Funnel Finder

 - October 12, 2007, 7:46 AM

Some pilots don’t look forward to flying in bad weather, but helicopter pilot and TV news reporter Johnny Rowlands actually fires up his Bell JetRanger and goes after the very worst in bad weather. Twice in May, on the 4th and 8th, Rowlands used “NewsChopper 9,” KMBC-TV’s Bell JetRanger, to track tornadoes that were savaging the Kansas City area, destroying property and killing people. One of these killers was a brutal F4 funnel packing winds as high as 260 mph. Rowlands delivered running commentary, provided footage of the storms and helped warn residents on air, saving an undetermined number of lives. “We were wall-to-wall with coverage on both storms,” Rowlands later reported. “We actually showed live where the funnels were touching down, then warned those in the path to take cover.”