Pair up the animals and prepare the ark....I40s a floodin'

After numerous unique events this year many have asked what else could happen to David Drummond. Heck.....even I questioned if I should stand next to him in a lightning storm!!! Then this evening another "once in a lifetime" event happened.

I met up with him this evening just west of Vega, Texas and piled my gear into his van (thank god we didn't take my Tahoe). We headed towards the tornado warned storm sitting around the TX/NM boarder. At this point with it right at dark we were mostly going after lightning just happy to have another chase this year.....not to mention a backyard chase at that. We were traveling about 65mph as we crossed the TX/NM boarder (with the flow of traffic 10mph below the speed limit) in light rain and BAM we hit a wall of water. David noticed that I-40 had flooded a half second before we hit the water, let off the gas, and avoided the semi to our right. The water was about a foot and a half deep and the force of hitting it threw us sideways, lifted the passenger wheels off the ground, ripped open the sliding door, and threw us in the ditch. The only thing that kept the door from opening more than 8in was my tripod got jammed in there preventing it from opening all the way. In the process this soaked us, the inside roof of the van, as well as all the belongings inside. When the shock wore off we realized that we were nose first into the ditch in about 2 feet of water or enough to come up 2-3in on his hood. The next is beyond me but he was able to rock the van out of the ditch without us getting out. It appears that all that was lost in the event was a piece of trim from his passenger side and a few sockets from his tool kit went out the door.

After this ordeal we pulled off to the other side of I-40 and got out to inspect what damage had occured. While we were getting back into the van David turned around just in time to see a small compact vehicle going east bound (we were going west bound) hit the flooded roadway, spin around numerous times, and get nailed by a semi. We could see from our side that there looked to be a guy helping someone out of his vehicle. We quickly ran across the highway, through the ditch (which we found out was 3 feet deep full of ICE cold hail water), to see if he needed help. As we approached the vehicle we realized that he was alright even though the air bags did deploy but he was not helping someone from the vehicle.......he was reaching into his front seat grabbing beer cans and throwing them out of the vehicle. It was a situation that could have happened to anyone but you have to wonder if he would have lost control had he not been drinking. New Mexico HP arrived within a few minutes and blocked off the fast lane of east bound and requested that we shut down the fast lane of west bound so no one woud get injured. When a Texas State Trooper arrived 10-15min later to take our spot he informed us that there were cars in the ditch all along I-40 and that this flooding had never happened before in this location. We speculate that the hail may have blocked off the water from proper drainage causing it to backup onto I-40.

All in all it was one hell of a night and I am sure glad David was driving and not me. Had I been driving we would have likely ended up upside down in the ditch.

(A completely soaked) Graham Butler, wx5svr
[email protected]
 
Graham forgot to mention that his bag full of 2 grand worth of camera equipment had fell agaist the open sliding door. Luckily the bag was just bigger than the opening and kept it from falling the few final inches out the door into the deep water...forever ruined. All because his tripod jammed the door from opening more! Freaky!

Here is an 8.5 meg wmv video from the area if you wanna see the visuals:

I40 Flood Video
 
David, with the luck you have had getting into situations and coming out alright you need to go to Vegas!
Glad to hear you and Graham are ok and that he didn't lose any of his equipment going through that "rollercoaster ride".
Before you know it people will forget about the storms and start getting video of you.
 
Yar, good job big brother. ... once again glad to see that you didn't kill yourself. That would be pitiful. Did you hear about the waterspout in FL the other day?
 
That's not the same van that had the "encounter" in NE, was it?!
 
I think we are going to keep that van! Seems to me there's a certain kind of luck going on with it. :D


Though, it does worry me to some degree that the airbags didn't deploy....but if they had, our intrepid duo might have ended up upside down in the ditch, instead of things coming out as they did.

I'm just glad they're both safe!

That's crazy that it happened on the Interstate. I've seen parts of !-27 flooded (underpasses) in Lubbock, but not stretches of any flooding away from any towns.
 
David, For next year I am hiring a tv crew to follow you around so I can retire on the royalties from the video. I have been around you when some of these things have happened and I think I will call you on the next chase day to find out where you are going then drive to another state just to be on the safe side :lol: I wanted to chase that storm last night but had duty with AES. It was tornado warned for like 2 hours before it finally dropped a couple of small spinups near San Jon, NM. Wierd movement on it also WSW. Were you up here Thursday for the hail storm (part2) that hit amarillo. Poor car dealerships on I-27 got wiped out again with baseball hail. The storm on June 21st did $100 million in damage. No report yet on how much this one will be but a few folks I talked to while we were doing storm damage assessment for DEM had just had their roofs replaced from the june storm and will now have to replace them again.

By the way glad you 2 are ok!!
 
Originally posted by Jay McCoy
Were you up here Thursday for the hail storm (part2) that hit amarillo. Poor car dealerships on I-27 got wiped out again with baseball hail. The storm on June 21st did $100 million in damage. No report yet on how much this one will be but a few folks I talked to while we were doing storm damage assessment for DEM had just had their roofs replaced from the june storm and will now have to replace them again.

By the way glad you 2 are ok!!

Yep, chased that evolving mess all the way down to Plainview. Managed to stay out of anything bigger than about quarter size (covering the road). Did finally get a decent, non-rotating wall cloud out of the thing just before dark.
 
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