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Stormchaser Had Been to South Dakota


Tim Samaras, one of three men who were killed in a tornado that struck El Reno, Oklahoma, was not a stranger to South Dakota.

He had been in the state in June of 2003 to track the tornado that all but demolished Manchester, a community eight miles west of DeSmet on U.S. Highway 14 in Kingsbury County.

Gary Marx, a Manchester native who works to keep the town’s memory alive, says Samaras placed scientific instruments on a farm in the area just ahead of the storm, and thus recorded what was believed to be the greatest barometric pressure drop ever recorded.

Samaras didn’t forget about Manchester. Marx says he stopped there several years ago to see the monument that includes his name on what used to be Main Street in Manchester.

For most of us it’s hard to understand why Samaras, his son Paul and team member Carl Young were out there, but Mike Cavender of the Radio Television Digital News Association says Samaras was a world-class meteorologist and that they were there for the science, not the thrills.

That part I can understand, but it’s still tragic for three lives to be lost so we could know more about severe weather.



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