4:28pm PT by Kimberly Nordyke
Discovery Airing Tribute to 'Stormchasers' Stars Killed in Oklahoma Tornado
Discovery Channel is planning to pay tribute to the three Stormchasers stars who were killed during the recent Oklahoma storm.
Tim Samaras, Carl Young and Paul Samaras were killed while chasing a tornado in the city of El Reno, Okla., on Friday. To honor the trio, Discovery is planning to air an "enhanced episode" of Mile Wide Tornado: Oklahoma Disaster that will include highlights and special scenes of all three men. Mile Wide Tornado: Stormchasers Tribute will premiere at 10 p.m. ET/PT on Wednesday.
Tim Samaras, 55, founded tornado research unit Tactical Weather Instrumented Sampling Tornadoes Experiment (TWISTEX) and spent more than 20 years following storms. His career was spent intercepting storms, assessing their power and helping to further the research to advance tornado warning systems.
Young, 45, studied tornado dynamics and earned a master’s degree in atmospheric science from the University of Nevada, Reno. While attending a meteorological conference, Young met Samaras, who encouraged him to collect meteorological data from inside tornadoes as the principle focus of his research. Every spring since 2003, the duo chased storms together and tracked more than 125 tornadoes.
Samaras' son Paul, 24, had become TWISTEX's videographer, providing vivid details of the team's intercepts and research. He was also an accomplished photographer and shared his father’s zest for science and exploration.
Canadian County undersheriff Chris West told the Washington Post that the trio were traveling in a Chevrolet Cobalt driven by Tim Samaras that was found on an unimproved county road running parallel to Interstate 40. West said the car appeared to have been thrown and somersaulted for half a mile.
“It looks like it had gone through a trash compactor,” West told the Post. “The car was probably about 60 to 70 percent of its normal size because it had been pushed and mauled and compacted as it was tumbling down the road. Like wadded up."
The elder Samaras' body was found in the car, while the others were found half a mile from the car's location.
Tim's brother, Jim Samaras, posted a message on Facebook over the weekend.
"Thank you to everyone for the condolences," he wrote. "It truly is sad that we lost my great brother, Tim, and his great son, Paul. Our hearts also go out to the Carl Young family as well, as they are feeling the same feelings we are today."
Meanwhile, Discovery also dedicated Sunday's airing of the Oklahoma tornado special to the trio, with a message that read: "In memory of Tim Samaras, Carl Young and Paul Samaras, who died Friday, May 31st doing what they love, chasing storms."
In addition to providing highlights of the trio from Stormchasers, Wednesday's tribute special chronicles the May 20 EF5 tornado that traveled more than 17 miles and killed 24 people. The special uses in-depth interviews with scientists as well as data to show how the tornado formed, how it was different from a similar EF5 tornado that hit in the same area in 1999 and the role the warning system had in saving lives.
The tribute special is produced by Pioneer Productions, with Kirstie McLure and Robert Strange serving as executive producers. French Horwitz and Julie Meisner-Eagle executive produce for Discovery.