The Inherent Dangers of Storm Chasing

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Veteran Storm Chaser and Researcher Tim Samaras

It’s a very sad day for the storm chasing community.  Veteran storm chaser, researcher and meteorologist featured on Discovery Channel’s Storm Chasers, Tim Samaras, his son, Paul, and chase partner Carl Young, were all killed while chasing the El Reno, Oklahoma, tornado on Friday, May 31st.  This is the same tornado that flipped the GMC Yukon of Weather Channel storm chaser Mike Bettes and his crew.  This storm killed other motorists on I-40 west of Oklahoma City as well.  Even though the storm chasers who were caught in this storm had extensive education in meteorology and years of  experience out in the field, tornadoes can surprise even the most veteran chaser.   While it’s not clear exactly where Tim, Paul and Carl were at the time there were hit, the storm did catch several chasers off guard when it went from moving ESE for several minutes and then suddenly took an almost 90 degree left-hand turn to the northeast giving them no escape route.   It’s a worst-case scenario for anyone following a storm and a sad reminder of how unpredictable and dangerous these storms are…

If you’re ever in the path of a tornado, please go immediately to your safe area and do not try to outrun the tornado in a car.  This is especially dangerous in urban areas where the roads can quickly become crowded with traffic and others trying to flee the storm.

Read a previous post about what to do if caught in a tornado in a car HERE.

Read more about Tim Samaras HERE.

What Mike Bettes experienced during the El Reno storm:

Other Chasers affected by El Reno tornado:

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