Storm Chasing Community and World Mourns Loss of 3 Great Tornado Chasing Legends

The “Storm Chasing” world lost an icon in Friday’s Oklahoma tornado outbreak. Tim Samaras, his son Paul, and Carl Young died doing what they loved while chasing the EF3 El Reno Tornado May 31. Many people did not want to believe this devastating news but Samaras, who regularly posts on his Facebook after every chase, has not been heard from since Friday.  Tim was 55.

Most people know Samaras, who hailed from Bennett, Colo., from the Discovery Channel’s “Storm Chasers” series. However, he was also known for founding Twistex, a company that developed probes to measure the environment of a tornado. These probes would have to be deployed in the path of tornado – similar to what you see in the 1996 movie “Twister”.

The El Reno tornado was dangerous for all involved including the storm chasers. The reason is that it unexpectedly turned north right into their path, which occurs when the tornadic storm cycles, pulling it into the core. The Greensburg 2007 tornado is a prime example of this happening. It also made sharp turns while it occluded into the storm cell.

Storm chasing is serious and dangerous business. Samaras was the kind of person who would stop chasing to ensure fellow chasers needed help of any kind. Samaras didn’t chase for the thrill of chasing; he was out there to make a difference… to save lives!

Samaras had once said his love for chasing began with the movie “The Wizard of Oz”. He started storm chasing 20 years ago, crisscrossing across the plains to get footage and information on tornadoes.  Samaras had said information from the Twistex probes could allow folks to understand the dynamics of a tornado and how they come about, allowing even more accurate forecasts and provide folks with even earlier warnings.

Many storm chasers were caught off guard by Friday’s tornadoes including the team at The Weather Channel, whose vehicle rolled 200 feet before coming to a rest. Mike Bettes and his team suffered minor injuries but were, otherwise, okay. The tornado they were chasing also occluded into the storm cell.

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Posted by on Jun 2 2013. Filed under New. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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