Tim Samaras to visit #stormtalk chat July 7th @ 9 PM CDT

Feel free to drop by and join us for an evening of chat with Tim Samaras tomorrow evening. Topics will range from his chasing experience to research. If you would like to ask him specific questions, please feel free to do so.

To join chat, go to:


Once there, wait until the server info stops scrolling up the screen, click "join", the enter #stormtalk.

If you use IRC, the network is slashnet.org and the room #stormtalk.

I figured this would be a good time to resume our special guest chats, now that the season is starting to wind down and boredom is setting in. I'll see if I can get something set up soon with a couple more guests who have expressed an interest in doing one of these chats with us.

Do not forget folks tonight at 10 PM EDT, 9 PM CDT, 8 PM MDT, 7 PM PDT
Tim Samaras will be in chat, this Thursday July 7, which is tonight.

I tried to get in but I'm an idiot and couldn't figure it out. If someone could post the text, like they did for Wurman, or let me know how I could read it please let me know.
Thanks again to Tim Samaras for his time, and to GeorgeT to setting this up; as well as the people who stopped by and contributed some really good questions. I've tried to bold all the questions and answers to help people sift through the log, so hopefully that will help.

[22:01:48] Guest92 is now known as TimSamaras
[22:01:56] <JoeG> Hello Tim
[22:01:57] <MikeH> I could have easily sat in that other room allnight and not known
[22:01:57] <ToddB> welcome
[22:01:57] <Kimtwister> welcome tim
[22:01:59] <@GeorgeT> good evening Tim
[22:02:01] <@CalebL> Welcome Mr. Samaras
[22:02:03] <RyanH> TimS
[22:02:03] <JoeG> Great to have you here
[22:02:09] <MikeH> hey Tim
[22:02:18] Joins: jasonm ([email protected]) [19 users]
[22:02:25] <TimSamaras> Thanks for inviting me...I'm humbled you guys asked.
[22:02:34] <JoeG> Its our pleasure
[22:02:37] <@CalebL> We're honored to have you
[22:02:44] <Kimtwister> nice to meeet yu tim
[22:03:00] <jasonm> absolutley, nice to have ya here
[22:03:06] <TimSamaras> Its great to see lots of folks on tonight
[22:04:15] <@GeorgeT> Tim, how would you prefer doing this? Just field questions or would you prefer we moderate it?
[22:04:18] <TimSamaras> Indeed, but there are a few nuggets out there for the diehards!
[22:04:42] <TimSamaras> Whatever folks would like to do is fine with me. I would be happy to field questions
[22:04:59] <jasonm> Tim, what is next for you now that the probe deployment was a teriffic success?
[22:04:59] <@GeorgeT> ok, I think the group size is manageable
[22:05:24] <ChrisK> Tim, this is Chris Kridler. I was wondering what you experienced May 12 after we ran into you at the gas station. Did you deploy any probes in the Lone Star/South Plains tornado?
[22:06:05] <TimSamaras> jasonm-actually, I'm making some improvements to address the opacity issue of viewing small debris within tornado cores. I plan to use some laser illumniation along with high resolution photography to map small debris
[22:06:38] <@GeorgeT> laser illumination....now that sounds interesting
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[22:06:45] <JoeG> Very interesting
[22:06:47] <Kimtwister> interesting
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[22:07:18] <TimSamaras> Hi Chris! We got in tight with the tornado that formed, but the tornado wrap around the precip, made a circular track, and it simply got too dangerous to charge into the path. We got our share of hail that evening, but it was a wild night
[22:07:20] <MikeH> be some interesting video when the tornado you are filming starts projecting lazers outward!
[22:08:08] <@GeorgeT> hehe
[22:08:12] <ChrisK> Yeah, we were nailed by hail, too, trying to avoid becoming tornado probes. :) How would your laser probes work? scanning a given area?
[22:08:19] <MikeH> was there any decent chance with the June 9 Hill City tornado?
[22:08:35] <Kimtwister> tim what possessed you to do this study on the probes ?
[22:08:58] <TimSamaras> MikeH-Indeed, I actually got to try several ideas in the tornado simulator at ISU just before the Iowa conference. By passing single frequency light, I can add a bandpass filter on the front to eliminate daytime exposure to just capture the particles. So....if the tornadoes start turning green next year...you will know who to blame
[22:09:24] <MikeH> lol ok
[22:09:56] <MikeH> I'll take green....hell after this year any color will work
[22:09:59] <JoeG> Uh-Oh
[22:10:03] <Zorm> On the subject of the probes, what are the sensors used? are they something that everyday people can buy? How much did the probes cost to build? and do you have any other juicy techical specs someplace?
