3 storm chasers killed in Texas crash while pursuing tornado

Texas Department of Public Safety troopers investigate a two-vehicle crash that left several storm chasers dead Tuesday

Three storm chasers were killed when their vehicles collided at a rural intersection during severe West Texas storms.

In a statement, the DPS said Williamson was driving a Suburban SUV north on Farm Road 1081, about 5 miles west of Spur, when he ran a stop sign and collided with a Jeep that was going west on Farm Road 2794. A powerful storm system with winds exceeding 60 miles per hour has damaged homes in suburban Dallas, knocked out power to tens of thousands across Texas and brought heavy rain that inundated some areas.

Williamson and Yarnall contracted with The Weather Channel, according to a statement released late Tuesday. "You know, you've got to watch out for everybody out there, and then the storms come secondary".

"We had plans for him to visit so I could teach him some photography skills", said Wade. Fifty-five-year-old Randall Delane Yarnall, also from Cassville, rode in the passenger seat.

"I call it 'tornado zoo.' They think they can just drive up like it's a lion on the other side of the cage", he said. Two of them were contractors for The Weather Channel, the company confirmed. "People are under vast pressure to catch the shot and keep the storm in front of them and keep live streaming the storm".

Howard Bluestein, a meteorologist at the University of Oklahoma, says he and a National Science Foundation-funded group of students bring Doppler radars into the field "to catch tornadoes in the act of forming, to learn about why some storms produce tornadoes and some don't", and to gather information on tornadoes' structures. But storm chasers can place probes and sensors directly in a tornado's path, picking up data that can't be revealed from afar. Mostly interested in Arizona's monsoon season, Jaeger would also chase storms in the Great Plains.

"I was at work at the time, I pretty much had to stop what I was doing, " Fox said.

The society said in a 2014 report that professional storm chasers are highly mobile and aware of the hazards, and know to keep their distance.

"Our mission is to teach people about severe weather, and we can get close enough to a tornado to see it and take good pictures of it, but certainly we don't have to get in the path".

"The storm-chase culture has blown meteorology off-course", wrote John Knox, atmospheric sciences professor at the University of Georgia, in a 2013 USA Today editorial.

"We were sad here at the weather office, we're all a weather community", National Weather Service's Jodey James said.

Wade and Peek said Williamson connected with viewers because of how accessible he made the content.



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