Doomed Storm Chasers Stressed Safety
Tim Samaras, son, partner weren't reckless
By Evann Gastaldo, Newser Staff
Posted Jun 3, 2013 7:04 AM CDT
Updated Jun 3, 2013 7:50 AM CDT
This undated photo provided by The Discovery Channel shows Carl Young and Tim Samaras watching the sky.   (AP Photo/Discovery Channel)

(Newser) – The three storm chasers who died Friday in an Oklahoma tornado knew what they were doing, according to family, friends, colleagues, and experts in the field. Tim Samaras, his son Paul, and his partner Carl Young were all known from the Discovery Channel's Storm Chasers. One meteorologist explains that they didn't chase storms for the thrills, but because they were interested in tornado research, the Los Angeles Times reports. Samaras' brother says safety was "one of the biggest things he stressed," but this time, "the tornado took a clear turn toward them." In fact, Samaras' last tweet on Friday, showing clouds gathering in the distance, warned readers to "stay weather savvy."

Samaras had even founded a project that aimed to learn more about tornadoes so that warnings could be given earlier. Another meteorologist, who was in a Weather Channel truck that also got caught in the tornado, explains this one was simply a particularly "erratic" and unpredictable one. Chillingly, an Oklahoma Highway Patrol trooper heard the men's last words as they were caught in the storm. "They were screaming, 'We're going to die, we're going to die,'" she tells the Detroit Free Press. "There was just no place to go. There was no place to hide." The men are believed to be the first scientific researchers to die while chasing a storm, the AP reports.

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Showing 3 of 42 comments
Jun 4, 2013 11:57 AM CDT
These guys are nuts! They've seen the movie Twister one time too many. They were better off chasing polar bears blindfolded.
Jun 3, 2013 10:12 PM CDT
Not too far from these guys, the Weather Channel's chase truck was destroyed and the crew tossed like eggs in a basket. They survived though. Next to them, a television station chase crew was tossed around and survived. Images that came in from the Weather Channel dash cam showed that the storm was visible ahead crossing the road. The cross winds were already more than 150mph. But I don't understand why they did not even slow down. It was like they wanted to bust the core. I was amazed to see them speed up thinking they would get better data collection. But you only do that if you are THE DOMINATOR. You don't do that in a Chevy truck. There was a lot of lost media equipment that day. Later on in Oklahoma City, a chaser from 25/34 was driving on a flooded street. He reaches a point where it gets deeper. He decides to make a u-turn thinking that the side road had just a little rain on it. But the "side road" he chose was instead a deep draining canal. He drove straight into 15 feet deep water and sunk. He survived because his windows busted out. He lived to post the video on youtube. Here is his video By the way, three yeas ago this same chaser lost his car in an F-3 tornado in Calumet. Same thing happened as last week. Storm took a turn and caught chasers off guard.
Jun 3, 2013 1:24 PM CDT
WAIT A MOMENT... were there TWO incidents of tornados getting tornado chasers? A couple days ago the three in cars SURVIVED the tornado... someone needs to clear things up here.. this is a very low level of reporting even for substandard reporting!