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Two Greek storm chasers died in Oklahoma

03 June 2013 / 18:06:16  GRReporter
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Two Americans of Greek descent died in the tornado that has swept away part of Oklahoma in the United States. Tim Samaras, aged 55, and his son Paul, aged 24, became victims of the natural phenomenon in El Reno in the outskirts of Oklahoma City. Tim and Paul Samaras lost their lives along with meteorologist and friend Carl Young, who was 45 years old.

Tim was a renowned explorer of extreme natural phenomena and one of the most famous "storm chasers." He founded the Twistex research centre (Tactical Weather Instrumented Sampling in / near Tornadoes EXperiment), which specializes in the study of tornadoes.

Tim Samaras was the inventor of a special probe, that is equipped with camera devices and that can provide, from a safe distance, information on the inside of a tornado, as well as of the high-speed camera that can capture a million frames per second. This equipment allows you to capture a streak of lightning during a storm and to make a 360-degree visualization of the interior of a tornado. In May and June each year in the last 20 years, Samaras followed the tracks of the tornado to be able to expand his knowledge of this natural phenomenon. For this period, he received 18 grants for fieldwork from National Geographic and he was one of the main characters in the "Storm Chasers" documentary series.

His skills allowed him to successfully report on the storm in Iowa on 11 July 2004. He holds the world record for barometric measuring of the lowest pressure (100 mbar) inside a tornado in the city of Manchester in North Dakota on 24 June 2003.

"Tim Samaras was one of the best in the field and I have always thought that he would be the last person to whom such a thing could happen," says Tony Lobas, photographer and a colleague of the deceased, who had been working with Samaras since 2007, cited by Kathimerini. Lobas stresses that his friend was one of the most attentive explorers of the dangerous natural phenomenon unlike his other colleagues.

Terry Garcia, executive vice chairman of the National Geographic Society, states that he is shocked by the loss of National Geographic’s long-time collaborator Tim Samaras. "Although we take things for granted sometimes, Tim's death is a stark reminder of the risks encountered regularly by the men and women who work for us," Garcia notes.

On Friday, Oklahoma was swept by five tornadoes, which killed 13 people, including the explorers. The storms have affected the neighbouring states of Missouri and Illinois too. The total number of victims in the three states is 19 but according to the security services, it could rise because they are still looking for people who have disappeared under the rubble.

Tags: NewsStormsTornadoTim Samaras
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