Tim Samaras was a pioneer and a scientist.
He chased for over 30 years, developed the TWISTEX research team, and intercepted hundreds of tornadoes, providing valuable information for scientists and the general public alike. People are safer during severe weather because of Tim Samaras.
Tim Samaras,his son Paul, and meteorologist Carl Young, were killed chasing in El Reno, OK on Friday.
Tim respected storms. He was one of the safest chasers I know.
Tim, like many other chasers on Friday, was in the path of a violent tornado that he could not outrun.
If this can happen to Tim Samaras, this can happen to any chaser or spotter in the field.
As I wrote previously, there are dangers involved in chasing. Tim knew the risk he took gathering information from these deadly storms.
Tim was killed in the line of duty.
Death is not an easy thing for most people to deal with. It brings into question our own mortality. It makes you stop, even if just for a second, to examine what is important in your life. It causes sorrow, grief, and intensely personal feelings of insecurity unexplainable to anyone but yourself, despite everyone having these feelings. All of the sudden, everything that has happened in the past goes away. Death truly puts us in the present. Everything happens in slow motion during a time of grief. Our relationships with the persons we love, which many, including myself, take for granted on any regular day, become indescribably valuable in these moments.
Tim was not just the pioneer of modern-day storm chasing.
Tim was a father, a husband, a friend, and a role model. Tim was the storm-chasing engineer-scientist hybrid that every storm enthusiast looks up to.
Tim’s success in the field of storm chasing and weather science was revered, respected, and renowned. Tim had no enemies. He did not get involved in the bickering that seems to plague the storm chase world from time to time. Tim was a friend for everyone.
Every storm chaser Tim met was no doubt intimidated by his stature in the world of storm chasing – but Tim broke those walls down to say hello and chat with anyone he could about his life as a storm chaser, and share the experiences and stories that excites every chaser.
Tim cared about people.
Not just the people he met. Tim has saved countless lives by helping scientists better understand storms. Tim has been providing millions of people with the early warning times they need to keep themselves safe in a severe weather event. Tim’s contribution to the early alert systems now in place can carry no measurable value. He is certainly one of the most important figures in the history of severe weather science.
I had the honour of speaking with Tim on three occasions.
Now I and the rest of the storm chase community have the honour of carrying on Tim’s work, and giving persons in the path of dangerous storms the warning time they need to be safe.
Tim will continue to save lives for many years to come.
Take care, Tim.
God bless your family,
and thank-you for the chase.