[22:10:38] Joins: mizzouwxman ([email protected]) [23 users]
[22:10:46] <TimSamaras> MikeH-Gosh...June 9...wow what a day! We came within 100 yards of the first significant tornado..and just about to barrel down to deploy, but the road was simply mush, and only wide enough for one vehicle...did not have enough room to turn around in an emergency, so I made the decision to NOT go in
[22:11:02] Quits: WesNSpace ([email protected]) (Quit: PJIRC forever!)
[22:11:13] <JoeG> good move
[22:11:21] Quits: jasonm ([email protected]) (Ping timeout)
[22:11:38] <JoeG> Always have an escape plan
[22:11:45] <Kimtwister> agree
[22:11:55] <TimSamaras> Zorm-Actually the pressure sensors are inexpensive Motorola units, but its the shape of the probe is the key for ACCURATE pressure measurements in high winds
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[22:12:48] CalebL sets mode: +o SK
[22:12:49] <Zorm> ah
[22:13:45] <MikeH> was the Webb IA pressure drop significant at all?
[22:14:04] <TimSamaras> When one puts an object out in free space, the winds flowing over the device will affect the pressure reading. One must find an exact location where the winds will have minimal effect. We found that along the surface, about 2/3 up, the pressure equals the true static pressure! We validated this in the wind tunnel at the University of Washington Kirsten wind tunnel where we tested the probe at 200+ mph
[22:14:34] <@CalebL> That's fascinating
[22:14:57] <Kimtwister> i have a ??
[22:15:26] <TimSamaras> MikeH- Ah...the Webb tornado. Unfortunately I deployed two pressure probes to the south, and the tornado came within 25 and 35 fee respectively, but STILL measured a 20 and a 35 millibar pressure drop. Still excellent dataset even if we didn't get a direct hit
[22:15:27] <@GeorgeT> shoot Kim
[22:15:36] <Kimtwister> ddo u think that in the near future we will build body armour to actually be in the path of a oncomming tornado
[22:16:04] <JoeG> Tim, after you retrieved the data from the probes in the aftermath of the Manchester, SD Tornado, how did you feel when you saw those pictures af a tornado being so close?
[22:16:06] <@GeorgeT> That sounds like a job for the engineers at Second Chance!
[22:16:09] <jasonm> sorry to ask a question and run Tim, I lost my connection. Someone pasted me your answer and I truly look forward to seeing how that turns out.
[22:16:52] <TimSamaras> Kimtwister-Actually, I'm not so sure that something like that is practicle. If one were to "hang on" in 200+ mph winds, there isn't much that body armour can do to help you if you got hit with a 500 pound object
[22:17:11] <Kimtwister> yea
[22:17:44] <Kimtwister> cuz my dad was wondering about the possibility of actually going into one
[22:18:01] <mizzouwxman> Tim, do you forsee a time where you decide not to deploy the probe because a tornado is too strong? I would imagine there has to be threshold somewhere were safety become a factor.
[22:18:56] <TimSamaras> JoeG-A very good question. I had four other people with me at the time I dropped probe #3 in the path of the Manchester tornado, that I was entirely focussed with the logistics and the job at hand, that I really didn't get to watch the tornado. Certainly, I knew where it was, but I had the responsibility to keep my crew safe..and the way to do that is to be entirely focussed on routes, roads, and the overal mission
[22:19:23] <TimSamaras> Kimtwister-I hope that I can convince your dad in NOT doing it!
[22:19:31] <Kimtwister> very good footage timthat was phenomenal
[22:19:37] <Kimtwister> ok
[22:19:39] <MikeH> LOL!
[22:19:44] <mizzouwxman> LOL.....
[22:19:51] <@GeorgeT> I have a question about the probes. As far as shape, is aerodynamics important, as far as allowing them to stand up against the high wind speeds?
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[22:20:35] <Zorm> along with George's question, does it depend on size or could the probes be made larger?
[22:21:06] <TimSamaras> mizzouwxman-Indeed, safety is the number one concern (believe it or not), and is a factor of roads and the safety margin that I watch, rather than the violence of the torando. I would love to deploy in a violent tornado, as I expect the pressure drop to be close to -135 millibars for an F5 (depending on several factors of course).
