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Storm chaser rescues family during live coverage of Texas tornado

HAWLEY, Texas— A Texas family is lucky to be alive after their encounter with a tornado, thanks to a storm chaser who was in the right place at the right time.

Meteorologists and storm chasers were tracking a supercell thunderstorm Thursday in rural Jones County, about 30 miles outside of Abilene, Texas.

During the tornado’s trek into Hawley, it made a direct strike on the residence of the Lamberts, who were huddled in a closet, riding out the storm.

“It was beyond terrifying,” Kasey Lambert told FOX Weather. “The four of us hunkered down in our closet together – my husband, myself and our two children. And we just made a ball, and we braced down. And we tried to cover them as best as possible.”

As parts of the house were torn away, the mother said her son Lane was ripped from the group and thrown into a pile of nearby debris.

“When we got up, I picked up our daughter, Ally, and Wes was yelling that he found Lane, and he ran to him and got him, and we all just started running toward Freddy. The tornado was still just going right beside us “Lambert said.

Freddy McKinney was a storm chaser tracking the twister in Hawley and was broadcasting the chase live on his YouTube channel, but stopped near the Lambert property when he saw the debris.

In the storm chaser video, McKinney’s first words to the family after escaping the rubble were, “Get in! Get in the car,” before quickly speeding off to a hospital area.

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“Lane had the biggest cut – it was actively bleeding, and it was from his head, and that was the hardest part. I was most worried about him losing consciousness,” said Lambert.

After being checked out by hospital staff, the mother said that the family of four found it had suffered just a few scrapes and a broken bone.

“It was just an act of God that Freddy’s timing was when it was,” Lambert said during an interview from a relative’s home.

Lambert said she has not been back to their home but has been told it is mostly flattened, with parts of the concrete slab that is all that remains.

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A family member has started a GoFundMe campaign on behalf of the Lamberts, and says the fundraiser will help cover the costs of rebuilding their lives and medical bills.

The campaign raised more than $60,000 during its first 24 hours, with many donations coming from people who were watching McKinney’s storm chaser stream when he stumbled upon the family.

The Lamberts said they were extremely grateful for McKinney, and believe it is by the grace of God that they are able to tell their story.

The National Weather Service office in San Angelo has not yet rated the tornado, but it is believed to be on the higher end of the Enhanced Fujita Scale.

A tornado is assigned a rating from 0 to 5 on the Enhanced Fujita Scale to estimate its intensity in terms of damage and destruction caused along the twister’s path.

Original article source: Storm chaser rescues family during live coverage of Texas tornado