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Storm Chasers Use GPS Coordinate Initials to Memorialize Their Fallen

After Tim Samaras, Paul Samaras, and Carl Young died tracking tornadoes in the Midwest, colleagues spelled out their initials across three states.


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Chasing down tornadoes, as will surprise no one, can be a dangerous business. Researchers and amateurs alike put themselves in the harm’s way seeking to gather data that meteorologists can use to better understand extreme weather, and sometimes things don’t go as planned. That was the sad case this weekend when noted storm chasers Carl Young and Tim Samaras, as well as Tim’s son Paul Samaras, were killed gathering data about a powerful tornado moving through Oklahoma.  While the team is gone, they’re not forgotten, as colleagues used their GPS coordinates to spell out the initials of the lost storm chasers across three states.

GPS coordinates have long been an important tool for storm chasers, so it seems appropriate that the community would use this method to honor the three men, who died this weekend when the Chevrolet Cobalt they were in was destroyed while monitoring a tornado near El Reno, Oklahoma. Participants uploaded their coordinates to create a one-of-a-kind map spelling out the initials of the three men. You can see it in greater detail here:

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It’s not yet known what went wrong during the chase, as a camera that may have captured the last moments of the team’s work was torn off and blown free of the car during the storm. Authorities are currently searching for the camera, hoping the video could give them a better idea of how the veteran team was killed.

Young and the elder Samaras were well regarded as a team in the meteorological community — Samaras had brought his skills as a storm chaser to work for everyone from the U.S. government to National Geographic, and he and Young — a meteorologist by training — had been working together chasing storms for the last 10 years. The pair found some mainstream fame on the Discovery Channel show Storm Chasers.

(via ABC NewsTwitter, image courtesy of David Ruffini)

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