Story Behind 'Amazing' Tornado Captured on Video Tearing Across Wray, Colorado

Gabe Cox said he and the driver were not expecting a twister of that magnitude.

ByEnjoli Francis
May 09, 2016, 6:11 PM

— -- Storm chaser Gabe Cox today described the "awe-inspiring" tornado he captured on video this weekend as he and driver Scott Peake traveled through Colorado, on the lookout for twisters.

Cox said that he and Peake had not been expecting to see much Saturday evening as they set out on their trek, equipped with Doppler radar and forecast models.

"The ingredients for tornadoes was kind of marginal," Cox told ABC News today, "and so when we saw the storm developing, it was definitely a surprise to us at how big and how powerful this tornado ended up being."

Cox said he was the one filming that evening as Peake turned onto a road and found their vehicle smack dab behind a tornado in Wray, Colorado.

"When we came out on that road and it was sitting in front of us, it was probably the most amazing tornado we have seen at least in a while," he said, noting that the two followed behind the tornado as it continued to travel on the road.

Cox said that while it might have appeared on the footage that the two and others around them were dangerously close, looks were deceiving.

"The first thing we think about is safety. We always try to keep road options available to move in case the tornado decides to change direction," he said.

At their closest point, Cox said that he and Peake were about 100 yards away from the tornado with the twister moving away from them.

"We were staying back a safe distance. ... I was zoomed in so much with my camera but everyone that was on that road at that time was completely safe," he said. "There's a hundred things going on all at once and the No. 1 thing that we're focused on is safety and keeping a safe distance."

At least five people were hurt in the eastern Colorado city of Wray as the twister flipped tractors, ripped through outbuildings and destroyed mobile homes, authorities said. The tornado, an EF-2 with 130 mph winds, was tracked more than 8 miles.

Cox said that he'd seen small pieces of debris flying around as well as a truck that had been flipped and tossed across a depot. Luckily the truck depot was vacant and no one was there, he said.

The pair stayed safe as they observed the twister by remaining outside of its collar, the ring of white clouds above the tornado, as well as its wall cloud.

Cox said at one point, the tornado even became stationary, sitting in one spot and grinding away at the ground beneath it. He told ABC News that he did not know how high it was and that he could only see a quarter-mile of the tornado's base from his vantage point in the car.

He said today that the tornado had put on one of the "most beautiful displays" he and Peake had seen in a long time.

"When I panned up the camera and we looked up at the top of the tornado and could see the entire funnel, it was probably one of the most beautiful tornadoes I've ever seen," he said today. "It was majestic and just awe-inspiring. ... At the same time, it was terrifying, knowing that there were a couple of mobile homes in the way and a truck depot that it had hit just moments before."

ABC News' Matt German contributed to this report.

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