“The Man Who Caught the Storm: The Life of Legendary Tornado Chaser Tim Samaras” by Brentley Hargrove, Simon and Schuster, 281 pages, $26.
Fellow readers who reside in Tornado Alley are familiar with the ear-splitting siren and ominous wall cloud which are harbingers of springtime in the Midwest. “The Man Who Caught the Storm” by Brantley Hargrove is the story of one of those unique individuals who seek, rather than fear, the deadly funnels which sweep across the Heartland each year.
Tim Samaras, featured on the reality television program on the Discovery Channel, “Storm Chasers,” was well known in the meteorological and scientific communities, attempting to understand and forecast the unpredictable storms. Samaras, his son, and a colleague became the first members of their dangerous profession killed by a tornado when they perished near Oklahoma City in 2013. This book traces the circuitous route that Samaras followed toward his ultimate fate.
Author Hargrove, a journalist, spent three years researching his first book, interviewing family, friends and associates engaged in this perilous endeavor to unlock weather mysteries. He even became a storm chaser himself and was a first-hand witness to the twin EF4 funnels which ravaged Pilger, Nebraska, in 2014.
In addition to providing insight into the climatic ingredients necessary to form the deadly weather phenomenon, Hargrove examines the psychologic factors that caused such an experienced storm chaser as Samaras to be destroyed by the monster he sought.
As a writer, Hargrove makes the reader feel the icy hailstones which precede the blast of wind and smell the lingering ozone. More importantly, he unravels the tragic tale of a man who, like Icarus, exceeded the boundaries of nature.