The TWISTEX research family mourns the loss of Tim and Paul Samaras, and Carl Young. Our deepest sympathies go out to the Samaras and Young families and to all those were close to them. The entire storm research community has been shaken by this unfortunate event. As lead scientists for the project, we have worked with Tim since around 2005. His dedication and creativity directed toward gathering data in the most inaccessible region of tornadoes was an inspiration to us and all the scientists that have worked with him. The datasets gathered have provided critical “ground truth” used for model comparisons of the near-surface regions of tornadoes, and have furthered the understanding of tornado structure and intensity. The tornado-proximate observations, when coupled with TWISTEX data in the flow fields around the tornado, and sometimes with radar data, have led to a better understanding of the mechanisms involved in tornadogenesis, maintenance and decay.
One of the most endearing qualities about Tim was that he treated everyone with respect and a smile. He was a genuinely nice guy and was liked by everyone. Tim also was dedicated to science education giving countless public and classroom talks. He was just great teaching kids and getting them interested in science. In an effort to provide field research experience to the next generation of scientists, Tim had Iowa State and Metro State atmospheric sciences students participating in his research for many years. We have known Carl Young for nearly as long as Tim. Carl was an excellent meteorologist and a superior severe storms forecaster. He was tireless in his pursuit of the mission and really was Tim’s “right hand” out there. More importantly, he was a terrific human being with a big heart and a big grin to go with it. That kindness and smile will not be forgotten. Paul Samaras was one of the newest members of the team. Paul was a quiet young man whose talents and skills for photography and videography were developed far beyond his years. Like his dad, Paul had a kind soul and will be sorely missed.
So, what does the future hold for TWISTEX? As Tim would have wanted it, TWISTEX will go forward as a research project whose goals are to better understand tornadogenesis, maintenance and decay processes in an effort to increase tornado warning lead time and to better sample and understand the near/internal environment of tornadoes. Similarly, our severe storms educational mission will continue.
Again, speaking for all of us on the TWISTEX team (Dr. Chris Karstens, Matt Grzych, Tony Laubach, Ed Grubb) our hearts go out to the Samaras and Young families.
Drs. Bruce Lee and Cathy Finley