WeatherMatrix (Jesse Ferrell)
"Storm Chasers" star Joel Taylor passes away
By Jesse Ferrell
2/04/2018, 6:44:58 PM
Update Jan. 29, 2018: Joel was laid to rest Monday. Quoting from People Magazine: "Joel Taylor was laid to rest in his hometown of Elk City, Oklahoma, on Monday after he died nearly one week ago while traveling aboard a Royal Caribbean Cruise ship. The funeral service for the late Storm Chasers star was held at 2 p.m. at the First Baptist Church in Elk City, the Martin-Dugger Funeral Home confirms to PEOPLE. Taylor’s best friend and former co-star Reed Timmer posted on Twitter on Sunday that the Dominator 1 — the armored storm-chasing vehicle Taylor used on the Discovery Channel series — would be heading to Oklahoma to honor him."
I have updated the list of 23 meteorologists and storm chasers below.
Original Blog Jan. 24, 2018:
In what is becoming a long list of storm chasers and meteorologists killed this decade, I am sad to report today that Joel Taylor, of Discovery Channel's "Storm Chasers" fame, has passed away at age 38. Reed Timmer (who works for AccuWeather) has posted some great tributes in our news story, and uploaded the photos below, underneath which I'll add a few more words from fellow chasers.
"When he beamed that broad smile, it made you feel like a million bucks." -- Ken Cole
"The man carried a passion even the most seasoned chaser can admire." -- Adam Lucio
"One of the most humble, nicest chasers and stand up guy." -- Eric Burns
The Spotter Network, as they have on previous occasions with other chasers, marked Joel's initials via altered GPS coordinates this afternoon. This radar loop shows how it evolved:
Joel will join in the afterlife fellow "Storm Chasers" co-stars Tim Samaras, Carl Young, Herb Stein, and Matt Hughes. In an ongoing blow to the storm chaser community, five of the show's stars have now perished. Meteorology in general has lost a lot of good people recently -- counting them, there have been 23 storm chasers or meteorologists who have passed so far this decade. Here's a list:*
- - Meteorologist Storm Chaser Joel Taylor, subject of this blog
- - Meteorologist John Coleman, founder of TWC (The Weather Channel), who also died this week
- - TWC Storm chasers Kelley Williamson, Randy Yarnall and Corbin Jaeger, killed in a vehicular accident during a storm chase in 2017
- - Meteorologist Dick Albert, who died of natural causes in 2017
- - Actor Bill Paxton, famous for his Meteorologist / Storm Chaser role in the movie "Twister" -- a fan favorite -- died of a stroke in 2017
- - Meteorologist Tom Johnston, who committed suicide in 2017
- - TWC Meteorologist Dave Schwartz who perished from cancer in 2016
- - Storm Chaser Brad Riley who died in 2016
- - Meteorologist and Storm Chaser Herb Stein, who also died from cancer in 2016 -- four years to the day after Andy Gabrielson
- - TWC Meteorologist Nick Wiltgen, whose depression overtook him while behind the wheel in 2016
- - Storm Chaser Jim Leonard who died from cancer in 2014
- - Meteorologist and Storm Chaser Al Moller who passed on from Alzheimers complications in 2014
- - Meteorologist Skip Walters, who died of natural causes in 2014
- - Meteorologists and Storm Chasers Tim Samaras and Carl Young, and Chaser Paul Samaras, who were killed by a tornado in 2013
- - AccuWeather Meteorologist Ken Reeves, who was killed in an accident in 2012
- - Storm chaser Andy Gabrielson, killed in a traffic accident in 2012
- - Meteorologist Don Harmon, who committed suicide in 2011
- - Meteorologist Don Kent, who died of natural causes in 2010
- - Storm chaser Matt Hughes, who succumbed to depression in 2010
Let's all pause to remember these people who advanced the science of meteorology and storm chasing.
*NOTE: This is not meant to be a comprehensive list, especially of local TV meteorologists. Please leave a comment if I have inadvertently left anyone (since 2010) off this list and I will add them.
At least four of those deaths were suicide. Clinical depression is a serious medical illness, but it is treatable. If you or someone you know may suffer from Depression, seek treatment or call the "National Suicide Prevention Lifeline" at (800) 273-TALK (8255).
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