STORM CHASERS: Twistex Team Tim Samaras, Paul Samaras, and Carl Young died in El Reno, OK tornado


I was an avid fan of Storm Chasers when it was on Discovery Channel so today’s news hits me particularly hard. Twistex Team’s Tim Samaras, Carl Young, and and Tim’s son Paul Samaras died in the El Reno, OK tornado this past Friday:

WEATHER CHANNEL – Renowned researcher and storm chaser Tim Samaras, his son Paul Samaras, and his chase partner Carl Young passed away after they were overtaken by the multiple-vortex tornado, which appeared to be in the midst of a sharp change in direction.

Tim Samaras, a native of Lakewood, Colo., holds the Guinness World Record for the greatest pressure drop ever measured inside a tornado. He designed, built, and deployed instrument probes to measure atmospheric variables such as pressure and wind in the path of tornadoes.

He deployed one of these in the path of an F4 tornado that destroyed the small town of Manchester, S.D., on June 24, 2003. This probe registered a world-record 100-millibar drop in pressure inside the twister.

Samaras ran a scientific field research program dubbed TWISTEX (Tactical Weather Instrumented Sampling in Tornadoes EXperiment). He also starred in the Discovery Channel series Storm Chasers.

Tim Samaras, his son Paul Samaras, and Carl Young will be missed. RIP.

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  • kong1967

    There were so many tornadoes forming in the area that he may not have had a safe direction to go.

    • kong1967 A lot of times these very large tornadoes  become unstable and develop smaller vortexes  with smaller ones orbiting the larger and it’s during these shifts that pose the danger. Add to this that is was quite dark during the event, they may have never seen it coming until way late. They will be missed beyond their contribution to weather science. R.I.P.

  • YoJoe

    Horrible news – RIP – 
    Now they can watch from ABOVE
    I am glad I heard this on Scoop 
    Never heard it anywhere else – 
    Typical of the MSM – All take no give!

  • kmrember

    RIP….Now you can guide us from above, and surf the skys with Matt till we meet again,our hearts and prayers go out to your families.

  • doofuschmartz

    Here is small consolation, Scoop, I know it sounds trite, and please forgive me if it sounds vain or unsympathetic, I certainly don’t mean for it to do so. The truth is, these men all died doing the thing that they loved best…chasing storms. There’s a certain amount of spiritual harmony in that, I think. I also think that all three men were well aware of the overwhelming risks of their profession, and willing to accept the odds…may God grant them eternal rest from their labor of love and reward them for the storms they so courageously weathered on Earth.

  • Keyes

    Dear Lord Jesus Christ, please bring comfort to their families and accept all their souls into heaven.
    What an unberable loss. My condolences to their familes.

  • 57thunderbird

    What a tragedy.Think of the lives these men saved through their efforts to warn people of tornadoes heading toward them.I like to think that they will be rewarded for their sacrifice.RIP gentlemen.You were all heroes.

  • DCGere

    Prayers for their families.

  • summerred69

    Their deaths were not in vain..they died doing what they loved best..prayers to their families.

  • kong1967

    A friend of mine told me that they were on the interstate when the tornado hit them.  I don’t know if the tornado crossed perpendicular to the highway or if it was following the highway.  When I was watching it there were endless lights from cars sitting on the highway, so now I’m guessing they may have been one of them and had nowhere they could go.  Cars don’t travel in pastures too well.

  • MsUnderestimate

    This is so very sad. I loved Team Twistex, too, and have followed all of them since Storm Chasers aired on the Discovery Channel. Reed Timmer lives very close to me here in the Moore/Norman area, and I love them all dearly. They go into harm’s way to get scientific data for us so we can get better warning systems. 
    RIP Team Twistex.

  • K-Bob

    The freerepublic thread on this includes a map of the tornado path.  Plus a lot of snark about storm-chasers in general (which seems sad, but let’s face it: storm chaser is kind of like
    However a salient point came up several times: they build these devices that they leave in the storm’s path.  If they are supposed to survive a tornado, why does it take a team of people carefully placing them on the ground?  They ought to be droppable from airplanes high above the storm, or launchable from a distance.
    Storm chasers remind me of guys who are trying to get really, really good at catching whales with primitive gear.

    • BevWKY

      K-Bob Basically, trained weather spotters are the eyes and ears of the weather
      service. Radar can only tell them so much about about these
      unpredictable storms. Also, the machines you’re talking about are mostly for hopefully recording what’s
      happening within a particular event for research purposes. Not for warning
      people. Check out this link: Storm chasers, however, are a different breed of animal – going way past even elite weather spotting.

      • K-Bob

        BevWKY K-Bob I know what the instruments are for.  I also know this is the 2010’s and we can make better delivery systems for them, and not require chasers to get so close.

    • MsUnderestimate

      K-Bob They cannot be dropped from the sky above the storm, because when these meso-cells form, there is no aircraft that can get these instruments down into the damage path. These storm chasers and meteorolists who are on the ground are the only ones who can successfully place these insruments in the path of the funnel. There is no other way to do it, or else it would be done that way. These guys died doing what they loved, and their work will live on and be respected and new information gleaned from to help folks in the future.

      • K-Bob

        MsUnderestimate K-Bob I can think of several ways it could be done.  A special-purpose launcher; permanent installations (which totally makes sense, given that the vast majority of the world’s tornados happen in the same part of the US); multiple smaller units that you can scatter more widely; expendable drones; smaller RC craft; balloons; thousands of biodegradable digital chips that simply relay their position several times per second (a cloud of those would do far more for intelligent data gathering than one big, lumpy machine on the ground).  There are far better ways to do this research than having a bunch of folks run right up to the edge of the most dangerous part of the storm, in a car, and getting out in the storm to screw around with one out-of-date measuring tool.

  • waterbonesmama

    Tim was here in Erie, at Behrend College of Penn State last year.  We went to hear his lecture, and spoke to him afterwards.  Such a talented, inventive and nice man!  I am shocked and saddened by his and the others’ deaths.  We will miss him on Storm Chasers if they film again.  I just can’t believe this!  His team even complained about how cautious Tim was, always putting his team’s safety first.  This is just unreal.

  • bfunk

    Those two were truly wild at heart. Men embracing their manliness. Great work guys. Rest well, and we’ll all see you again.

  • imatellau

    G*D Bless them….. Doing what their heart desired, knowing the dangers. Respect!

  • GetWhatYouPayFor

    Those who chase, sometimes catch and get more than they bargained for. God Bless those who chase. They truly enjoy life. Rest in peace, chasers. You wouldn’t have lived any other way.

  • Theresaaa

    We just got our power back about an hour ago .  
    This is the first I heard of this , so sad . God bless their families .

  • Dr. Strangelove

    Too bad but if you choose to live on the edge this is the risk you take. I never watched Storm Chasers but I hope their research was helpful. That said, I still hope Jim Cantore gets swept out to sea next time he covers a hurricane.

  • WillieSol

    Rip team Twistx what a surprise to see this happen to such s seasoned storm chasing team.

  • clubgitmo

    At least they died doing what they loved.