[22:22:10] <MikeH> Manchester seemed like it could have been F5 in actuallity...at least the "rope" seemed amazingly intense
[22:22:22] <@GeorgeT> BTW Tim, we don't want you to type until your fingers hurt, so take as much time as you need between questions
[22:22:28] <TimSamaras> Zorm-actually, I would like to have them as small as possible, as they would represent the minimal amount of surface area. My met probes are 20" in diameter, and my photo probes are close to 30" in diameter and weight close to 85 pounds.
[22:22:30] <mizzouwxman> Tim, saw your footage in Denver at the NSCC. It's obvious you are very safety conscious which I admire. Hope you can hook up safely with an F5 (preferably one that's in the middle of a cornfield in KS... LOL)
[22:23:08] <TimSamaras> GeorgeT-No problem so far!
[22:23:47] <@GeorgeT> ok
[22:23:58] <mizzouwxman> Tim, missed the first few minutes so I apologize if this has already been addressed. What improvments do you plan in the future for the probes (without giving away trade secrets, of course)
[22:24:18] <TimSamaras> MikeH-Indeed, the vortex really wrapped up when it shrank. We were only a minute or two from actaully going into the town of Manchester and dropping probes right in the town. Again...called it off due to safety
[22:25:14] <Prof_Baroclinicity> Tim in your opinion does tornado intensity correlate to the extreme pressure drop or do you believe there are other factors involved?
[22:25:35] <TimSamaras> mizzouwxman-Thanks. Again..its not just me out there..its the brave crew thats with me that I drive to keep safe
[22:25:57] <mizzouwxman> Tim, need any help next year???? ;-)
[22:27:09] <TimSamaras> Prof_Baroclinicity-Indeed, an extreme pressure drop means a strong tornado, but also the RATE of pressure drop is also a factor of wind speed. The faster the rate...the stronger the winds become for the atmosphere trying to "equalize' out
[22:27:14] <Kimtwister> i would love to help since i have apssion for tornadoes
[22:27:25] <Kimtwister> ooops
[22:27:29] <Kimtwister> passion
[22:27:53] <MesoDDC> TimS: "MasterChaser" from Dodge saying hi... just lurking at this time... Your former Nikon did quite well this season ;-)
[22:27:59] Quits: ewhitehill ([email protected]) (Quit: Leaving)
[22:28:30] <TimSamaras> Actually, as one can understand...I am very carefull on who goes out with me, as one can imagine...needs to be clear thinking in times of critical moments!
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[22:28:40] <JoeG> yeah
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[22:28:57] <TimSamaras> Hi Mike!- Man, I saw some of your imagery...WOW! I love your fire whirl shots!
[22:29:07] <JoeG> Last thing you need is someone who breaks under pressure
[22:29:12] <JoeG> ;)
[22:29:16] <mizzouwxman> Absolutely.... life and death situation is no time to break down...
[22:29:32] <MesoDDC> Thanks Tim... what an interesting little event that was... will probably write a submission for "photo of the month" in MWR or WAF
[22:30:00] <JoeG> Gee, my chasing is boring, I only have been stuck under a meso once :-D
[22:30:13] <JoeG> was scary though
[22:30:36] <Kimtwister> same here joe
[22:30:44] <TimSamaras> May 12th was a good example...we started getting clobbered with baseballs being driven at 80+ mph, and we simply made a few wise choices and got out of the way..and escaped with only a broken windshield and a few dents
[22:31:00] <Kimtwister> wow owch
[22:31:11] <@CalebL> Close call
[22:31:12] <TimSamaras> I only broke 3 windshields this year. The places I go...I fully expect gorilla hail
[22:31:18] <@GeorgeT> lol
[22:31:21] <Kimtwister> lol
[22:31:22] <JoeG> yeah, baseball size, your lucky not to total the vehicle
[22:31:36] <@GeorgeT> this was a rather bad year for windshields it seems
[22:31:40] <@CalebL> Have you considered a windshield guard of sorts? Seems like it'd be handy in your line of research
[22:31:40] <SA> I only broke two, but both were the same day
[22:31:45] <Kimtwister> yea it was gt
[22:31:59] <@GeorgeT> lol
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[22:32:16] <MikeH> what is the mileage tally this year Tim?
[22:32:19] <Kimtwister> bullet proof windsheild
[22:32:22] <TimSamaras> I _JUST_ got the geek mobile finished for this season...and am considering a shield for next year.
