A Colorado storm chaser - known as one of the best in the world -
died Friday, along with his son during a violent tornado outbreak in
Friends and family say Tim Samaras' name was synonymous with tornadoes
and storm chasing. He spent more than 30 years in awe of tornadoes and
trying to figure out how they work. He is credited with changing the
science of chasing.
Fellow storm chasers regard Samaras as a "the best there was" and say he
was more than just an amazing scientist and engineering, but he was a
good person and so passionate about chasing.
"Whether you've been chasing a week or twenty years Tim would sit down
and have a twenty minute conversation with you. He made time for
everyone," Storm Chaser Scott Hammel said.
Samaras designed technology that captured images inside of nature's most
violent and powerful weather phenomenon. His colleagues say he always
stressed safety as being the number one priority, but with that he was
able to discover research that was truly one of a kind.
"He was one of the first people that ever designed a probe that goes
inside tornadoes. He designed something that could have cameras in it,
something that could record weather measurements and something that
could be put on the ground and not being sucked up by a tornado. He uses
a lot of high speed cameras to measure and record bolts of lightning
hitting the ground," Hammel said.
His family says the 55-year-old along with his son 24-year-old Paul,
were killed while out doing what they did better than nearly anyone else
- chasing tornadoes in Oklahoma. Their friend, 45-year-old Carl Young
was also killed. Carl's friends say he was just as passionate about
storm chasing and helping to save the lives of others. Friends say any
chance Carl had, he would be in the field chasing tornados with Tim.
The Samaras were both born and raised in Lakewood but were living in Bennett, Colorado.
Samaras last tweet was Friday afternoon: "Dangerous day ahead for OK, stay weather savvy."
Tim's wife Kathy and two daughters, Amy and Jennifer issued the following statement:
"We would like to express our deep appreciation and thanks for the
out pouring of support to our family at this very difficult time. We
would like everyone to know what an amazing husband, father, and
grandfather he was to us. Tim had a passion for science and research of
tornadoes. He loved being out in the field taking measurements and
viewing mother nature. His priority was to warn people of these storms
and save lives. Paul was a wonderful son and brother who loved being out
with his Dad. He had a true gift for photography and a love of storms
like his Dad. They made a special team. They will be deeply missed. We
take comfort in knowing they died together doing what they loved. Please
keep us in your thoughts and prayers."