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Tornado Hunter’s First Video of the Year

Every spring, NG Emerging Explorer Tim Samaras zigzags across the American plains putting 25,000 miles on his vehicle chasing tornadoes. Several years ago Tim designed a “turtle” probe able to record the severe pressure drops inside a tornado that trigger the signature extreme wind speeds. “This information is especially crucial, because it provides data about...

Every spring, NG Emerging Explorer Tim Samaras zigzags across the American plains putting 25,000 miles on his vehicle chasing tornadoes.

Several years ago Tim designed a “turtle” probe able to record the severe pressure drops inside a tornado that trigger the signature extreme wind speeds. “This information is especially crucial, because it provides data about the lowest 10 meters of a tornado, where houses, vehicles, and people are,” Tim says. On the missions to deploy probes, he’s also sure to catch it all on camera.

Last weekend, on the first day chasing this year, Tim and his team recorded 1.5 hours of footage, chronicling more than a dozen twisters. In the video above, watch as one massive storm tracks across the Kansas plains and then shoots across the highway just ahead of the camera.

While conducting his research necessarily puts him regularly in harm’s way, Tim is always eager to get out and get to work, knowing that every new bit of knowledge might help others better prepare for these potentially devastating storms.

 

Learn More

Tornado Photos

Tornado Safety Tips

Tim Samaras, NG Emerging Explorer

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Meet the Author

Andrew Howley
Andrew Howley is a longtime contributor to the National Geographic blog, with a particular focus on archaeology and paleoanthropology generally, and ancient rock art in particular. In 2018 he became Communications Director at Adventure Scientists, founded by Nat Geo Explorer Gregg Treinish. Over 11 years at the National Geographic Society, Andrew worked in various ways to share the stories of NG explorers and grantees online. He also produced the Home Page of nationalgeographic.com for several years, and helped manage the Society's Facebook page during its breakout year of 2010. He studied Anthropology with a focus on Archaeology from the College of William & Mary in Virginia. He has covered expeditions with NG Explorers-in-Residence Mike Fay, Enric Sala, and Lee Berger. His personal interests include painting, running, and reading about history. You can follow him on Twitter @anderhowl and on Instagram @andrewjhowley.