[22:32:22] <@GeorgeT> Hi Sarah
[22:32:27] <@CalebL> Cool
[22:32:32] <Sarah> Hi, George
[22:32:34] <Kimtwister> hi sarah
[22:32:40] <Sarah> kim
[22:32:57] <TimSamaras> MikeH- I believe the mileage was 28,000 miles and 15 states
[22:33:02] <MikeH> yeesh
[22:33:03] <@CalebL> Mercy
[22:33:05] <Sarah> wow
[22:33:06] <Kimtwister> geeez
[22:33:08] <@GeorgeT> whoa
[22:33:09] <Kimtwister> wow
[22:33:16] <Kimtwister> loooooooon ride
[22:33:27] <MikeH> figured it was up there...I'd go insane by, well, 15k
[22:33:38] <Sarah> isn't that somewhere around the circumference of the earth??
[22:33:38] <JoeG> lol
[22:33:51] <SA> and then 3000 more
[22:33:57] <SA> 4000 rather
[22:33:58] <@GeorgeT> hehe
[22:34:03] <TimSamaras> It really helps to have a very comfortable vehicle. May was a real downer..in fact, May 12,13 were the only real hilites of the month
[22:34:30] <JoeG> wow
[22:34:31] <Sarah> what kind of vehicle, tim?
[22:34:38] <JoeG> sure was quiet
[22:34:45] <MikeH> I have a dumb dumb question, but a real easy one....do you have stickers all over your new truck?
[22:34:57] <Kimtwister> lol mike
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[22:35:49] <glen_r> Tim - so I know you have plans to incorporate photogrammetry in the future - and maybe this is where the earlier talk of lasers comes into play - but what progress have you made in this arena? Seems knowing the exact size and distance of objects blowing by would be tough to know.
[22:36:01] <TimSamaras> I just acquired a 2003 GMC truck..and MikeH...it does have stickers all over it. It started out innocent enough as I inquired about getting a winch for the new truck...and got to talkin' and he found out what I did...he contacted an off-road magazine..and offered free stuff. I just couldn't refuse!
[22:36:17] <@CalebL> Not enough people have winches on their vehicles
[22:36:29] <@CalebL> Good add-on
[22:36:40] <MikeH> ok, cool....I knew Warren's did and then I swore I saw the "
[22:36:48] <MikeH> same" ride but with CO tags and stickers
[22:37:03] <JoeG> ah
[22:37:08] <MikeH> had been wondering a while if I was really seeing the CO tags
[22:37:13] <JoeG> I got a little one, a 2002 CRV
[22:37:19] <Kimtwister> how many stormchase freinds to u have tim?
[22:37:54] <TimSamaras> glen_r-I actually built another photo probe exactly like last year, and we plan to deploy these within 10 feet or so to get stereo photogrammetry. This way, we can do some fancy triangulation on debris to help with distances...which is very tough with just one camera
[22:38:57] <SA> I would love to see that work.....finally put to rest all this F-scale debate
[22:39:11] <JoeG> yeah
[22:39:11] <@GeorgeT> This must require a pretty sizable crew, to set up, maintain and to analyze all the data gathered.
[22:39:25] <@GeorgeT> very technical
[22:39:27] <TimSamaras> Kimtwister-I've been chasing for close to 20+ years...probably dropping probes the last 4-5 years...got to know quite a few great chasers I admire..alot of them are on this board tonight.
[22:39:52] <Kimtwister> coool
[22:40:07] <JoeG> settling the F-scale debate would be great
[22:40:13] * Kimtwister 15 yrs here<
[22:40:22] <SA> I'm a believer in the estimations being "reasonable"
[22:40:38] <SA> I don't know that I belive top-end windspeeds are only 175pmh give or take 5-10
[22:40:48] * JoeG chasing before I could drive<
[22:41:01] <JoeG> (Hail on bike=bad)
[22:41:16] <TimSamaras> GeorgeT-The data analysis is very time consuming. We are preparing a refereed article from the Manchester event for submission..and unfortunately, I have to dig deep for time to work on them. I did have an intern from TTU help me for four months last spring..she was a great help!
[22:41:50] <@GeorgeT> very neat
[22:42:02] <Kimtwister> thats great
[22:42:11] <@GeorgeT> we have quite a few met majors and tech students among our group
[22:42:24] <@GeorgeT> so I'm sure finding some volunteers wouldn't be too difficult
[22:42:28] <@GeorgeT> if you were to need them
[22:42:31] <JoeG> no
[22:42:37] <Sarah> :)
[22:42:45] <Kimtwister> definetly
[22:42:50] <Sarah> agreed.
