Skip to comments.Veteran Storm Chaser Among Those Killed In Oklahoma Twister
Posted on 06/02/2013 8:10:55 PM PDT by SeekAndFind
Tim Samaras had one passion in life: Tornadoes. He told The Weather Channel that when he was kid, his mother sat him down in front of The Wizard of Oz; he was immediately entranced by the violent, dark twister that tore through the landscape.
Samaras went on to become one of the premier storm chasers in the country. He was an engineer who designed probes that captured information at the base of the tornado, the part that can destroy homes and buildings in seconds.
The problem and the exhilarating part is that in order for those probes to work, they had to be put in the path of the tornado. It meant Samaras and his team would head out every spring to Tornado Alley in search of the mythical storms.
On Friday during one of those missions, Samaras, along with his 24-year-old son Paul and his friend 45-year-old Carl Young were caught by the large tornado that tore through El Reno, Okla.
The three of them were among the 10 people who were killed.
Storm chasers became a big part of that story early on, when we learned that the tornado flung a Weather Channel car clear across a highway. The car was totaled but everyone was OK.
Mike Bettes, one of the chasers on board, issued a statement asking everyone to "respect the weather." Nate Johnson, a meteorologist for WRAL-TV in North Carolina, responded with an ominous blog post. It was a titled: "Some day our luck will run out." It was followed by images of smashed vehicles and a map showing dozens of storm chasers awaiting the El Reno twister.
Jim Samaras, Tim's brother, announced his death on Facebook today. He said that all three died "doing what they loved": "Chasing tornados. I look at it that he's in the 'big tornado in the sky..."
That love was apparent in an interview Samaras gave National Geographic in May. Samaras described what it's like to stand in awe of a twister. He said:
"You can see in detail the tornado, the wind flow; you can actually hear it. And the sounds are different. If [the tornado is] in an open field, it sounds like a waterfall. If it's in a populated area, it becomes more of a thundering sound.
"And then actually even the smell of tornadoesif you're in the right place, you get a strong odor of fresh-cut grass, or occasionally, if it's destroyed a house, natural gas. Sometimes you get that raw earth smell, similar to if you run a bulldozer over open land."
Two days before the top-of-the-scale EF-5 tornado ripped through Moore, Okla., Samaras was in south-central Kansas. His son was in the driver's seat. The wind picked up, the barometric pressured changed. Then, stunningly, beautifully even, the deep, dark clouds start rotating, forming a funnel. Within a couple of minutes, the tornado is on the ground, its base twirling earth with unbelievable ease.
He was one of the most cautious on Storm Trackers. Sad to see him killed.
Prayers for his family
This guy was a pro, a scientist, one whose dangerous work over several decades has contributed greatly to our understanding of tornadoes. He was well-known in the weather community and often lectured at conferences.
At least he and his son and friend died doing what they loved. RIP
“the mythical storms.”
They’re not mythical at all. They are quite real.
Someone needs a better editor and proofreader.
Not only were they doing what they loved—they no doubt saved untold numbers of lives by keeping people alert and aware of where the tornado was located......
That being said—prayers for his family. He sought out a dangerous occupation, and from what I understand, he worked on improving advance warnings.
TORNADO PROBE INTERCEPT!!!! Amazing video inside a tornado!
NPR is mythical, so they are free to embellish as desired.
First photo in #3, is that the school marm in the rocking chair upper right?
Conspicuously absent from this description are the words "freight train." True, a freight train has a thundering sound, but listening to tornado videos I sense a whine in the thunder, like a motor. Most tornado recordings suffer from no windscreen on the microphone.
This field of study and the phenomenon are of great interest to me as well, but I prefer to view from a distance.
I think I see a cow in that mix.
I completely understand storm chasers. Tornadoes are mesmerizing in the same way as huge waves. I have never seen one but did ride my motorcycle through a thunderstorm that I later found out spawned a small tornado nearby. It just knocked a few cars off the road, likely would have sent me and the bike a bit further.
RIP Tim, Paul, and Carl.
Like soldiers, in a minimalist sort of way, storm chasers do their job knowing it is deadly. Their bravery is comendable for the danger and devastation it documents for citizens.
This information show how terrifying their moments must have been -- Their vehicle must have been picked up high into the air before the tornado released its grip.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.