South Shore residents mourned the loss of longtime Lake Tahoe conservationist and Lake Tahoe Community College instructor Carl Young this weekend. Young, 45, was one of three storm chasers killed May 31 after their truck was hit by a record-breaking tornado outside of El Reno, Okla.
Two of Young’s research partners, well-known meteorologist Tim Samaras and his son Paul Samaras, were also killed by the tornado, which abruptly changed direction before striking the men’s vehicle.
Tim Samaras and Young had both appeared on episodes of the Discovery Channel television show “Storm Chasers,” and had worked with National Geographic, which features numerous clips of the men’s endeavors.
Young previously worked as a program director for the League to Save Lake Tahoe and taught geology at LTCC. He was admired by his peers and students, according to a Sunday statement from the college.
“I will miss seeing him around the college, and our students will miss having him as a teacher,” LTCC faculty member Bruce Armbrust said in the statement. “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.”
Young earned a bachelor’s degree in economics at the University of California, Berkeley, and a master’s in atmospheric science at the University of Nevada, Reno, according to the Associated Press. He was named Distinguished Alumni for 2010 for his accomplishments in his field and impact on the Tahoe Region.
League to Save Lake Tahoe members also expressed condolences to Young’s family in a Sunday statement posted to its website.
“Carl was passionate both about the environment at Lake Tahoe and his research as a meteorologist,” according to the League. “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.”
May 31’s storm was particularly treacherous because the rotation was wrapped in rain, made frequent sudden turns and spawned multiple tornadoes, according to the Associated Press. Eighteen people were killed by the storm.
The tornado that killed Young and the Samaras’ was measured at 2.6 miles wide, the widest tornado in U.S. history, according to the National Weather Service. The rare EF5 tornado had wind speeds of “well over 200 mph,” traveled 16.2 miles and lasted 40 minutes, according to the agency. The men are believed to be the “first documented storm intercept fatalities in a tornado,” according to the weather service.
LTCC President Kindred Murillo said Young’s death will not be in vain.
“Carl’s groundbreaking research in the field of meteorological data will no doubt ultimately lead to the saving of future lives,” Murillo said in the statement. “We will be requesting that the Board of Trustees consider dedicating this year’s graduation in honor of Carl’s career and life work.”