Okeechobee storm chaser reflects on killed chasers

PALM BEACH COUNTY, FL (WFLX) - Storm chasers can be our eyes and ears in the heart of devastating weather; however, the job comes with great risk. With the most recent Oklahoma City tornadoes, it was made clear that the risk can be deadly.

No matter how powerful or dangerous, Jeff Gammons of Okeechobee wants to chase it. "I've just been attracted to storms since I was young," said Gammons, a self-described storm chaser.

Gammons knows the risks and rewards of going into the heart of wild - and potentially deadly - weather. He searches for its beauty, he says, and posts it online for all to see on his Web site . "I've had a few storms that I've been in that scared me... one being Charlie and two being Katrina," he said.

From South Florida, Gammons has watched as the area in around Oklahoma City as it was recently ravaged by tornadoes. He knew some of the three storm chasers, who on Friday night, found themselves directly in the storm's path.

Tim Samaras, his son, Paul, and their colleague, Carl Young, were all killed when their vehicle was tossed into the air and them slammed back down to the ground. "They were not out there for a money shot. They were not out there to make a buck," he said. "They died doing what they loved," said Gammons.

What they loved is what Gammons still loves even when this way of life turns deadly. "I don't care how many storms you might have chased or what you know, that storm can change on a dime," said Gammons. "People get hurt, so you have to have respect for the weather."

Though he has been in tornadoes in Tornado Alley before, Gammons now focuses on chasing tropical weather here in Florida. He says this summer could be a very busy one for him - and all of us.

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