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06.02.13

Tim Samaras, Storm Chaser Extraordinaire: See the Highlights (VIDEO)

Veteran storm chaser Tim Samaras died Friday in the El Reno, Oklahoma, tornado, along with his son Paul and colleague Carl Young. WATCH these amazing moments from Samaras’s career.

‘Tornado Pioneer’

Tim Samaras wasn’t just a storm chaser, he was also a legendary researcher. After news surfaced of his death, The Weather Channel eulogized Samaras by re-airing an April 2012 profile of him. “We still don’t have a clear understanding why some thunderstorms create tornadoes and others don’t,” said Samaras, detailing the goals of his research.

Injured in the Line of Duty

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Alongside Carl Young, Samaras was chasing an incredible tornado near Campo, Colo., in 2010 when a hailstone left his face badly bloodied. Samaras was no stranger to danger, and he was well aware of the perils of his profession.

A Storm Chasers Truck

Unsurprisingly, you can’t track twisters with any old ride. In 2010 Samaras gave TFLCar.com a tour of his beastly vehicle and the instruments he used to monitor storms. In a moment of tragic irony, Samaras said he would never risk his life or the lives of his team to chase a tornado. “I take responsibility for my crew’s safety,” he said.

Explosive South Dakota Tornado

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Samaras founded TWISTEX, Tactical Weather Instrumented Sampling in Tornadoes EXperiment, to help learn more about the raging storms. In May 2010, he was on hand for an EF-4 tornado in Bowdle, S.D., witnessing firsthand the destruction of high-voltage transmission towers.

Samaras Lived for Tornado Season

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In a 2004 interview with CNN’s Soledad O’Brien, Samaras explained why he chased storms and described the process of planting data-collecting probes in the path of tornadoes.