Johnson City

Young storm spotter catches big, rotating cloud

Young storm spotter catches big, rotating cloud

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. - Strong storms swept through the Tri-Cities Wednesday night causing high winds, damage, and flooding. One local storm spotter even caught video of a storm rotation in Johnson City.

A dark storm cloud hung over Johnson City Wednesday night. "I was looking at the radar and I noticed some rotation, so I went outside and saw this low-hanging cloud. There was a little thing hanging down," said storm spotter Michael Gibson.

Gibson is an 11th grader at University School, and he's a News 5 storm spotter.

His mom, Deborah Smyth, tells us his passion for weather grew after a tornado hit Glade Spring in 2011. "He has a cousin that lives there. He saw the damage that it had caused, and he became even more passionate about weather," said Gibson's mother Deborah Smyth.

We learned that's when Gibson decided to take a storm spotter class so he would know exactly what he was looking at. He continued research outside of the classroom. "Just through websites, watching videos, and WCYB," said Gibson.

That knowledge came in handy Wednesday when Gibson noticed a large cloud outside his backyard. His mother told us her son helped calm her fears. "I immediately thought this may be a tornado. My son comes up to me and goes, 'Mom, it's not even a tornado.' He knew the name of it," said Gibson.

He told her it was a scud cloud, or developing wall cloud. Calming fears and warning the public about threats of severe weather is one reason why Gibson loves monitoring bad conditions. "Trying to save someone's life, that's pretty good," said Gibson.

Gibson says he will continue watching severe weather, and hopes one day he will be able to become a meteorologist.

If you have any storm pictures send them to us at or submit them at this link.

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