[22:43:03] <MikeH> Is the Colorado party in Colorado again this year?
[22:43:03] <Kimtwister> i wouldnt mind
[22:44:09] <TimSamaras> Ah..the F-scale debate! Well, I can tell you that one of the main points of the proposed Vortex-II project is to study the low level windfields of tornadoes. This area..which is describe as the lowest 10 meters of the tornado remains the most difficult area to measure/observe. Josh's and Howie's radar cannot get down to ground level to measure the windfield...so certainly my approach is to make DIRECT measurements within the
[22:44:59] <TimSamaras> The National Storm Chasers Convention is a GO for next year! Roger and I must choose a date for it
[22:45:09] <MikeH> cool
[22:45:10] <Sarah> where will it be held, do you know?
[22:45:27] <@CalebL> If anyone wants to see what Tim's truck looks like (photo by Graham Butler): http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v231/D-D...eather/tims.jpg
[22:45:30] <Kimtwister> awesome
[22:45:51] <TimSamaras> We're fairly certain that we will have in in DEN again...we just had too may compliments on the location
[22:45:56] <JoeG> nice ride Tim
[22:46:05] <Sarah> denver is a good location.
[22:46:19] <Kimtwister> great chase vehicle
[22:46:22] <MikeH> oh that isn't an exterra is it?
[22:46:27] <TimSamaras> JoeG-Thanks.....I'm allowed to pull off the stickers now
[22:46:30] <@CalebL> GMC truck, H
[22:46:33] <@GeorgeT> lol
[22:46:37] <Kimtwister> lol tim
[22:46:38] <@CalebL> Sierra I believe
[22:46:38] <MikeH> I'm an idiot
[22:47:30] <TimSamaras> Actually...its a Denali...and it was chosen because it has four wheel steering...Quadrasteer. I have the turning radius of a Honda...for obvious reasons..
[22:47:41] <MikeH> nice
[22:47:48] <@CalebL> That's very cool
[22:47:50] <mizzouwxman> Tim, what kind of turnaround time do you have for the probes. In other words, are you able to intercept on consecutive days if conditions warrant?
[22:47:51] <Kimtwister> awesome
[22:47:58] <@CalebL> I couldn't tell if it was that or an extended cab with a cap
[22:48:00] <MikeH> I need to get me an awd very soon
[22:48:29] <@GeorgeT> AWD, with a winch, sounds like a great vehicle.
[22:48:40] <Kimtwister> BRB
[22:48:51] <Prof_Baroclinicity> Tim, in had no clue that truck is yours. I saw you while chasing probably 10 times this year and didn't even know it was you
[22:49:21] <TimSamaras> mizzouwxman-Good question. The met probes internal memory can hold up to 12 deployments. The recorder runs for 2 hours and the electronics shut down to conserve batteries. The video probes are a different story. It takes a few hours to dissasemble them to pull the tapes, and reload for the next day
[22:49:26] <Kimtwister> back
[22:49:50] <TimSamaras> CalebL-Its an extended cab with a shell and a Geek rack on the top
[22:50:02] <@CalebL> Ah ha
[22:50:11] <@CalebL> It's quite difficult to tell from that angle of the shot
[22:50:19] <Sarah> caleb's the car maniac of the group. lol
[22:50:47] <Kimtwister> hehe
[22:50:53] <ewhitehill> Tim, were you able to deploy any on June 26th of this year?
[22:51:19] <JoeG> Tim, I remember the Steel camera probe that the National Geograpic Photographer used on the Manchester storm, has that, or will it ever be used again?
[22:51:32] <ewhitehill> And also, it was a pleasure meeting you face to face that night at the gas station in north dakota :)
[22:52:05] <MikeH> I saw you guys then...I think...gordon or something?
[22:52:48] <TimSamaras> ewhitehill-Not the 26th, but June 12th. We deployed twice, but the tornado lifted as it went over my probes, and only measured a 5 millibar drop. We were very close to the tornado..and called Wurman to let him know that we had a "visual" on the tornado...and he vectored the TIV in for a direct hit just before the tornado dissipated
[22:52:50] <ewhitehill> MikeH: me? or someone else
[22:53:07] <ewhitehill> Tim: Very cool - thanks for the info!
[22:53:36] <mizzouwxman> Tim, given the large group required for deployment, do you have specific criteria before you'll head out? If so, can you elaborate on that?
