According to ABC News on June 2, Veteran storm chaser Tim Samaras, along with his son Paul Samaras and Twistex team member Carl Young were all killed over the weekend by a large wedge tornado that touched down near El Reno, Okla.
Tim Samaras’ last tweet on Friday was, “Dangerous day ahead for OK–stay weather savvy!” On May 26, 30-year veteran storm chaser Tim Samaras tweeted that he loved his job, and on Friday night, Tim died doing what he loved.
In a deadly tornado outbreak that quickly swept across the central part of Oklahoma on the night of May 31, 13 people were killed, including American engineer and storm chaser 55-year-old Tim Samaras, his 24-year-old son Paul Samaras and colleague 25-year-old Carl Young.
Tim was reportedly found still in the car with his seat belt on, while Paul Samaras and Carl Young had been pulled from the car by the almost 200 mph winds from the EF3 categorized tornado. One of the two men was later found dead nearly a half a mile from the vehicle.
A statement issued by the Storm Prediction Center read that Samaras was a respected tornado researcher and friend and that “he brought to the field a unique portfolio of expertise in engineering, science, writing and videography”.
Samaras had spent the last three decades of his life dedicated to learning about tornadoes and was the founder of a field research team called Tactical Weather Instrumented Sampling in Tornadoes EXperiment, also known as Twistex. Tim Samaras designed and built his own weather probes that were placed in the path of tornadoes and were used to gain scientific data and insight into the inner workings of a tornado.
Samaras was made publicly famous when the Discovery Channel recruited him and his Twistex team members to join their cast of extreme storm chasers for the 2009 season of the popular reality television series “Storm Chasers”, which followed several teams of storm chasers around Tornado Alley as they attempted to intercept tornadoes. Tim Samaras and his team stayed with “Storm Chasers” through the last season, which ended in 2011.
Samaras was known as an esteemed scientist in the storm chasing community. He holds the world record for measuring the lowest barometric pressure drop inside of a tornado that destroyed the town of Manchester, S.D. on June 24, 2003. Samaras was also known for being cautious and not taking chances.
Said ABC News meteorologist Ginger Zee who knew Samaras well, “Out of all storm chasers he doesn’t take chances, he’s the one that puts the probes in the path of the tornado to learn more about them. He is not, you know, a young gun running around making bad decisions person, so I am so sad and shocked, it is such a loss for the community.”
Reed Timmer, one of Tim Samaras’ close colleagues and fellow Discovery Channel storm chaser, posted on Facebook that his heart sunk when he found out that Samaras had lost his life Friday night. Timmer called Samaras a genius, a pioneer in the science of meteorology and also a mentor, someone he’s looked up to his whole life.
Said Timmer of Samaras’ death, “He always knew what he was doing and he’s always been controlled and safe, and it just doesn’t make sense.”