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Posts Tagged ‘Austin Anderson’

After Suffering Symptons of PTSD, Mike Bettes Is Back for Tornado Week


It was an especially violent tornado season last year for Weather Channel meteorologist Mike Bettes, but he’s ready to return for the network’s upcoming “Tornado Week.” Bettes and his crew were in a “Tornado Hunt” truck that was thrown about 200 yards by the powerful El Reno tornado (pictured above) on May 31.

Bettes was left with cuts on his face, hands, and arms. He also swallowed glass and got three stitches on his left hand. His photographer Austin Anderson experienced even more severe injuries, but has fully recovered.

“It was tough in the weeks and months following the tornado,” Bettes tells TVNewser. “I definitely had symptoms of PTSD, but time has helped, as well as the support from my family and coworkers. Ultimately, knowing how much our viewers rely on us to bring them timely tornado warnings has motivated me to report from the field again.”

Bettes is also taking extra safety precautions this year.

“We will do everything we can in the future to assure a large buffer zone between our crew and the storm,” he says. He’ll also insist on “multiple exit routes to help us escape quickly in the event that a tornado makes an unexpected turn.” Bettes will be on CNN’s “Reliable Sources” later this morning.

“Tornado Week” on the Weather Channel begins tomorrow.

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Austin Anderson Undergoes Surgery, Bummed He’ll Miss Hurricane Season

Weather Channel producer/photographer Austin Anderson underwent surgery today for injuries suffered during Friday night’s swarm of tornadoes outside Oklahoma City. Anderson suffered a cracked sternum, five broken ribs and a broken cervical vertebra. Surgeons installed four rods and eight screws to his spinal column.

The Texas-based freelancer talked with the Austin American-Statesman‘s Ken Herman about the ordeal last night.

“We were on the north and east side of this particular thunderstorm,” Anderson said, identifying that as “the dangerous side.” They tried to get to the safer side. But, “for some strange, unknown meteorological reason, it turned abruptly to the left and headed right for us.”

“The windows blew out as the car began to lift into the air from the tornado and it started tumbling broadside,” he said. “We were all strapped in.”

“We must have rolled 10-15 times,” Anderson said, “We hit the ground and rolled some more and landed on the wheels with the top of the driver’s side completely pancaked down to the steering wheel where I was sitting.”

Anderson, along with meteorologist Mike Bettes and cameraman Brad Reynolds, who were also in the vehicle, were able to get out of the truck. Their equipment was strewn over a 150-yard area. Anderson found his cellphone and called home. He’ll be in a back brace for three months, telling Herman, “I’m going to miss all of hurricane season.”

(Photo: Kim Nugent-Anderson)

Weather Channel’s Austin Anderson To Undergo Surgery After Tornado Hit

Weather Channel camera operator and producer Austin Anderson–who was driving the channel’s “Tornado Hunt” truck when it was thrown about 200 yards by a tornado–is still in the hospital following the incident. Anderson is expected to undergo surgery this week for the injuries he suffered in the crash.

“Austin has braved many tornadoes with our teams in the field and has courageously pursued these severe weather systems in the name of science,” said a Weather Channel spokesperson in a statement. “He is like family to us here at The Weather Channel and we of course send our well-wishes and thoughts to Austin and his family for his speedy recovery.”

Anderson, along with on-air meteorologist Mike Bettes and a third, unidentified crew member were able to walk away from the crash, though Anderson’s injuries became apparent once they were taken to the hospital.

The full Weather Channel statement, below.
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