[22:53:42] <TimSamaras> We deployed again in a rain-wrapped tornado, but the tornado lifted before passage
[22:53:44] <MikeH> assuming you both at a 24hr stop
[22:53:50] <Sarah> here's a stupid question, tim, but where are you from?
[22:54:28] <ewhitehill> Mike: I believe so. I drive a white chevy malibu, with North Dakota plates.
[22:54:47] <MikeH> extreme se SD?
[22:54:50] <MikeH> err NE
[22:54:51] <MikeH> ND
[22:54:52] <MikeH> damn it
[22:54:56] <ewhitehill> Yup.
[22:54:59] <ewhitehill> West of fargo
[22:55:43] <TimSamaras> mizzouwxman-We have anywhere from 2 to 4 people with us. This year we had a NatGeo still photographer with us, along with a TV crew out for a couple of weeks..but not a big crew. I look for the same great things everyone else looks for..shear, moisture, cape, etc. One thing that I DO stay home is if we have northwest flow at 500 mb.
[22:56:06] <TimSamaras> Sarah-I was born and raised in Denver, CO...and still here!
[22:56:10] <jasonm> Tim, you mentioned the proposed VORTEX 2 project, do you anticipate participating in that?
[22:56:14] <Sarah> wicked!
[22:57:17] <Kimtwister> tim do u have a family and kids if so do uplan to educated tem in your interests?
[22:57:32] <TimSamaras> jasonm-The VORTEX-II project, unfortunately has been put on hold for one year. NSF did not have the funding available to get it started this year. So, IF its funded next year, the thinking is the fielding years would be '09 and '09
[22:57:54] <TimSamaras> And...I have to write a proposal for my effort and hope it gets accepted
[22:58:11] <MikeH> lol, I love nw flow....or used to
[22:58:27] <@GeorgeT> It's interesting VORTEX II has been mentioned. A couple of our previous guest chatters (ErikRas, Dr. Wurman and Dr. Scala) may also be participating in that, whenever it gets underway.
[22:58:28] <jasonm> I see, thats too bad the funding got delayed.
[22:58:32] <TimSamaras> Kimtwister- Yep...been married for 24 years, and have three kids..two daughters in college and a son in high school
[22:58:46] <Prof_Baroclinicity> Tim: Chasing not included....How many weeks each year are you on the road giving presentations?
[22:58:48] <Kimtwister> well congrats
[22:58:49] <@CalebL> Good luck on that, Tim
[22:59:41] <Kimtwister> does yer wife think we are all crazy fer our passions for severe weather??
[22:59:47] <JoeG> Tim, sorry if you saw this already, but I remember the Steel camera probe that the National Geograpic Photographer used on the Manchester storm, has that, or will it ever be used again?
[23:00:01] <TimSamaras> Prof-Actually, this was my busiest year for presentations. I love to talk about my passion
[23:00:38] <Prof_Baroclinicity> Its seemed like everywhere there was a conference you were there....I was just wondering
[23:00:57] <TimSamaras> Kimtwister- My wife is VERY tolerant of my chasing. When I finish chasing..I'm busy doing all of her "honey-do" lists that have accumulated
[23:02:28] <TimSamaras> Certainly important to keep a balance (yea..right Tim!) with family..job and chasing.
[23:03:03] <TimSamaras> Kathy is an ESL (Engish as a Secondary Language) tutor. She has the summer off
[23:04:48] <Kimtwister> tim have u met the pioneeer of stormchasing david hoadley?
[23:05:49] <TimSamaras> Kimtwister- Yes, I've invited him out to the Denver conference on several occasions. We just ran into him in SW Minnesota about a week ago.
[23:06:58] <JoeG> Tim, how hard is it to retrieve the probes after a storm?
[23:08:04] <TimSamaras> JoeG-Sometimes its extremely difficult to find them..even if they are painted orange, because the landscape changes significantly after tonrado passage. More often than not..we have to resort to GPS for their location
[23:09:03] <Zorm> any plans to add a microphone to the probes so that we can hear the sounds of the
farm equipment flying by?

[23:09:32] <JoeG> Had a feeling, but another question, if the GPS is in the probe, why is it used as a last resort?
[23:09:35] <@GeorgeT> I'm sure a 200 mph corn picker would make a distinctive sound
[23:09:47] <JoeG> lol
[23:09:51] <Zorm> you'd hope :p
[23:10:41] <ToddB> Tim, is there a max. wind speed that will cause the probe to shift its course? What can it handle without moving?
