SAN FRANCISCO
06/03/2013 08:00 am ET Updated Aug 03, 2013

Carl Young, Lake Tahoe Community College Professor, Killed In Oklahoma Tornado

AP

One of the three storm-chasing researchers killed by a twister near Oklahoma City last week had strong ties to the South Lake Tahoe community.

Carl Young, 45, was killed along with fellow researcher, Tim Samaras, 54, and his son, Paul Samaras, 24, were killed while tracking an EF-3 tornado on Friday.

Young and the elder Samaras were veteran researchers, as well as having been featured on Storm Chasers, a reality television series on the Discovery Channel. The series ran for five seasons before being canceled about a year ago.

Young was a former program manager for 5 years at the League to Save Lake Tahoe. A statement from the organization noted that Young was passionate about the Lake Tahoe environment and meteorological research.

"Carl was particularly concerned about climate change at the lake, and worked tirelessly to advocate for including climate change as a factor in determining policy here," read the League statement.

Young taught geology at Lake Tahoe Community College, according to a posting on the college website. The LTCC Board of Trustees named him Distinguished Alumni in 2010 for his accomplishments in his field and impact on the Tahoe region.

"I will miss seeing him around the college, and our students will miss having him as a teacher," said Bruce Armbrust, a member of the college faculty. "My only solace (which isn't much), is that he died doing what he loved and that his research on tornadoes has and will continue to help others."

The Discovery Channel also lamented the loss of the Young and the other two storm chasers. Young's Discovery Channel biography said that in 2000, after working on Hollywood film crews, he went to the Great Plains to view tornadoes.

He ended up seeing a dozen twisters, which led him to study tornado dynamics and earn a Masters degree in atmospheric science from the University of Nevada, Reno. He met Tim Samaras at a weather conference.

According to the bio, it was Samaras who encouraged him to collect data from inside tornadoes as the main focus of his thesis.

Every spring since 2003, Young, along with the elder Samaras, went looking for twisters, ultimately tracking down more than 125 tornadoes.

The Discovery bio said that Young's "finest moment" happened on June 11, 2004 near Storm Lake, Iowa, when the team "defied the odds" and deployed their probes in the path of a tornado.

The six-camera video probe caught footage from many angles while a sensor probe recorded data that clocked wind speeds close to the ground.

"Since then Carl remained eternally optimistic that they could repeat the same feat despite the huge challenges for successful deployments," stated the bio. ___