Tim Samaras, who held records for lowest measured pressure in a tornado, was killed Friday along with his son and longtime chasing partner Carl Young.
Here is a recent clip from National Geographic:As leader of the Twistex group, he also appeared on the Discovery Channel's "Storm Chasers".
Tim Samaras was famous for his engineering of probes and scientific sensors for measuring tornados. His goal was to further the science of tornado prediction and save lives. In the chasing community, he would be one of the most respected legends.
As far as I can gather from news sources, the monster F3 tornado near El Reno suddenly took a right turn, trapping Samaras and overturning his vehicle. This is the same event that overturned the Weather Channel vehicle. In another new famous
video, the Tornado Titans drive through the Rear Flank Downdraft (RFD) during the same right turn.
After the popularity of shows like Discovery Channel's "Stormchasers", and streaming video, hundreds of people have taken out in their vehicles to view storms. This presents very dangerous traffic jams near storms. Coupled with the hour being in "Rush Hour" and for certain media personalities recommending "Leaving South on the Interstate", presented a potentially harmful situation.
Another factor I blame indirectly is the appearance of "tornado tanks", such as the Dominator and the TIV, designed to survive a direct hit of a weak tornado. Recently the drivers of these vehicles have survived F3's and last week the TIV survived a F4 intercept. This escalation is going to get more people killed.
Stormchasers do a tremendous service, the coordination of stormchasers and live TV coverage saved many lives during the May 20th Moore, OK Tornado. Many also collect copious amounts of data that are meant to help the forecasting of tornados.
It is the amateur stormchasers that are gumming up the works.
Let me state the obvious- it is terrible that stormchasers needed EMS resources to help at the worst time when EMS help was needed by the local communities.
I am sure the industry will learn from this and change their approaches, especially around High Precipitation (HP) cells and near Metropolitan Areas. But with the need to get the "most insane videos" to pay bills, more "insane" videos will be produced.
If a tornado conditions are near, stay home. watch the chasers from the safety of home and go to websites like chasertv.com, stormscapelivetv.com, and tvnweather.com as well as the National Weather Service and Storm Prediction Center.
Many news stations have streaming coverage during severe weather events.
My condolences to their families and their many friends in the weather community.