[23:10:53] <TimSamaras> Zorm- Actually, each of my camera probes has six microphones on them. One can actually hear passage of debris from one side to the next. I'm afraid that picking out the sound of farm equipment would be tough, as there is debris moving along at 100+ mph within inches of the microphones..so its tough!
[23:12:42] <@GeorgeT> Tim, do you have any interest in tropical systems? Looks like we have a Cat 4 moving into Cuba as we speak. Think you might ever try using some of this equipment in a hurricane?
[23:12:43] <Zorm> ah neat
[23:12:53] <TimSamaras> We have only tested the probes to 200 mph near the ground. Based on our wind tunnel data..and the load cell (a device that measures vertical physical pressure) mounted under the probe..shows that the higher the wind...the more downward force on the probe..in other words...more wind...more vertical pressure
[23:14:06] <TimSamaras> I would love to run down for a hurricane! Problem is, that I've seriously burned my kitchen pass out in June, so I will likely sit out Dennis. Someday I would like to do it.
[23:14:30] <JoeG> would be interesting
[23:14:59] <MikeH> if the central pressure of the tornado is lower would it not matter about that vertical pressure?...I know this was mentioned before as mattering, but I guess I'm wondering how that works.
[23:15:27] <Prof_Baroclinicity> Tim do you have any problems with people trying to follow you when chasing?
[23:16:26] <MikeH> I guess the unknown would be the problem...if the probe was not right in the middle....I'd almost think you could build at some size and shape that it would equal what the pressure/wind increase ratio is
[23:16:30] <MikeH> if that makes any sense
[23:18:05] <TimSamaras> MikeH-We were concerned about the pressure change on the outside of the probe Vs under the probe causing a lifting action. We found that the pressure change rate was so slow that the change in pressure was able to equalize out..and therefore was discounted as a concern. It is the windspeed that I worry about...I purposly deploy on a gravel road so that the edges dig in the dirt just a bit.
[23:19:23] <JoeG> So its basically like an electronic frisbee of sorts ;)
[23:19:35] <MikeH> I don't understand well enough how exactly something measures pressure, so I should stop wondering
[23:19:53] <@GeorgeT> me either
[23:19:58] <MikeH> but yeah I get the concern about the probe being lifted
[23:20:29] <TimSamaras> MikeH-Yes, there are lots of unknowns within a tornado core. The one I worry about is the vertical wind motion within the core. What is the velocity? How close to the ground do the winds start to turn vertical? These are questions, that someday, hope to have an answer.
[23:20:41] Joins: jaredsask ([email protected]) [26 users]
[23:20:49] <MikeH> ah
[23:22:05] <JoeG> Tim, Do you think, with the data from multiple probes, you could, in theory, map the anatomy of a tornado?
[23:24:58] <TimSamaras> JoeG-Within reason, its possible with enough data collected that we can provide input to computer models that create tornadoes, that was not available before. This would create a more accurate representation of a tornado. Lewellan et al, has some excellent papers on his work of tornado simulations.
[23:25:05] <Prof_Baroclinicity> TIm...hypothetically I would believe the vertical motion would have to start very close to the surface...any comments?
[23:27:12] <TimSamaras> Prof- Yes, Lewellan's simulations do show the vertical motion close to the ground..but how close? I would have to think that the local terrain has a great deal to do with this, as we're dealing with microscale variables here. I'm hoping to provide visualization to help answer this question
[23:28:10] <MikeH> Have you encountered much ear popping?
[23:28:41] <MikeH> all these years and I've just now wondered about this....I'll have to get closer
[23:29:37] <JoeG> well Tim, its been a real pleasure, but unfortunately I have to go. Hope you'll come chat again some time, I know I'd be honored to speak with you again :)
[23:30:12] <TimSamaras> Mike-Excellent question. I've looked at the pressure levels within seconds after I deploy. It only changes a millibar or so..and in some cases..actually rises slightly before tornado passage. This is why these tornado alarms (Griffin tornado alarms, etc.) wouldn't work. By the time one detects the pressure drop..its too late.
[23:30:36] <TimSamaras> JoeG-It was a pleasure
[23:30:41] <jaredsask> a great suggestion was made to me a while back, not sure if its ever been tried, but I think we need radar images that show several levels of precip from the ground up for a 3D image, and yes my ears always pop during tornadic storms
[23:30:43] <MikeH> yeah figured you'd have to be quite close
[23:31:13] <Prof_Baroclinicity> Tim do you think the vertical motion would start lower in tornadoes with greater intensity or a greater pressure drop and even though this is mentioned as microscale. Could this lowering in the vertical motion point affect the damage that a tornado does?
