Tim Samaras and Carl Young, formerly of Discovery Channel's series Storm Chasers, as well as Tim’s 24-year-old son Paul, were lost during Friday, May 31, 2013’s tornado outbreak in Oklahoma. Discovery Channel is deeply saddened by their loss and our thoughts and prayers go out to their friends and families.
Although Carl was a native Californian, he was called east in 2000 after a spell working on Hollywood film crews. He decided to take off on a two month storm chasing adventure in the Great Plains hoping to catch a glimpse of a few tornadoes but ended up with over a dozen twister encounters. Experiencing the raw force of nature in Nebraska was unlike any pyrotechnic display on a high-tech Hollywood set! This inspiration led Carl to the study of tornado dynamics and ultimately a masters degree in atmospheric science from the University of Nevada, Reno. While attending a meteorological conference, Carl met Tim Samaras who encouraged him to collect meteorological data from inside tornadoes as the principal focus of his thesis research. Every spring since 2003, Carl headed out with Tim, and together the team tracked down over 125 tornadoes.
Carl's finest moment came on June 11, 2004 near Storm Lake, Iowa. Working with Tim, they defied the odds and deployed their probes right in the path of a tornado. The six-camera video probe captured amazing footage from multiple angles while the sensor probe recorded data that revealed just how fast wind speeds are close to the ground. Since then Carl remained eternally optimistic that they could repeat the same feat despite the huge challenges for successful deployments.
A Message from Eileen O'Neill: Remembering Tim Samaras and Carl Young