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2017 Kane County Chronicle Best of the Fox

Into the Storm: Sadness over storm chasers' death in Oklahoma

(Photo provided)
The Twistex team.
(Photo provided)
The Twistex team's vehicle, after the storm.

This week's blog is on a very sad note. Friday yet again produced a EF-3 tornado that hit El Reno, Okla. It was a deadly tornado. Sadly, it hits home for me.

In the wake of the Moore, Okla., tornado, many residents were trying to flee. Never flee. Take cover. Storm chasers were killed by that tornado – Tim Samaras, Carl Young and Tim's son, Paul. Tim died loving what he does. If not for him and his team, Twistex, we would not have such an advance warning system like we do now. He has spent the last 30 years saving lives with his research and chases. Carl and I would talk a lot. They were the most kind people you could ever meet. I knew Tim a little, but not his son. It is a hard day to wake up and find this out. Prayers and thoughts are with the friends and families.

He was doing right when the tornado made a hard turn to the north and strengthened. But because people were fleeing from the tornado instead of taking cover, they were caught up in jammed traffic, and the tornado overtook them and they became part of the tornado. Tim would never put them in harm's way. This is an eye-opener of how this can happen to anyone, and how important safety is. Carl was a friend of mine and many others. I could go on forever, but I won't. A baby and her mother were also killed, being stuck in traffic by fleeing residents. There were 11 deaths from the El Reno tornado. It is very heart-breaking.

In the wake of this, please take this seriously. When a tornado is warned, do not flee your home. Get into a safe place. If stuck in a car, put on your seat belt and get below the windows and protect your head and neck! This event would have been avoided if people did what was right. Get to an interior room if there are no basement or windows. If you have a basement, get down under the stairs as it's the strongest part of the basement. Cover your head and neck.

It is hard to write about this, but my heart goes out to these families, especially Tim and Carl's families. May they rest in peace and chase in heaven forever. My eyes have opened also, as on Friday I was caught within eight tornado warnings near St Louis in the dark. The best thing is to stay still and get low like I did. The worst thing would have been to drive into a tornado. But through the tears and shock, there's a very important lesson here – you can't always outrun a tornado. Rural areas maybe, but in populated areas, there's not a chance. Never try. Get yourself and family safe ASAP.

For Tim and Carl's families, my heart goes out to you. He died doing what he loved. This gives us a new outlook on what we need to change. My heart breaks for you. I am in shock and just know what he has done has done to help us stay safe. This was not his fault. These are the risks we take, and we all know that. I have been chasing for 18 years, and experience does not matter as this shows. Bless you, and please visit my website at www.stormchaser1.net if you need anything. I will be heading to Moore, Okla., next week to deliver school supplies that were donated. I will be sure to stop in El Reno and pray for you. I am sorry for your loss. This is a loss for the entire country as well. We know you will get through this and learn from this. They will all be missed dearly! Rest in peace guys, you have done our country and served our country better than you will ever know. We all love you, and we all will miss you.

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