Two tornado “storm chasers” who appeared on the Discovery Channel series “Storm Chasers” were among those killed Friday in a severe tornado that touched down in El Reno, Okla.
It was the same area where a Weather Channel crew riding in an SUV survived after the vehicle they were riding in got swept up in a twister and then tossed an estimated 200 yards.
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However, storm chaser Tim Samaras, colleague Carl Young and Samaras’ son, Paul Samaras, were not so lucky. Details about what happened to them are sketchy, but the news, first reported here by a weather-watchers’ Web site called TheWeatherSpace.com, was later confirmed on Sunday by Discovery.
Young and Tim Samaras were both seen on “Storm Chasers,” which ended its run on Discovery in 2011. The series showed them — and other so-called “storm chasers” — at work in tornado hotspots, including Oklahoma, as they drove their armored, equipment-packed vehicles as close to the great storms as they could. The problem with that is: It’s possible to come too close, with tragic results.
Though the series has been off the air for two years, Discovery maintains an interest in the subject, reflected in a tornado special scheduled, coincidentally, to air tonight (Sunday, June 2) at 10/9c. The show, titled “Mile Wide Tornado: Oklahoma Disaster,” is a detailed account of the destructive twister that destroyed the town of Moore, Okla., earlier this month.
Neither the two Samarases nor Young are in the special, but Discovery officials said Sunday that the special will be dedicated to their memory. “We are deeply saddened by the loss of Tim Samaras, his son Paul, and their colleague Carl Young,” says Discovery’s statement. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to their families.”
On the show tonight, an on-screen “card” will read: “In memory of Tim Samaras, Carl Young and Paul Samaras who died Friday, May 31st doing what they love, chasing storms.”