Weather and Extreme Events

Remembering Tim Samaras and Carl Young

posted: 06/03/13

A Message from Eileen O'Neill, Group President - Discovery & TLC Networks

Our deepest sympathies and prayers go out to the family and friends of Tim Samaras and Carl Young, formerly of Discovery Channel's series STORM CHASERS, as well as Tim's 24-year-old son Paul, who were lost during Friday's tornado outbreak in Oklahoma.

A gifted engineer and avid storm chaser, Tim founded and headed TWISTEX (the Tactical Weather Instrumented Sampling of Tornadoes Experiment). When violent storms and tornadoes sweep across communities and threaten lives, most people go in the opposite direction, but Tim, using his state-of-the-art weather instruments developed for TWISTEX, ran toward the storm in the hope of understanding these meteorological beasts, improving early warning systems and saving lives.

Tim made scientific history with the TWISTEX Probe, jokingly referred to as "the turtle" because of its shape. By deploying these probes into a tornado's path, Tim, along with Carl, provided key data for researchers studying the storm's movements and deadly force. The information collected has directly resulted in increased warning time for local authorities to tell residents to take cover.

In 2011, Tim took time off from his work to join Discovery employees helping to rebuild homes in Alabama destroyed by devastating tornadoes earlier in the year. With the same dedication and focus he brought to his meteorological work, Tim manned a buzz saw, hammered and painted from dawn to dusk ensuring the Burchfield family had not only a new home but new hope for their future.

Carl Young shared Tim's fascination with forces of nature. Witnessing a tornado up close led Carl to a masters degree in atmospheric science from the University of Nevada, Reno. While attending a meteorological conference, Carl met Tim who encouraged him to collect meteorological data from inside tornadoes as the principal focus of his thesis research. Every spring since 2003, Carl has headed out with Tim, and together their TWISTEX team has tracked down over 125 tornadoes.

Tim's son Paul had become TWISTEX's videographer, providing vivid details of the team's intercepts and research. Paul was also an accomplished photographer and shared his dad's zest for adventure and exploration.

We will miss the drive, heart and commitment all three brought to their work and to their lives.

Photos: In Memory of Storm Chasers Tim Samaras and Carl Young

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