Videos: Remembering Tim Samaras, storm chaser killed in tornado alongside son, partner
Tomorrow at 1 p.m., Mission Hills Church in Littleton will host a memorial service for Tim Samaras, his son Paul and his longtime partner Carl Young -- three storm chasers who dedicated their lives to documenting the sort of deadly weather from which most of us run. The three -- well known to viewers of the Discovery Channel staple Storm Chasers (it was cancelled last year) -- were killed in Oklahoma on Friday by a tornado. Below, we've got what's described as Tim's last storm video, his final interview and much more.
This photo of a storm last October is featured on Tim's Facebook page.
As noted by 7News, which assembled a fitting tribute to the men, Tim and Paul are originally from Lakewood and have most recently been living in Bennett. And while Storm Chasers had run its course, the pair, along with Young, continued to make regular appearances on television whenever dangerous weather developed.
This clip, from the folks at National Geographic, with which the trio also worked, is described as Samaras's last storm video....
...while this footage, from MSNBC, is called his final interview:
After the men died in a tornado estimated at EF-3 strength, the Samaras family released the following statement:
"We would like to express our deep appreciation and thanks for the out pouring of support to our family at this very difficult time. We would like everyone to know what an amazing husband, father, and grandfather he was to us. Tim had a passion for science and research of tornadoes. He loved being out in the field taking measurements and viewing mother nature. His priority was to warn people of these storms and save lives. Paul was a wonderful son and brother who loved being out with his Dad. He had a true gift for photography and a love of storms like his Dad. They made a special team. They will be deeply missed. We take comfort in knowing they died together doing what they loved. Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers."
Another tribute comes from 7News forecaster Mike Nelson, who wrote the following on his Facebook page:
"Tim died doing what he loved, with people he loved -- especially Paul. Kathy [Tim's wife] was the wind beneath their wings as she embraced and understood the passion that made them chase tornadoes.
"Tim was not only a brilliant scientist and engineer, he was a wonderful, kind human being. If anyone could be called the 'gentleman of storm chasing,' it would be Tim. He was iconic among chasers and yet was a very humble and sincere man.
"I have known Tim for two decades and while I never had the privilege to witness a tornado by his side, I lived vicariously through his amazing videos, Powerpoints, National Geographic articles and the numerous public seminars we presented during the past 20 years (both at KMGH and KUSA).
"The world has lost a truly amazing scientific mind, three very brave men and two families grieve with great pain -- as do all of us who are diminished by their passing,"
We add our condolences to the friends, family and loved ones of these three brave men.
Here's the aforementioned 7News report, followed by photos from Tim's Facebook page, featuring his own captions:
August 28, 2012: "We deployed the Storm surge monitor called EyeSPY southwest of Waveland, MS. Storm surge has risen several feet since last night. Road we used to deploy instrument is now impassable(shown). Isaac...now (finally) a hurricane, is slowly making it's way toward the LA coast. Although a minimal hurricane, storm surge is expected to be roughly 6-12' -- an excellent case for us!"
August 16, 2012: "National Geographic TV crew with us as we hunt lightning in New Mexico for an upcoming special on NGC. Not sure why they want to video my tire, however...."
August 8, 2012: "Just got back from our maiden voyage with the new lightning truck. Optical turret isn't quite done, so we shot out of the back. Had ABC/Ginger Zee with us--caught an amazing high-speed shot of lightning where a single stepped leader branch dropped to ~3,000' AGL, then fragmented to five branches. Never seen anything like this before.
Appears that ABC will air the story on their national news and Nightline on Friday evening. Then on Good Morning America on Saturday or Sunday with Ginger Zee."
July 13, 2012: "Upgrading the USB hubs to smaller/faster design before the monster camera is fitted inside the new truck.
Work is progressing slowly -- but hope to be in the field by August 1!"
March 26, 2012: "Incredible day. We deployed the monster 100 pound camera probe in the path of this F3 tornado near Storm Lake, IA. You can see the results in the May, 2005 National Geographic Magazine! -- with Carl Young."
January 1, 2012: "Happy New Year everyone! Let's all hope that the upcoming tornado season will be filled with tornadoes that crawl through open country, and not be so destructive as last year--good riddance 2011! Photo is one of my favorite of the year--taken by my son Paul Samaras when he was in M3 with Tony Laubach and Ed Grubb on April 27. Sort of encapsulates our TWISTEX mission. What did I do for New Years celebration? In bed by 8:30 PM, and was up 'with the chickens....'"
More from our Follow That Story archive circa June 2012: "High Park fire update: 85 percent containment, many subdivisions reopened."
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss Westword's biggest stories.