The Man Who Caught the Storm 🌪️ Book Review

Written by Thelonia

Tim Samaras was a storm chaser: a person who chases intense weather conditions for a variety of reasons, whether that be professional or recreational. For Samaras, it was a bit of both: a love of tornadoes turned to sponsored trips trying to set probes in the path of tornadoes to find out what happened in the heart of the vortex. In this well-researched biography, we find out not only about Samaras' life, but about tornadoes, the storm chasing community at large, and the dangers and high-points the job brings.

This is author Bran Hargrove's first book, an impressive feat considering the ability with which the story is not only woven but researched. Hargrove covers Samaras' entire life, from his start as a child taking apart electronics to his entry into meteorologic circles to becoming one of the most highly regarded tornado experts, and a self-taught engineer who got the data no one else was able to.

Near the midway point, I googled Tim's name to get an idea of what he looked like (there were several descriptions of him up until that point, but I am notoriously bad at internalizing descriptions on paper), and immediately learned more than I bargained for.

Spoilers from here till the end!!! 
It was on this google search that I saw images that explained that Tim Samaras, his son Paul, and his co-worker Carl Young were killed while chasing a 2013 Oklahoma Tornado which took 8 lives and became the largest recorded tornado in history. Once I learned this, the subsequent chapters, each covering a year in Tim's life, felt like a ticking clock. There were several passages that, knowing the end, really leaned on dramatic irony pretty hard.

While I personally had a hard time envisioning some of the 'action' scenes, it helped to look up videos of the storms. I was looking for episodes of Storm Chasers, and found this episode from the National Geographic channel on the 2013 El Reno tornado. It really helped to understand not only the path of the storm (I'm a very visual person, so reading about directional changes didn't help much), but also gave a face to the chasers I'd seen described on the pages of the book.

If you've ever found yourself interested in storms, or are at least curious about the type of person who would dedicate their lives to chasing them, definitely check this book. Not only does it cover both subjects thoroughly and in an interesting manner, it gives an inside look to arguably one of the most influential figures in the storm chasing community and whose contributions helped understand a natural phenomena better than we ever had before.

The Man Who Caught the Storm is available everywhere books are sold.

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