Colorado veteran storm chaser Tim Samaras, his son Paul Samaras, and longtime chase partner Carl Young were killed in the EF-3 tornado that tore through El Reno, Oklahoma Friday, raising the death toll to 11.
Tim Samaras founded TWISTEX (Tactical Weather Instrumented Sampling in Tornadoes EXperiment) to pursue tornadoes and advance the research and warning available to the public and was one of the stars of the Discovery Channel show “Storm Chasers.” He was considered a leader in storm chasing expertise and worked with National Geographic, the Discovery Channel, Boeing, and the federal government, dedicating three decades of his life to studying tornadoes.
“Tim Samaras has led, designed, and fielded complex instrumentation research efforts over the past 30 years,” the TWISTEX website says.
Tim’s last tweet dated May 31, he cautions, “Dangerous day ahead for OK–stay weather savvy!” and includes a photo showing the line of storms forming just to his east that would eventually take his own life:
Storms now initiating south of Watonga along triple point.Dangerous day ahead for OK–stay weather savvy! twitter.com/Tim_Samaras/st…
— Tim Samaras (@Tim_Samaras) May 31, 2013
Samaras’ brother Jim posted the following statement on Tim Samaras’ Facebook page at 5:30 a.m. Sunday morning:
I’m Jim Samaras – Tim Samaras’s brother. Thank you to everyone for the condolences. It truly is sad that we lost my great brother Tim and his great son, Paul. Our hearts also go out to the Carl Young family as well as they are feeling the same feelings we are today. They all unfortunately passed away but doing what they LOVED. Chasing Tornado’s. I look at it that he is in the ‘big tornado in the sky…’ We (the family) will keep folks aware of what the funeral estrangements are, but please in the meantime keep Tim and Paul in your thoughts and prayers.
Condolences are pouring in from friends and colleagues around the world:
“I have known Tim for over 20 years, he was the most brilliant and most careful severe weather researcher of them all. Tim was not a cowboy, he was as cautious as possible about his approach to studying these dangerous storms.” Mike Nelson, 7NEWS Chief Meteorologist.
“Tim and Paul were really good people and it was important to them that they were not thought of as simply storm chasers, but as scientist hoping to help get data to understand tornadic activity. They helped people build better constructed buildings among other things.” Brad Boggot, 7NEWS Photojournalist.
“We are deeply saddened by the loss of Tim Samaras and his son. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family.” Discovery Channel Spokesperson.
“Jim… Tim was a game changer in this profession and science. An irreplaceable piece to the puzzle in weather data collection and analysis. I am so sorry for the loss of your family since Tim was likely just as passionate of a husband, father, and brother as he was a researcher. We are all stunned beyond words.” Brett Adair
The following is a presentation Tim Samaras gave where he discussed his passion for chasing and studying storm systems and the lessons he has learned over the years:
Watch a 2009 clip from the Discovery Channel show “Storm Chasers” showing Tim in action chasing a tornado
Weather Channel Crew’s Vehicle Picked up and Thrown by El Reno Tornado
Weather Channel storm chasers Mike Bettes and two photographers were in their Tornado Hunt vehicle when they were hit by the same tornado that killed Tim Samaras, his son and Carl Young in El Reno, Oklahoma. The tornado picked their car up off the ground and rolled it 6 – 8 times before depositing it in a field 200 yards away, according to Bettes. Luckily, all the occupants were wearing seat belts and the air bags deployed; Bettes sustained minor injuries, including stitches in his hand. This accident was also the first injury sustained by a Weather Channel personality covering violent weather, according to company spokesperson Shirley Powell.
StormChasingVideo.com storm chaser Brandon Sullivan and Brett Wright Hit By Tornado’s Flying Debris
StormChasingVideo.com storm chaser Brandon Sullivan and his chase partner Brett Wright were also caught in the EF-3 tornado northwest of Union City, OK and their car was slammed with debris as the tornado hit a barn that exploded directly in front of them.
Photos Via: Faceboook and Courtesy of Natgeotv[posts_carousel category=”weather” items=”9″]