Loss of Storm Chaser Has Rippling Effects

Jun 5, 2013

Credit The Discovery Channel/Denver PostTim Samaras, right, an engineer who designed and deployed his own instruments in the path of tornadoes, recorded data to help scientists understand the thermodynamics of tornado formation.Edit | Remove

Severe weather dominates our minds, our worries, its our worst nightmare each time the sky darkens.  Twister gave a glimpse into the movie lives of storm chasers, but the story of Tim Samaras adds realistic dimension to the genuine lives, motivations, and risks of those who choose this path.  The loss of Samaras ripples through tornado alley.

The story resonated on Morning Edition, Josh Wurman, a fellow storm chaser, talked about the tragic passing of his colleague, his motivation for chasing, and why he turned back, while others went on.  Wurman said that storm chasing was about being a scientist, and the loss of Samarus triggered a hard look at the procedures he and his team follow because no data set is worth the cost of a life.    You can listen to the entire story here.

The Denver Post flowed with insight into the rarity of Tim Samaras, saying, "he was respected by academic and thrill-seekers alike for his contributions."  The piece by Electa Draper gives understanding into the rational of why scientists, like Samarus, need to get close to storms, the purpose of following storms, and how amateur trackers could add to the difficulties of tracking storms.  Read Draper's work here.

The current moved Kansas Emergency Management Association President, Brian Stone to say, "if someone chooses to chase tornadoes, there should be rules to ensure they know what they're doing," in an article by Stan Finger featured in the Wichita Eagle.  He also concedes that he's unsure how regulations would be enforced.  Read the complete story here.

Storm season is as certain as the tide, and as unpredictable as a grizzly bear, but if there is consolation to be found in this tragedy, maybe it will be in the lessons learned.