Chopper5 pilots feared the worst when tracking Lee's Summit torn - KCTV5

Chopper5 pilots feared the worst when tracking Lee's Summit tornado

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  • Chopper5 pilots feared the worst when tracking Lee's Summit tornadoMore>>

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    Friday, October 2 2015 1:46 AM EDT2015-10-02 05:46:10 GMT
    As a tornado barreled toward homes and businesses, some Lee's Summit residents huddled together prayed for their safety. Others armed with smart phones headed outside to take videos.More >
    As a tornado barreled toward homes and businesses, some Lee's Summit residents huddled together prayed for their safety. Others armed with smart phones headed outside to take videos.More >
KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -

Not many people can say they've seen a tornado from a bird’s eye view, but the man at the controls of Chopper5 can.

Captain Gregg Bourdon and photographer Brenda Lea captured the incredible view of the tornado as it hit Lee's Summit Wednesday night.

“Once a storm starts to build we try to get on the back side of it. Of course we're listening to Chris (Suchan) and the weather team, listening to them, flying it, tracking it,” said Bourdon.

“We started seeing the wall cloud form before Raytown and so we knew that it was picking up energy and had the potential to turn into a super cell,” said Lea.

 “We got there in plenty of time while the storm was building. It built very fast,” Bourdon said. “We talked about it and thought this was not an ordinary storm. We could tell just by the way the wall cloud developed and there was a big potential for it to become tornadic.”

“You can see the clouds start to form, the wall cloud, the outside of the cloud, start to drop and then you can see the fingers of the funnel start to drop too,” said Lea.

And through her camera lens, Lea captured the moment the tornado touched down, hitting the strip mall, ripping off roofs, tossing around A/C units, and toppling trees.

“It's pretty fascinating to watch the power of nature,” said Lea.

 And while the two are trained to cover moments like this, they understand how devastating storms can be.

“To tell you the truth I was really relieved when I saw that tornado was as minimal as it was because when we saw it form we thought this was going to be big trouble for Lee’s Summit,” said Lea.

KCTV5 is always proud to have such a talented pilot and photographer on our team.

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