Opinion: Chasing Storms Is Dangerous—and Rewarding
Tim Samaras's death is a reminder that knowledge can be gained at a tragic cost.
That's why it's important at times like this to make an effort to sort things out. People chase storms for a variety of reasons, from thrill seeking to basic science. Some are out there to capture and sell weather videos. Others are guiding customers on adventure-oriented tours. Still others are government scientists, meteorologists hired by media outlets, or college kids or graduate students associated with university research programs.
When a twister makes news, the images we see on TV are often those captured by storm chasers, which gives us mixed emotions. Watching a vortex rip apart someone's farmhouse is both mesmerizing and horrifying—like watching a car crash. Those feelings are magnified when a tornado devastates a whole town.
It is easy to