MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — There are now 13 people confirmed dead from the latest outbreak after a series of twisters Friday in the Oklahoma City area.
Three experienced storm chasers are also among the dead. Tim Samaras, his son, Paul, and Carl Young were killed near the town of El Reno.
“When we found this news out last night, this is the last person on Earth that we thought this would happen to,” Doug Kiesling said.
Kiesling has been chasing storms since 1987.
Kiesling’s company, StormChasingVideo.com, allowed him to work with some of the great storm chasers, including the three victims.
“I don’t call them storm chasers. They’re storm researchers,” Kiesling said.
Kiesling says Tim’s research and his ability to see what is going on inside the eye of a tornado has helped save lives.
“Tim was a genius. Going out polling new data, he designed all his own instruments. He’d go out there and find the storms and put the instrument packages into the storms into the path of tornados,” said Kiesling. “This weekend, we lost the Nicholas Tesla and Thomas Edison of weather research.”
Kiesling’s video is proof the job is dangerous.
“Yes, it looks cool on television, but if you don’t know what you are doing, heed the warnings,” Kiesling said.
The equipment he has on his truck, instrument to measure speed and several mounted cameras have helped save his life.
What’s left of the vehicle his friends were in is a constant reminder for Kiesling, that research and video of storms is important, but nothing is worth your life.
Kiesling says from now on when he chases storms, he will always look for his escape route immediately.
WCCO-TV did speak with the famous Twister Sisters from Minnesota. They will continue to chase storms, but this tragedy gives them a heightened respect for the dangers involved.