AUSTIN (KXAN) - The local storm chaser swept up in the Oklahoma tornado that touched down in El Reno on May 31 is back on his home turf.
Austin Anderson, 52, carefully stepped off a plane in Austin Saturday. There was no need to ask how he was feeling, you could see the pain on his face.
"He certainly had guardian angels with him, it's a miracle that he's alive," said his wife, Kim.
The photojournalist was released from an Oklahoma City hospital Saturday morning. CareFlite donated the plane and the Weather Channel paid for the fuel so the tornado survivor could avoid a six hour car ride or commercial flight.
"If I could I'd get down and kiss the ground but it would hurt too much," said Austin smiling.
Under the body brace is a cracked sternum, and a dozen broken ribs and vertebrae.
Doctors orders: lay down and let the bones heal.
"I can't lift anything heavier than ten pounds for the next three months," said Austin.
That will be hard for a guy who carries a camera for a living.
"This is going to be the biggest frustration," said Kim.
His wife, Kim, watched the entire ordeal unfold on live TV. She was Austin's first call after he and his crew crawled out of the mangled SUV -- adrenaline still pumping and no signs of pain.
"I said you have to go to the hospital you may have internal damage or punctured lung so I'm so glad they did because it's a miracle he didn't paralyze himself walking around the field trying to pick up equipment," said Kim.
Austin says Weather Channel chasers always aims to be at least a mile away from a twister in the "safe zone," but no one could predict the unexpected turn the twister took. When it comes to the brewing debate over the role of storm chasers, there's no surprise which side Austin is on.
"Without somebody close by on the ground - a spotter saying 'hey, yes there is a tornado forming,' it adds to the early warning system and therefor saves lives,'" said Austin.
But Austin says hurricanes are his real passion. He has spent the last 30 years in some unpredictable situations. The latest episode only makes him hungrier to get back to work by September -- maybe.
"We've got some months to talk about that before he's out of the brace so we'll get to that later," said Kim.
A local road project more than two decades in the making won't save drivers as much time as many had hoped.
The University of Texas Board of Regents adjourned Thursday without taking action on the job status of embattled UT President Bill Powers.
Longhorns coach Mack Brown talked with reporters Thursday for the first time since reports surfaced this week that he could be stepping down.
Two men were arrested and a third was being sought by police for the shooting death of 47-year-old Russell Martens.
Parking arrangements are a bit different this year at Austin's Trail of Lights, but there are options to suit just about anybody.
After two hours of discussion regarding the final design for Auditorium Shores, the Austin City Council decided to approve the design on a vote of 7-0 with amendments.