After Friday's chaotic tornadoes tore apart Oklahoma, only two weeks after what happened in Moore, Oklahoma, the storm chasing community is mourning the loss of one of their own. Well-respected storm chaser Tim Samaras, his son Paul Samaras, and his chasing partner Carl Young died during Friday's storms.
The exact details of the trio's deaths are not known. They are being counted among the nine deaths reported after Friday's storms. Samaras' brother Jim broke the news about Tim on his Facebook page:
Tim, the 55-year-old storm chaser, was one of the most respected veterans in his field. He founded TWISTEX (Tactical Weather Instrumented Sampling in Tornadoes EXperiment) to measure the strength of tornadoes. Samaras became known for his tornado probes, ground-breaking technology in tornado research, that he would place them directly in front of the tornado's path to measure the strength of the tornado and the pressure drops at the tornado's center. Samaras' work earned him work with National Geographic and he was a contributor to the Discovery Channel's Storm Chasers program, too.
Friday's storm ended up putting many storm chasing lives in danger, and caused a few chasers to question the practice amid so many disasters and close calls. The Weather Channel's tornado-chasing mobile was tossed 200 yards when it got too close to one of the Oklahoma tornadoes. Thankfully everyone survived, though they escaped with a few broken bones.
The word from fellow meteorologists ad the public Sunday morning was one of utmost respect. Many are stressing he was not a storm chasing cowboy like other popular tornado researchers. "Terrible news. He was the cautious one," one Twitter user said. "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," meteorologist Mike Nelson, who worked with Samaras in frequently in Denver, said Sunday morning. Samaras was profiled by the New York Daily News in the wake of the destructive Moore tornado.
(Correction: earlier version said no one was hurt in when the Weather Channel's tornado hunting car was thrown. The crew did suffer some minor injuries and broken bones.)