Texas Native & ‘Twister’ Actor, Bill Paxton Passes Away at 61 – Storm Chasers Organize Tribute

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Fort Worth native and actor, Bill Paxton passed away suddenly on Saturday due to complications from heart surgery. He was 61 years old. Paxton was well known for his roles in “Titanic,” “Apollo 13,” “Aliens,” and “Weird Science,” among many other films. But it was his starring role in the cult classic “Twister” that sparked an interest in weather for many in the field of meteorology.

A family spokesperson announced the death on Sunday.

Bill PaxtonPhoto: Flickr/Gage Skidmore

As news of his death spread across social media, storm chasers organized a tribute to Paxton. They used GPS coordinates to arrange their beacons to spell out “BP” for Bill Paxton across the states of Oklahoma and Kansas. The letters were centered around the town of Wakita, which is home to the Twister Movie Museum and was featured in the film.

Storm chasers arranged their beacons to honor the actor. 

thc50Photo: Stormview Live

According to the Associated Press, “Storm chasers and storm spotters have spelled out the initials of fellow chasers in the tight-knit community four or five times before,” but never for a non-chaser.

Many meteorologists’ and storm chasers’ interest in weather was sparked by “Twister.”

thc51Photo: Jason Weingart

“This is the first time we’ve gone way outside of that. There are probably hundreds, if not thousands, of meteorologists today — myself included — who were impacted by the movie ‘Twister’ and the role Bill played in that,” John Wetter, president of Spotter Network, told the Associated Press in a phone interview. “‘Twister’ was kind of the first time in a mass media marketplace the meteorologist became cool, if only for a little while.” Spotter Network provides its clients the ability to show their position in regards to radar.