[23:31:23] <MikeH> what was the time span on that rapid drop from manchester?
[23:32:40] <TimSamaras> jaredsask-We talked about deploying radars in probes..but the issue is the beamwidth that one gets with a small dish/horn..very poor resolution, plus the wavelength/return time would be too fast..plus the issue of data storage..gets really expensive
[23:33:39] <jaredsask> what about a permenant tower with radars at different levels
[23:34:25] <MikeH> Harper Co. KS
[23:34:34] <@GeorgeT> I remember either ErikRas or Josh Wurman mentioning the use of remotely piloted vehicles in the future VORTEX II research. Any plans for you to test any of this technology out?
[23:35:45] <Zorm> ah that reminds me, Aviation Week has a good article on NOAAs UAV that I need to finish reading
[23:36:01] <TimSamaras> Prof-I think that there are so many "types" of tornadoes with different swirl ratios that this would be a tough question to answer. The vertical motion appears to change during the life cycle of a tornado as well. Certainly, we need to collect more data to validate different vertical motion
[23:37:24] <TimSamaras> jaredsask- It would help- That is the point of Josh's "Rapid-DOW"--several radar scans sweeping at once to eliminate the time domain issue of one beam sweeping at different levels.
[23:38:27] <TimSamaras> GeorgeT-I would love to give the RPVs a try. I'm curious to know how well they will do in such a violent environment.
[23:38:48] <JoeG> Tim, what is the average time that you take to stop, set a probe down, and get moving again?
[23:39:48] <TimSamaras> JoeG-Actually, during the Manchester event, it took 5 seconds to get out, reach for a probe, turn it on, drop it, and jump back in. My probes turn on with just one switch.
[23:40:17] <JoeG> thats really surprising
[23:40:24] <Zorm> Ever forgotten to turn a probe on?
[23:40:27] <JoeG> very cool
[23:41:06] <TimSamaras> Zorm-I worry about that all the time---my worst nightmare!
[23:43:59] <TimSamaras> Looks like its getting a bit quiet...any last questions before I turn in for the evening? I'm a "early to bed" kind of guy.
[23:44:14] <@GeorgeT> hehe
[23:44:20] <JoeG> heheheh
[23:44:29] <@GeorgeT> Tim, thanks a nlot for stopping by tonight
[23:44:34] <JoeG> Yeah
[23:44:35] <@GeorgeT> you were a question answering machine
[23:44:46] <MikeH> I can't think of any...it was nice chatting with ya Tim...maybe see you in CO in Feb'ish
[23:44:47] <@GeorgeT> very interesting discussion
[23:44:47] <JoeG> and like I said, feel free to come back anytime
[23:44:48] <@CalebL> Thank you very much for your time Mr. Samaras
[23:44:56] <Zorm> Indeed, thank you very much Tim
[23:44:58] <jasonm> Tim, it was great chatting with you. Thanks for coming!
[23:45:00] <@CalebL> You answered a lot of good questions
[23:45:03] <@GeorgeT> also, feel free to drop in anytime
[23:45:09] <@GeorgeT> we hang out here most nights
[23:45:11] <mizzouwxman> Tim, thanks for taking the time to answer my questions. Hope to see you next year again in Denver....
[23:45:12] <JoeG> Tim, thanks for anwering all of the questions
[23:45:28] <Kimtwister> yea tim cocme back again was really nice to meet yu
[23:45:28] <TimSamaras> Thanks for inviting me this evening! I love talking about something that I'm very passionate about.
[23:45:28] <Prof_Baroclinicity> Thanks Tim
[23:45:36] <@CalebL> It was our pleasure
[23:45:42] <JoeG> me too Tim, me too
[23:46:00] <MikeH> best of luck in and around CO yet this year...given it isn't quite done yet
[23:46:05] Parts: MikeH ([email protected]) [23 users]
[23:46:11] <Kimtwister> good luck tim
[23:46:12] Quits: jasonm ([email protected]) (Quit:)
[23:46:13] <jaredsask> cheers Tim
[23:46:21] <@CalebL> Good luck with all future endeavors, Tim
[23:46:41] <charlesk> thanks Tim, and good luck chasing
[23:46:49] <TimSamaras> Thanks!
[23:46:53] Quits: TimSamaras
That was a very interesting discussion. A big thanks to Tim for answering question after question for over an hour and a half.