Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Are Storm Chasers 'Crossing the Line'?

They are scientists—and thrill seekers. Critics ask if they're going too far.

A cloud to ground lightning strike severs the sky.

A weather researcher looks on as the sky lights up with a cloud-to-ground lightning strike.

As deadly tornadoes spun across parts of central Oklahoma on May 31, 2013, the National Weather Service office in Norman urged residents to find immediate shelter.

"If you are stuck in traffic on I-35, you are in danger. Please try to get to a building or safe shelter," NWS-Norman tweeted.

At least 60 storm chasers stayed on the roads, heading directly toward the tornado itself. Radar imaging posted on Twitter Friday night shows that as the deadly El Reno twister touched down, several cars were precariously close to the tornado core.

Three of those storm chasers lost their lives. Acclaimed researcher Tim Samaras; his son Paul, a videographer; and chaser Carl Young were among those killed by the EF-5 tornado. (Related: "Tornado Chaser Tim Samaras Killed; Fans Pay Tribute") The Weather Channel's Mike Bettes and two others were injured in the same twister when their car was tossed 200 yards. Reed Timmer, who is featured on the Discovery Channel program Storm Chasers, escaped without injury, but his armored car—Dominator 2—had its hood torn off by the twister.

For the rest of the story: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2013/06/130604-storm-chasing-dangers-samaras-weather-tornadoes/

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