people do that sort of stuff, but it is very dangerous. It not only puts them in harm's way, but it adds to the congestion. It really is a bad idea for folks to do."
One motorist stuck on the road, Terri Black, later recounted the scene to the AP as "chaos."
"People were going southbound in the northbound lanes. Everybody was running for their lives... My car was actually lifted off the road [by the storm] and then set back down," Black said. "I'll never do it again."