Local storm chaser reacts to death of a colleague

Cassandra Duvall

Photo: Video by tmj4.com

Local storm chaser reacts to death of a colleague

CREATED Jun. 3, 2013 - UPDATED: Jun. 3, 2013

GREEN BAY - More heartache as tornadoes rip apart cities in Oklahoma again.

A team of veteran storm chasers died, including famous chaser Tim Samaras, while tracking Friday’s twister.

A spotter from Northeast Wisconsin, who knew Samaras, remembers the chasing legend. Now he's questioning the chase for himself.

Marvin Radtke has been a chaser for 10 years. He met Tim Samaras at spotter conventions, and says losing a colleague may have changed the way he chases those dangerous storms.

“[Samaras] was one of the safest chasers that I knew,” said Radtke.

Samaras, his son Paul and colleague Carl Young died when their car got caught in Friday’s twister in Oklahoma.

“Am I really safe out there?” questions Radtke.

He said sometimes storms are too unpredictable. To stay safe he has an escape route, and monitors radar and GPS frequently.

And he has a warning for those who are not trained.

“Don't do it," he said. "Don't try to get out there. Don't try to get your 5 minutes of fame on YouTube, it's not worth it.”

Radtke remembers a few weeks ago.

“The scanner was just going off left and right,” he said.

He was in Moore, Oklahoma, and saw the tornado form that killed 24 people.

“It was devastating,” he recalls. “The pictures you see on TV don't do it any justice at all.”

He's had his close calls too. His car was picked up by a tornado in Montana.

“When I go out there, my mind just empties out and I just take in all I can,” said Radtke.

But, he is a firm believer that chasing saves lives, being the eyes for others.

Radtke is still not sure whether he will continue chasing, but says he does have a responsibility to warn others about storms.

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