Monday, June 3, 2013

A Haunting Final Interview With A Now Deceased Storm Chaser

Tim Samaras and his son died in Friday’s El Reno, Oklahoma tornado.

A storm chaser aims his camera where lightning is striking.  

This weekend brought the sad news that Tim Samaras, a high-profile storm chaser, was killed with his son in Friday's twister in El Reno, Oklahoma. For years, Samaras has driven into the heart of tornadoes, equipment in hand, to learn more about them.

Late last month, as tornado season was opening in Oklahoma, Samaras talked to National Geographic about what motivated him to engage in such dangerous work--starting with a boyhood viewing of "The Wizard of Oz." It was our last interview with him, and one of his final interviews before his untimely death.

Samaras, a National Geographic grantee known for getting instruments inside tornadoes to measure pressure and wind speeds, talked about what we still don't know about these devastating storms, why he chases them, and how he, his son, and others cope in close quarters during a storm chase.

Please share your reflections about Samaras and his work in comments.

It sounds like you've gotten pretty close to some hair-raising tornadoes. What is that like?

Being close to a tornado is one of those incredible, fleeting moments that sometimes you have to take a couple of seconds to take in.

For the rest of the story:

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