Crowd remembers chasers who died in El Reno tornado
By: Jordann Lucero, Primetime Reporter - bio | email
EL RENO -
One year later, the fury of May 31, 2013 was fresh on the minds of the crowd that gathered new El Reno. The group, mostly comprised of storm chasers, met at Reuter and Radio Roads to remember three professional storm chasers killed in the tornado.
"It's definitely just a shock that it happened in the first place. These guys were professionals, they were some of the safest storm chasers out there," chaser Scott Peake said.
Tim Samaras, his son Paul, and Carl Young were killed when the tornado tossed their car. They are the first know people to ever be killed on the chase. Samaras founded TWISTEX, a weather instrument used to gather information from tornadoes. The three were also featured on the Discovery Channel's series "Storm Chasers."
"I am so grateful for everything they've done for us in Oklahoma and for all over the United States," Kimberly Miller, a fan who attended the memorial, said.
Others in El Reno are still trying to recover from the storm.
"I think that's true county wide," Amanda Evert said.
Evert is a vice president at Redlands Community College. Repairs to the campus should be completes by mid-summer, Evert said.
Amanda Evert says she expects all repairs needed at Redlands Community College to be finished this summer.
"In our bookstore there were actually holes in our floor from hail that came through the ceiling and actually made holes on the floor," she said. "Truly people think we have a tornado and then it's over, but even a year later it's not." Others continue to rebuild and move in to new homes.
A fourth, amateur chaser, Richard Henderson, died on May 31. The May 31, 2013 tornado and the storms that followed are blamed for 17 other deaths, according to data from the National Weather Service.
The El Reno tornado was the widest ever on record, stretching at points to 2.6 miles wide. While wind speeds in that storm were recorded at EF-5 levels, the tornado is officially rated an EF-3. The ratings are based on damage assessments.