For years, Samaras has driven into the heart of tornadoes, equipment in hand, to learn more about them. Late last month, as tornado season was opening in Oklahoma, Samaras talked to National Geographic about what motivated him to engage in such dangerous work--starting with a boyhood viewing of "The Wizard of Oz." It was our last interview with him, and one of his final interviews before his untimely death.
There are now reports that as many as 18 people died from injuries they received Friday when the latest in a weeks-long series of tornado-spawning storms tore through parts of Oklahoma.
Update at 8:50 p.m. ET. Death Toll Revised:
An update from Oklahoma's Department of Emergency Management Monday evening reports that 12 adults and 6 children died in Friday night's storms, NPR Southern Bureau Chief Russell Lewis tells us. Officials say that they haven't identified all of the victims. Our original post continues:
Friday's tornadoes came less than two weeks after an F-5 tornado destroyed a large section of Moore, just south of Oklahoma City. Both episodes raise two sides of one question: When caught in a tornado's path, should you run or hide?
For Morning Edition the day after the powerful tornado on May 20, NPR's Wade Goodwyn spoke with Molly Edwards, who was covered in pink insulation and standing on the rubble of her home with her family.
Tornado researcher Harold Brooks with the National Severe Storms Laboratory in Norman says the message that people in the path of a powerful tornado have to be underground to stay safe is wrong. Brooks says that messaging may even be irresponsible and dangerous.
This guest post comes from Dr. Harold Brooks, a Senior Scientist in the Forecast Research and Development Division at NOAA's National Severe Storms Laboratory in Norman, Oklahoma, and an AMS Fellow. A thoughtful and useful contribution to the national discussion prompted by the most recent Moore tornado.