Chasing Tornadoes and Superstorms

October 7, 2013 | 7pm | In the Albert
Approximate running time: TBD

Together with National Geographic, we are deeply saddened by the tragic death of Tim Samaras, his son Paul, and colleague Carl Young while researching severe storms in Oklahoma on May 31, 2013. We are working with representatives of National Geographic Live and will communicate with ticket holders of the "Chasing Tornados" presentation as soon as we have more information.

As expressed by Terry Garcia, Executive Vice President of Mission Programs, "Tim's death is an enormous loss for his family, his wide circle of friends and colleagues and National Geographic." For more information about Tim and his work, see National Geographic's Daily News feed

For more than two decades, Tim Samaras, a severe-storms researcher and National Geographic Explorer, has traveled across the Midwest in search of tornadoes.

More than just a tornado chaser, Samaras is also a scientist and inventor who designs and builds probes for accurately gathering wind speed and other critical data from twisters, and then risks his life to deploy them up-close, right in the path of these deadly storms. He has captured the closest video footage ever recorded inside a tornado’s center and measured the steepest drop in barometric pressure (100 millibars).

Samaras’ hair-raising adventures have a serious purpose. Since tornado warnings currently average a slim 13 minutes, every second counts in the race to prevent tragedy and save lives. A better understanding of these storms and how they form may provide residents of Tornado Alley and other storm-prone places on the planet a greater margin of safety when they appear on the horizon.

Samaras isn’t just sparring off with tornados, however. Extreme weather events like Hurricane Sandy and the Joplin Tornado that devastated the Missouri town in 2011 have occurred with alarming frequency in recent years. Understanding the factors that cause these frightening and destructive storms has become increasingly critical. Currently, Samaras is engaged in a National Geographic–supported research project to investigate these new super storms, including attempts to intercept “super typhoons” and hurricanes. In this riveting, up-to-the-minute presentation, Samaras will share his passion for weather of all kinds, dramatic footage from his adventures, and the potentially life-saving information he is risking his own life to obtain.

Photos
  • Chasing Tornadoes
    Tim Samaras with camera. Photo by Carsten Peter

  • Chasing Tornadoes
    Tim Samaras in lab with probe. Photo courtesy of Tim Samaras

  • Chasing Tornadoes
    Tim Samaras dropping a probe. Photo by Carsten Peter

  • Chasing Tornadoes
    Tim Samaras after dropping probe. Photo by Carsten Peter

  • Chasing Tornadoes
    Tornado, South Dakota. Photo by Carsten Peter

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