WEATHER

Tim Samaras killed chasing Oklahoma tornado

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You've seen the instantly addicting videos on-line of storm chasers. Those who chase storms say it's the ultimate adrenaline rush.

But as we saw over the weekend in Oklahoma, it can also be deadly.

Tim Samaras was a top tornado researcher who was killed along with his son and colleague when their vehicle got caught in a twister.

During the same storm, another vehicle from the Weather Channel was heavily damaged. The occupants in the Weather Channel vehicle survived.

WTOP Radio's Dave Dildine has chased storms in the mid-west for more than a decade, watching storm-chasing transition from scientists like Samaras setting probes and sensors to amateurs looking to make a quick buck selling storm video.

Nowadays, all you need is an iPhone to capture the images. This, however, becomes dangerous when chasers try to avoid flying debris and other vehicles while filming the storm.

“You get the roads out there absolutely cogged with chaser convergence,” Dildine says. “Gridlock on sometimes very small rural farm to market roads and there's nowhere to go. If you've got a tornado barreling toward you, sometimes there's no way out.”

Which is why Dildine, along other veteran storm chasers, isn't surprised that someone would get killed following a storm. They just never expected that 'someone' would be among the best in their field.

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