Veteran storm chaser and weather researcher Tim Samaras, his son Paul and his longtime chase partner Carl Young were all killed in the El Reno tornado Friday night in Oklahoma. Thirteen people are reported to have been killed in tornadoes and flash flooding that raked the Oklahoma City metropolitan area that night.
Jim Samaras told the Associated Press on Sunday that his brother Tim was killed, along with Samaras’ son and Young.
The Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Okla., said the men were involved in tornado research. They traveled the Great Plains in search of bad weather, hoping to warn people ahead of tornadoes and to help meteorologists understand the natural disasters.
The three died Friday near El Reno when an EF-3 tornado with winds up to 165 mph hit the Oklahoma City area during rush hour.
“They put themselves in harm’s way so that they can educate the public about the destructive power of these storms,” Canadian County Undersheriff Chris West said of the men Sunday after Oklahoma’s governor turned out to view damage in that area.
Samaras, 55, founded TWISTEX (Tactical Weather Instrumented Sampling in Tornadoes EXperiment) to pursue tornadoes and advance the research and warnings available to the public.
He also was researching lightning with the fastest, highest-resolution camera in the world, which The Eagle wrote about it in March. It was work that promised to change our understanding of the physics of lightning and that had the potential to save lives.
Tim Samaras and Carl Young were among those featured in the former Discovery Channel series “Storm Chasers.”
“We are deeply saddened by the loss of Tim Samaras, his son Paul and their colleague Carl Young. Our thoughts and prayers go out to their families,” Discovery Channel spokeswoman Laurie Goldberg said.
The channel planned to dedicate a show Sunday night to the three men, capping the broadcast with a tribute that will read: “In memory of Tim Samaras, Carl Young and Paul Samaras who died Friday, May 31st doing what they love, chasing storms.”