3 storm chasers among 13 killed in Okla. tornado

Trio was doing research; 1 was on TV program

Volunteers sifted through the tornado-destruction rubble of homes Sunday in Moore, Okla. Residents are still trying to recover two weeks after the devastating wind storm.

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Volunteers sifted through the tornado-destruction rubble of homes Sunday in Moore, Okla. Residents are still trying to recover two weeks after the devastating wind storm.

EL RENO, Okla. — Three veteran storm chasers were among the 13 people killed over the weekend when a violent tornado barreled into the Oklahoma City metro area.

Jim Samaras said Sunday that his brother Tim was killed. Tim Samaras’s son, Paul, and another chaser, Carl Young, also died.


The Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Okla., said the men were involved in tornado research. They traveled the Great Plains in search of bad weather, hoping to warn people ahead of tornadoes and to help meteorologists understand the natural disasters.

The three died Friday night near El Reno when an EF3 tornado with winds up to 165 miles per hour hit the Oklahoma City area during rush hour.

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‘‘They put themselves in harm’s way so that they can educate the public about the destructive power of these storms,’’ Canadian County Undersheriff Chris West said of the men on Sunday after Oklahoma’s governor turned out to view damage in his area.

Residents were cleaning up after the storms there. Five tornadoes struck the Oklahoma City metro area on Friday, the National Weather Service said. Governor Mary Fallin said Sunday that 115 people were injured.

Tim Samaras had appeared on the Discovery Channel’s ‘‘Storm Chasers’’ show until last year. ‘‘We are deeply saddened by the loss of Tim Samaras, his son Paul and their colleague Carl Young. Our thoughts and prayers go out to their families,’’ Discovery Channel spokeswoman Laurie Goldberg said.


The channel planned to dedicate a show Sunday night to the three men, capping the broadcast with a tribute saying that the three died “doing what they love, chasing storms.’’

There were reports of a tornado in South Carolina on Sunday as the East Coast faced the remnants of violent weather in Oklahoma.

Damaging winds knocked down trees and utility wires in parts of northern New England on Sunday, and flights were delayed in New York City.

Heavy rain, several thunderstorms, high winds, and hail moved through parts of the Northeast on Sunday.

In northwestern South Carolina, authorities checked unconfirmed reports of a tornado, said Jessica Ashley, a shift supervisor for Anderson County’s 911 center. The Fire Department responded to a report of roof damage to a home and callers said trees were blown over. No injuries were recorded.

Stormy weather in the New York City area produced delays at major airports. John F. Kennedy International Airport had delays of about two hours on departing flights, while La Guardia Airport operations were delayed nearly three hours, and Newark Liberty Airport had delays of more than three hours on arriving flights to New Jersey.

The Southeast was hit by severe thunderstorms, high winds and hail as part of a slow-moving cold front.

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