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Storm chasers say their efforts help save lives

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) -- Despite criticism leveled against storm chasers after a May tornado in Oklahoma, some storm chasers say they deserve respect for their efforts to collect data during vicious weather.

Four storm chasers -- three professionals and one amateur -- died in the El Reno tornado.

Mike Smith, senior vice president for AccuWeather, says he's bothered by the criticism of storm chasers after the El Reno, Okla., tornado. He recently told the Downtown Rotary in Wichita that meteorological research has helped saved thousands of lives every year.

The Wichita Eagle reports (http://bit.ly/13pt7Me ) some storm chasers say they have received a lot of compliments since the El Reno tornado. Wichita storm chaser Jim Reed says most people are grateful that he and other professional storm chasers work to make them safer.