Nightly News | May 23, 2011
WILLIAMS: And we're back here live in Joplin with Al Roker and of course our buddy from The Weather Channel , meteorologist Mike Bettes . And, Al , just one question quick to you. How much notice are people saying they had here?
ROKER: Well, they heard the sirens and some people say within five minutes the tornado hit. Folks in the hospital were saying that.
WILLIAMS: Now, Mike , as I said to you before the broadcast, I used to live here.
WILLIAMS: And this is a tornado culture. I was in a Walgreen 's today, the weather radio was on at the checkout.
WILLIAMS: You're always mindful of it. How is it -- remind folks how it is you were here so quickly.
BETTES: We were actually on a project with The Weather Channel . We've been storm chasing for the last two weeks. We were targeting this storm. We came in right behind it. We got hailed on, we got rained on, we lost visual of the storm itself, not knowing the tornado was actually just ahead of it. So we had to slow down because we had no visibility. We came into Joplin . We were targeting Joplin , came into town, just literally minutes later, and the next thing we see is just tragedy all around us. People in the streets just wandering aimlessly. It was -- I get choked up. I got to be honest with you. You -- we know these things can happen, but I think when you see them with your own two eyes and you witness them firsthand, it just puts it in a whole different light.
WILLIAMS: You had -- you had walking wounded behind you. You had people who hadn't been triaged medically yet.
BETTES: I saw things I didn't want to see, to be frank with you: people that were wounded, people that unfortunately had perished in the tornado. And it just, you know, your heart went out to people that lived here because it was their family members, it was their neighbors, it was their pets, you know, all these things that mean so much to them they didn't have anymore. And I think everyone was just in a state of shock. I was.
WILLIAMS: And, Al , was I -- was I right as a layperson, this is about as much energy as nature can focus on one area?
ROKER: It is, and the sad part is we've got more tomorrow. There's a risk of severe weather stretching from Texas all the way to New England . But there is a strong risk tomorrow in this area, including Joplin , Missouri . And the Weather Service is now saying it may be a high risk . So we're going to have to keep an eye on this. Watch tomorrow morning " Wake Up with Al ," The Weather Channel , "Today" show at 7.
WILLIAMS: And while we're talking, I see weather over our shoulders again. Mike Bettes , Al Roker , thank you gentlemen both.