tim samaras video

At 2:23 pm on June 11, 2004, severe storm researcher Tim Samaras captured something on video no one had ever seen before: the inside of a tornado. 

Samaras designed a special “probe” outfitted with cameras and an audio recorder, built to stay put in a twister. Along with two colleagues, he chased down a tornado near Storm Lake, Iowa and placed the probe directly in its path. In the Museum’s special exhibition, Nature’s Fury: The Science of Natural Disasters, visitors can step into a room surrounded by Samaras’ footage, and stand in the still eye of a roaring tornado.

Learn more about Nature’s Fury, closing August 9!

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Tornadoes get their start from thunderstorms, and the central United States is a perfect thunderstorm factory because it has just what they need to get started: warm, humid air colliding with cool, dry air. These conditions spawn more than 600 tornadoes, on average, in the United States every year.

At 2:23 pm on June 11, 2004, severe storms researcher Tim Samaras captured something on video no one ever had before: the inside of a tornado.

Samaras designed a special “probe” outfitted with cameras and an audio recorder and built to stay put in a twister. Along with two colleagues, he chased down a tornado near Storm Lake, Iowa, and placed the probe directly in its path.

Catching the inside of a roaring twister on video may sound exciting (or crazy), but it isn’t for thrills. By analyzing the video frame by frame, researchers can do something never successfully done before: calculate wind speeds in the bottom 30 feet (10 meters) of a tornado, where the damage happens.

In the special exhibition Nature’s Fury: The Science of Natural Disasters, visitors can step into Samaras’ groundbreaking footage and witness a tornado as it passes directly overhead. Learn more about this exhibition