Only a week after a devastating (and terrifying) storm laid waste to parts of Oklahoma, a new round of tornadoes hit the Sooner State on Friday, killing at least twelve people, including three members of Discovery Channel’s Storm Chasers. Renowned researcher Tim Samaras, his son Paul Samaras, and chase partner Carl Young passed away, according to the Weather Channel, “after they were overtaken by the multiple-vortex tornado, which appeared to be in the midst of a sharp change in direction.” The Weather Space reports:
Samaras was known for his company Twistex. Twistex designed probes that would measure a tornado’s environment. However one thing about these probes is one has to get out and put it directly in the path of the tornado and then get out of there before it picks you up as well. This was very similar to the 1996 hit blockbuster Twister, in-which the ‘Dorothy’ probes were taken off trucks and put in the tornado’s path.
Friday’s tornado was dangerous…because it turned north toward the group of chasers, unexpectedly. This happens when the tornadic storm cycles, it pulls the tornado north into the core. The tornado of Greensburg 2007 was another example of one that made sharp turns as it occluded into the supercell. (Via)
Tim’s brother, Jim, wrote the following note on Facebook:
Thank you to everyone for the condolences. It truly is sad that we lost my great brother Tim and his great son, Paul. Our hearts also go out to the Carl Young family as well as they are feeling the same feelings we are today. They all unfortunately passed away but doing what they LOVED. Chasing Tornado’s. [sic] I look at it that he is in the ‘big tornado in the sky…’ (Via)
The Weather Channel adds, “The deaths are believed to be the first case of storm chasers losing their lives to a tornado,” and hopefully the last.