Three storm chasers killed in car crash in northwest Texas


March 28 (Reuters) - Three storm chasers were killed on Tuesday in a car wreck in northwest Texas as an intense tornado-packed storm front rolled through the state, local media reported.

Weather Channel contractors Kelley Williamson, 57, and Randall Yarnall, 55, were in a Suburban that ran a stop sign and hit a Jeep, driven by Corbin Lee Jaeger, 25, at about 3:30 p.m. local time near Spur, Texas, the Star-Telegram newspaper reported.

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Severe weather in the US 2017 -- tornadoes, snowstorms, flooding, hail
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Severe weather in the US 2017 -- tornadoes, snowstorms, flooding, hail
Abdel Salah, the owner of Sam's Food and Liquor Store surveys damage after a series of tornados tore through in New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S., February 8, 2017. REUTERS/Ben Depp
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PERRYVILLE, MO - MARCH 01: A house along Pcr 906 is destroyed after last night's tornado on March 1, 2017 in Perryville, Missouri. At least one person was killed when the tornado crossed interstate 55. (Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images)
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PERRYVILLE, MO - MARCH 01: A house and garage were destroyed on Hwy V after last night's tornado on March 1, 2017 in Perryville, Missouri. At least one person was killed when the tornado crossed interstate 55. (Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images)
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Two snowmen sit in Central Park in New York on March 14, 2017. Winter Storm Stella dumped sleet and snow across the northeastern United States on Tuesday but spared New York from the worst after authorities cancelled thousands of flights and shut schools. Blizzard warnings were in effect in parts of Connecticut, Massachusetts and upstate New York, but were lifted for New York City, the US financial capital home to 8.4 million residents, where snow turned to sleet, hail and rain. / AFP PHOTO / Jewel SAMAD (Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)
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A police car pushes a cab stuck on a snow and sleet-covered street in New York on March 14, 2017. Winter Storm Stella dumped sleet and snow across the northeastern United States on Tuesday but spared New York from the worst after authorities cancelled thousands of flights and shut schools. Blizzard warnings were in effect in parts of Connecticut, Massachusetts and upstate New York, but were lifted for New York City, the US financial capital home to 8.4 million residents, where snow turned to sleet, hail and rain. / AFP PHOTO / Jewel SAMAD (Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)
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Homes are severely damaged after a tornado hit the town of Emory, Texas, U.S. April 30, 2017. REUTERS/Brandon Wade
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All three men died at the scene, about 70 miles (110 km) east of Lubbock, the newspaper reported.

"Kelley and Randy were beloved members of the weather community," the Weather Channel said in a statement. "We are saddened by this loss and our deepest sympathies go out to the families and loved ones of all involved."

Williamson and Yarnall, both from Missouri, were featured on the network's "Storm Wranglers" special on storm chasers in October.

The area was under a tornado warning at the time of the wreck, the Star-Telegram newspaper reported, citing information from the National Weather Service.

It is unclear if the three men were chasing a "very brief" tornado that was spotted nearby near the time of the crash, according to online storm sighting information posted by the service.

A total of 15 tornado sightings were reported on Tuesday in western Texas as a storm front that brought heavy winds, hail and rainfall pounded the region, the service said.

The fatal crash comes less than four years after three storm chasers were among 13 people killed by tornadoes that rampaged through central Oklahoma in June of 2013.

"Tragedy strikes our community once again, confirming 3 storm chasers killed west of Spur TX. Now is the time to pray not share names," storm chaser Jeff Piotrowski said on Twitter.

(Reporting by Brendan O'Brien in Milwaukee; Editing by Michael Perry)

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